MAGA supporters are flooding Washington, D.C. Saturday to make President Donald Trump feel better about his massive loss. But for the rest of the country, psychologist Dr. Alan Blotcky describes it as an effort to extricate the country from an abusive relationship.
“The American people and democracy have been abused,” he told Raw Story in an interview.
It’s an analogy confirmed by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who told NPR this week that there is no exit strategy for Trump. He’s merely doing whatever he can to create chaos because he feeds on conflict.
Meanwhile, Republican officials are serving as enablers. “I think the people who have stuck with him — they’re getting something out of the deal.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still needs to use Trump supporters for one more significant cause: The Georgia special election. Infuriated MAGA crowds who want revenge mean more voters in a January runoff election. So, it doesn’t make sense for Republican officials to try and calm their supporters or unify the country. They profit off of perpetuating the conspiracies.
“They are totally complicit,” said Dr. Blotcky. “And really, people should be as upset with them as they are with Trump. Because if he hadn’t had sycophants complicit as much as he’s had I think he would have been limited even more over the past four years.”
He explained that most people have been in relationships with narcissists, whether family, dating or at work. “Think back to how fraught that was getting out of that relationship, especially if it was a romantic relationship. So, similarly, it’s difficult for us as a country to extricate ourselves from this relationship.”
It’s helpful that Trump has lost the election and that, whether they like it or not, their White House passes will expire on Jan. 20. Trump will also face the rude awakening that he doesn’t have the same attention out of office as he did in office.
“He’s old news, we don’t need to attend to him anymore,” Dr. Blotcky said. We should “see that as a good way to establish firm boundaries to extricate ourselves from his abuse.”
Dr. Blotcky anticipates that Trump will forever maintain that he wasn’t a loser in the election because he simply can’t acknowledge it personally.
The fear is that the president will make it as difficult and as painful as possible for Americans. “Because any attention that he gets is his oxygen. He thrives on it. He prefers positive stuff, but he even thrives on negative stuff… but any attention really is a positive reinforcement to him.”
Dr. Blotcky noted that Trump is searching for some means of staying relevant, whether that means starting his own news channel to rival Fox or another campaign run in 2024 that he begins immediately out of office.
The firings in the administration and the Pentagon’s national security wing are already Trump’s way of flexing his power to punish them for their lack of loyalty. Those former staffers were of no use to him. Keeping them in the office made the government seem more stable, but now that he’s lost, he has no interest in a stable government.
This week’s reports were that Trump was refusing to work, refusing to come into the Oval Office. It’s such an egregious dereliction of duty that Dr. Blotcky said that he should be impeached again.
“He is not a public servant,” the psychiatrist explained. “He expects the people to serve him. He’s not there to serve the people. He was never suited for this job. He’s incapable of doing his job. He was incapable of handling this pandemic.
“Psychologically, it would help us to view it as we need to take steps to remove ourselves from him, not just that he’s been fired and he’s not going to be president anymore. It’s a psychological thing. How do you psychologically disengage from this guy? I think like you do when you’ve been in a relationship, and you’re breaking up, and it’s been bad, harmful or hurtful, put up boundaries. You don’t want to talk to them. You don’t want to see them. You don’t want to have any interaction with them.”
For supporters marching in the streets of Washington, those close to them who aren’t Trump supporters will have to do the work to help pull them away from the cult.
“It’s a slower process, but I think reaching out to them and offering to reconcile. We’ve gotten to the point where they think we’re the enemy, and we think they’re the enemy,” Dr. Blotcky continued. “That’s such a dead-end kind of mentality. That’s the part we’ve got to get past. They’re not our enemy. We’re not their enemy. We’re Americans. We’ve had a different perspective on things, and we still do, but if we intend for this country to be as great as it has been in the past, we’ve got to be united.”
However, for many progressives, there is no allegiance with people who support police shooting unarmed Black people. There is no alliance that can be formed with those who don’t agree LGBTQ people should have the right to adopt children or that putting babies in cages is acceptable.
Dr. Blotcky said that the only way to change the average MAGA supporter’s perspective is by connecting with them on that deeper level.
“I think some people think if you reach out then somehow you’re diminishing your own values,” Dr. Blotcky explained. “You have to overcome conflict. You have to overcome this enemy mentality. I’m not saying it’s going to be 100 percent kumbaya. And they have to reach out to us as well. We have to find some middle ground on some issues for the sole purpose that a unified U.S. is better than a divided, fighting, angry U.S.”
President-elect Joe Biden has employed a strategy that is like a hostage negotiator reassuring the hostage-taker that he can do whatever he needs to make himself feel secure.
“Biden’s playing it perfectly,” said Dr. Blotcky. “I think what he’s decided is, ‘I’m going to give him time. He’s going to leave. He has to leave. I’m going to give him time. What would be the benefit of being aggressive and confrontational now?’ It would just provoke the fight, which is exactly what Trump thrives on. He loves fights. So, Biden is just playing it cool.”
Such a tactic is also consistent with Biden’s campaign of unity and calm amid an exhausted country that has experienced nothing but chaos for four years.
Dr. Blotcky also said that the media has got to stop looking for the most shocking stories and palace intrigue of the Trump administration. Pulling back from that shocking Trump news will help the public pull themselves away from Trumpism.
“At some point, I hope everybody pulls back from this guy because he’s old news now,” Dr. Blotcky explained. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s defeated — there should be U-Hauls in front of the White House.”
While Fox News has started to pull away and fact check press events, Trump has been their financial ticket for the past five years, so they are likely looking for the next story to generate revenue through viewership.
Trump is now stuck between a rock and a hard place after screaming at Fox’s Rupert Murdoch for allowing the network to call Arizona. But at the same time, Trump needs Fox to perpetuate his conspiracy theories and deliver them to his fans.
“Up until now, he’s been 90 percent happy with them,” Dr. Blotcky explained. “But he’s not going to be happy anymore because even they are going to figure out that they need to get beyond him. They have to figure out their new headliners. He’s not going to be it. So, they’re probably having meetings behind the scenes trying to figure out, ‘what do we do now?’”
They could serve an important role in deprogramming Trump supporters, but doing what’s right isn’t always what’s profitable. The same could be said for Trump, his administration officials and the GOP, but unity doesn’t get Republican leaders the power and profits they still seek even after Trump.