Cognitive Psychology

The Narcissist’s Playbook: Trump’s Adaptation of Hitler’s Propaganda Techniques

Trump Adapts Hitler's Big Lie
The Narcissist’s Playbook: Implications for Trump’s Evolution of Hitler’s Big Lie

On the road to the post, Is Knowingly Lying for Political Gain Protected Speech? Or a Solution for Bridging our Partisan Divide, way back in the beginning of November, I came across information about Hitler’s propaganda rules and was struck by how accurately they described Trump’s behavior. I know that it has become something of a cliche to say that Trump’s America is like Hitler’s Germany, but it is based on real live hard evidence. The propaganda techniques used by Hitler are part of that and a big part of understanding what Trump did to us and how to recover from it.

Hitler had several “rules” that he seemed to follow. One of them was the Big Lie, which is such a major piece that there is an entire post about it, The Narcissist’s Playbook: Implications for Trump’s Evolution of Hitler’s Big Lie, so head over there to find out more about that one. We’ll look at three of the most applicable rules and how the Ol’ Pussy Grabber adapted them to his purposes.

It is important to realize that other than Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, neither Trump nor anyone else in his administration or campaign studied Hitler, Goebbels, or their propaganda technique. More than likely the reason they are so similar is that both Hitler and Trump are extreme narcissists and just did what they always did and gaslit their respective nations.

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Hitler’s Playbook: The Propaganda Rules

During WWII, the OSS commissioned two American psychoanalysts to study Hitler in order to better understand and predict him kinda like Ye Olde Blogge has been doing with the Ol’ Pussy Grabber. Langer and Murray came up with this list of rules or tendencies:

  • never allow the public to cool off;
  • never admit a fault or wrong;
  • never concede that there may be some good in your enemy;
  • never leave room for alternatives;
  • never accept blame;
  • concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong;
  • people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and
  • if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
  • take advantage of every opportunity to raise a political whirlwind.

See what I mean about similarity to the Ol’ Pussy Grabber? That is the narcissist’s playbook for gaslighting anyone and everyone including you and me and all the MAGAs.

Trump’s Adaptation of Hitler’s Other Propaganda Techniques

Never allow the public to cool off

The Ol’ Pussy Grabber uses his grievances to keep his supporters seething with outrage. In that sense, #COVID19 was heaven sent. By defying all conventional wisdom to mitigate the spread of the virus through public health measures like wearing a mask and social distancing, he’s able to keep his supporters riled up and fighting with the world. Every request to wear a mask demarcates the difference between MAGAs and the rest of the world and is experienced as an assault on his follower’s personal liberty. It is further evidence that they are right and solidifies their membership in the group and their commitment to Trump.

When was the last time Trump called #COVID19 a hoax? It’s been six or nine months, right? But, he has supporters are wheezing their last breath of life denying that it is #COVID19 that is killing them. In terms of never allowing the public to cool off, it was a brilliant ploy.

The same goes for the election fraud. Every day he can keep the election scandal front and center in the news, is a day that reinforces his supporters membership in their group and convinces them that he is right. The push back against it by the media, Democrats, and sane Repubes just keeps the MAGAs going… and contributing to his slush fund.

If things are not kept in a constant state of chaos, then we might could realize just how many felonious acts he and his administration have engaged in. Even after he leaves office, he will constantly bombard us with his grievances and false accusations in an attempt to not let us cool off and keep himself in the spotlight.

Never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; Blame that enemy for everything that goes wrong

Trump is a narcissist. The chief rule of being a narcissist is that nothing can sully your delusion of perfection. Being wrong is an indication that you are not perfect. The solution? You’re never wrong; it is always someone else’s fault, and those people need to be punished.

This is not quite the enemy that Hitler had in mind. Hitler really did intend on focusing on just one or two enemies: the Jews and Russia or communists. There were others gypsies, the disabled, France, but they were minor. He focused on the Jews and literally blamed them for everything.

The closest the Ol’ Pussy Grabber has come to a single enemy is the press. They are the enemy of the state. They deserve to be locked up and tried for treason. We’ve all heard his long litany of accusations that he has heaped on the third estate and heard the vicious abuse MAGAs have directed at them during his rallies. We needn’t regurgitate that here.

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The Ol’ Pussy Grabber has adapted this rule so that he has something for everyone to hate. You can hate the press, PoC, immigrants, Muslims — funny how we don’t hear much about them any more — Democrats, Clinton, Obama, protesters, antifa, BLM. The list goes on and on, and the emphasis shifts with the news story of the day. They all have a common denominator: all of them have inflicted narcissistic wounds on Trump. This past year, though we’ve been focused on just three enemies: #COVID19, #BidenHarris, and election fraud conspiracies.

During his election fraud rampage, his public list of enemies consists of #BidenHarris, the Democrats, and anyone who has not supported his fraud allegations. These have quite publicly included Gov. Kemp and Sec of State Raffensperger, two prominent Repubes who were big Trump supporters. All of them have to be punished, and he’s gone after each one of them on his Twitter account and other public statements.

He has a private list of enemies, too. That consists of everyone who has contributed to his loss including MAGAs and the Republican Party. This is the chief reason that he is doing so little to address the pandemic. He wants people to suffer and die of it. He wants MAGAs to die of it. It helps him feel powerful and it punishes everyone who didn’t support him sufficiently in the election. In his mind, anyone who gets #COVID19 is a loser and a sucker — in spite of him getting it — and they deserve what ever happens to them.

He will punish the Republican Party, too. It’s already started. He’s attacked party members who have not shown sufficient loyalty. He is not helping elect Purdue and Loeffler in Georgia. Any help they get from his appearance there is secondary to his airing of grievances. Because he will no longer be in office, he doesn’t care about who controls Congress.

This is Trump’s adaptation of Hitler’s rule: You need enough enemies to fill the news cycles 24/7/365. There can never be a moment in which the anger and hatred of MAGAs cannot be focused on someone or something that has inflicted the Ol’ Pussy Grabber with a narcissistic wound. s

Take advantage of every opportunity to raise a political whirlwind

Trump lives in a chaotic world of grievance. He lacks the executive functioning to do any planning or to execute any plan. He has learned to use chaos to his advantage, though. If everyone is confused and uncertain, then he can do what he wants. The most important thing to him is avenging his grievances.

Trump is a counter-puncher, meaning he reacts to the events around him. Rarely does he actually initiate anything. Initiating government action takes planning and discipline. Neither of which the Ol’ Pussy Grabber has, so he is forced to react to events around him. The biggest thing he initiated was the aide for dirt on Biden scheme he was impeached for. That’s only because it was easy. He only had to make a phone call.

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Both Trump and Hitler knew, though, that people who are agitated and angry are easy to manipulate and their anger easy to direct. One of the biggest differences with Hitler is the lack of organized violence being committed by followers. While Trump has hinted that he would like for MAGAs to engage in violence, he has never explicitly directed them to. He’s too much of a coward to do so. Over the summer, they trialed using irregular federal forces to assault citizens. Luckily the push back was such that it discouraged them. Give them another excuse, and they will be less shy about meting out real abuse of citizens. The hoped for violent assault by militias on protesters never materialized, either. Give them another excuse, though, and we could build up to it.

Our deep culture has held. Our deeply ingrained faith in our elections to change the country has held. Our reluctance to use violence for political change has held. It is not part of our political culture. It will take much more leadership — something the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is incapable of — to get us to engage in violence in the name of a political cause. Trump’s narcissism elevated him to his office and has caused his downfall. In spite of his gaslighting of the nation, we have not succumb to his will.

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“Spy vs Spy” by Tony Fischer Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0

24 replies »

  1. Bob……from your lips to God’s ear !!!!

    this is going to be much more interesting than I thought!!

    Fran here is trying to get back in the saddle here ~~ I have missed all of this

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes! I agree, Trump indeed always needs the adulation ……. and yup Bannon is the classic quiet suck up …..Head down and nose to the grind stone. I truly believe that this is quickly coming to a screeching halt……..the shit is going to hit that fan and the spatter is going to hit a boat load of folks. I for one am waiting for the other foot to fall !!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Howdy Fran!
      I was just saying that the tell-all book about Trump’s last days in office is one that might could be persuaded to check out of the library. If people thought Nixon’s final days in the WH were dark and scary, they ain’t seen nothing compared to these 78 or so days.

      Unfortunately, like all things with Trump, it will only get worse and never get better. That doesn’t mean things will be better in the country, though. He’s done lots of damage and the GOP is even more intransigent.


      Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Fran!
      I’m so glad that you’re back. I hope all is well and healthy in your corner of the world and you and yours are able to ride the #COVID19 surge out without much harm.


      Liked by 1 person

      • glad to be back !! Things are back to “normal ” again !! hope all is good in your world ! I am glad to see that all is still interesting and that Bob is still sharing great info and interesting comments !!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Fran!
          That’s the great thing about life, today is much like yesterday which was a lot like the day before it, and tomorrow will be a lot like today. Our big news was moving to Cambodia and my unemployment. It has been good for the blog and, more importantly, the Cambodian economy is such that we can live on one salary and still manage to save. I’ll get a job here directly, though.


          Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m reminded of the distinction Jacques Ellul made between Propaganda of Agitation and Propaganda of Integration. Trump is not an ideologue and lacks executive functioning needed to practice Propaganda of Integration. All he is really able to do is agitate both his supporters and opponents. There have been ideologues around him (Bannon, Miller, and others), but they have been limited to speaking to their particular communities and unable to steer Trump to any consistent ideological program. He just doesn’t think that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!
      The only thing that exists for Trump is himself. The platform of the GOP was Trump, literally. Whatever he thinks and wants to do is his ideology, his platform. And, what he wants is to enrich himself financially and egotistically. To that end agitation works. It serves all of his needs. To the extent that he has anything even remotely resembling an ideology, they are personality traits that have formed themes in his life. Racism is the biggest of those themes. Miller, Bannon, and Bolton signed on in order to steer Trump towards their ideological goals, but only Miller has survived and had any success, which suggests Miller is less ideologue and more just a racist.


      Liked by 2 people

      • Miller has another advantage over the others, especially Bannon. He never, never, ever upstages The Boss. He is probably as allergic to the spotlight as Trump is addicted to it, less of a narcissist and more of a sociopath, seeing himself as the brain (or, puppet master?) behind the throne. If/when Trump falls, he will find another front man. I think that if somehow he finds Trump no longer useful, he could relish playing the Iago role (or, Brutus). He hungers for power, but prefers to keep his hand hidden.

        I heard long ago that if you want to know if there is a serious sociopath in a social group, look for all the broken relationships around them. One can wonder what part Miller has played in the times when Trump has turned on people seemingly loyal to him, or at least influential with him.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Howdy Bob!
          Obviously Stephen Miller is not a narcissist. He would need more of the limelight if he were. Steve Bannon obviously is a narcissist since needing the limelight is what ended his cushy gig with Trump. But both differ from Trump in that both have strong executive functioning. Whatever you say about Miller, the dude is focused. He executes. The hallmark of executive functioning.

          Both of them have what is termed life-course persistent antisocial behavior. You gotta wonder how many of his close aides do. That’s what makes it hard to know who has poisoned what relationships. There are a lot of conniving malicious self-serving folks in that WH. Miller, though, is one of the last of them standing. Again, the man has focus. He is focused on implementing his peculiar brand of evil

          I think Trump does have to be careful in his waning days in office. He has to be watching for the long-term staffer who will shank him. Miller is tops on my list. Pence is on it, too. It’s why I don’t think he should rely on a President Pence to pardon him. They maybe the only two. I’m not that familiar with WH aides and staff.

          Kellyanne Conway, bless her heart, has already pledged her help to #BidenHarris, but she left the sinking ship months ago. Other lesser staffers are said to be leaving. Bill Barr is contemplating resigning because he’s on the outs with Trump never to regain his old position of confidence.

          Oh oh oh! Let’s not forget Hope Hicks! Thinking about the relationship between the two of them curdles my stomach. There’s lots of abuse there and why she seeks it out, I don’t know. Given that he his alternating between depressed rage and unbridled rage, I’m sure she is catching a lot of it being his special helper and all. At what point does she snap and turn on him?

          Someone is going to write a hellva tell all book. I’ve avoided most of them because I figure they are all too self-serving and no one did anything about it when they had the chance, but if Hope Hicks were to write a soul searching mea culpa a la Tony Schwartz, I might could be persuaded to check it out of the library.


          Liked by 2 people

              • One thing appears certain, that SCOTUS isn’t going to have his back about the election. The corrupt pardons already done and yet to come may be a different matter.

                A felony conviction would, I think, legally lock him out of running on 2024 and open the field to the other GOP hopefuls. They would be able to shade him from the spotlight. Bankruptcy would help too.

                Liked by 2 people

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