Is MAGA a Terrorist Organization or a Cult?

Joscelyn Kate

Is MAGA a terrorist organization?

I’ve seen this question circulating and as absurd as it is on the surface, there is a real question about whether Trump supporters have been radicalized. While MAGA itself was obviously not created to instill terror or to terrorize people, it simply is a political slogan adopted by far-right supporters who also support other extremist ideologies. Being subject to extremist ideologies becomes easier once you’ve passed through the threshold of acceptance and determined one extreme acceptable.

MAGA is obviously not a full-fledged terror organization because Trump is not specifically trying to take out other Americans. If Trump were actually trying to harm American lives, he had the entire military and other means at his disposal.

But his supporters could have formed a cult following absolutely, without even his intending that to happen. People believed something and he gave their beliefs life. The most powerful person in the world validating their beliefs would be the ultimate vindication and it is not hard to see why people who are already vulnerable to extremism and detached reality would fall into cultlike behavior.

What does cult-like behavior look like?

Accepting allegations without 1) knowing who is making them and 2) hard evidence or the ability to demonstrate the allegation with objectivity to other parties.

Mystical manipulation, many people believed Trump was chosen by God or was the second coming of Christ or was leading the rapture. Following whatever he said made sense because he was leading them to their promised land. Trump also used mystical manipulation in a way that he made the left, the media, voter fraud, anything he could, into a common enemy that he and his followers needed to combat together. This kind of mentality made them feel a part of something big and validated their beliefs that there were people working against them. Trump made people feel that he was their only true path forward. If he failed, they failed. If he failed, it was because some force was working against him—and more importantly, he’d say, them.

Why Do his Supporters Believe in Voter Fraud?

Trump followers believe in voter fraud the same way people believe in aliens being held at Area 51. And the fact that it was started and spread by a president made many more people susceptible to believing because they’re under the assumption he—the most powerful man in the world—has information they don’t have or has seen or confirmed something they haven’t been able to see or confirm for themselves but believe exists somewhere. His position inherently suggests that he has access to something they’ve been held back from so they fill in the blanks on their own. He agrees that the allegations are true, he has credible information. None of his supporters are under the impression Trump believes in voter fraud because he read it on the internet, just like they did.

Who told Trump 8,000 dead people voted? According to him, it was “they”, according to his following, that is a sufficient answer. His supporters have not asked who “they” is that Trump is referring to because they assume since he’s the president, "they" is someone or something of importance.

Imagine if Trump—or any president—came out saying, “They said they’re holding aliens at Area 51.” People in this country would take that very seriously. People would assume “they” is someone of importance, not a conspiracy website. Trump’s supporters have no idea where he pulled the voter fraud information but they believe there are people who are corrupt and if Trump says there are too it all fits.

We don’t entertain people who believe aliens are being held at Area 51. We don’t debate that in our legislative houses. Blanket statements in response to those allegations work fine. Blanket statements about voter fraud are also necessary. We don’t do the mystical in this country. Our house representatives and senators cannot be discussing allegations of aliens because there is a whole swath of people out there who don’t trust their government and who don’t have faith in their responses. We don’t let civilians or anyone else go investigating Area 51 on a whim, why would we allow that for any other conspiracy?

Attacking Trump supporters for their beliefs is not the way to manage. We do not attack people who believe in aliens. All it takes is a firm denial of conspiracy theories. People should feel just as weird bringing up voter fraud or government pedophile rings as they do bringing up Area 51 and the JFK-CIA assassination conspiracy. Those aren’t family conversations. Our legislators do not participate in those unfounded and totally bogus discussions in public and especially not in our Capitol. In debating government, we can talk pro-life, pro-choice, how to spend our tax money, or policy changes but baseless allegations are harmful and should not be taken seriously.

Asking someone why they believe in aliens is futile, they will not see their belief as problematic but instead, take your question as an opportunity to convince you that you cannot be as sure of anything as you think you are. If we ask Trump supporters why they believe in voter fraud they believe we’re trying to manipulate the truth out of them. Asking for accountability is offensive to them so how could we even have fruitful conversations? If we say “the DOJ said no fraud” their response, just as Trump's, is “the DOJ is corrupt or incompetent.” There is no end of the discussion where they surrender their allegations.

The Terrorists Exist

MAGA supporters are giving oxygen to domestic terrorists. Not all Trump supporters support violence, but the group they belong to gives a home to those who do support, incite, and execute violence. Those who do terrorize, have not been rejected or condemned by the right that they feel a part of, so instead, they feel empowered.

MAGA is not conservatism because it welcomes confederate flag holders. Those people are standing at Trump rallies, wearing those clothes, wearing that gear, carrying those flags. Trump is looking right at these people. And if he—the leader of MAGA—can’t condemn confederate flag holders but instead tells them after they’ve attacked the US Capitol building, “You’re very special” to them, then everyone following him, that leader, is accepting and supporting the acceptance of those people. It’s not the responsibility of the victims of Trump’s mob—all of us, the rest of America who witnessed that—to separate anyone from anyone.

Trump supporters must choose to separate themselves from Trump and those he deems special if they want the rest of us to see them as not the same as terrorists. This is about personal responsibility.

Extract what conservatism is and what it will be going forward, but disconnect from the terror that is Trump to not be seen as terrorizing.

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Lover of lattes, champagne, avocados, sleep, and my perfect family. The epitome of a liberal millennial snowflake.

Boston, MA

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