Donald Trump is not the first cult leader and he won’t be the last.
Juan Perón was a populist and authoritarian president of Argentina and founder of the Peronist movement. He set the country on a course of industrialization and state intervention in the economy in order to bring greater economic and social benefits to the growing working class, but he also suppressed opposition.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazilian politician who served as president of Brazil from 2003 to 2011. In 2006, as the end of his first term approached, the economy was growing, and Brazil’s poverty rate had fallen significantly. In July 2017, Lula was convicted on charges of money laundering and corruption in a controversial trial, and sentenced to nine and a half years in prison.
“Long live our teacher, our father, our leader, Comrade Stalin!” (1946 poster, Soviet Union). Stalin was the leader about whom the expression “cult of personality” was devised in 1956 by Nikita Khrushchev.
The People’s Republic of China under Chairman Mao Zedong also developed a cult of personality, the most obvious symbol of which is his massive portrait situated on the north end of Tiananmen Square. The culture of the People’s Republic of China before 1978 was highly influenced by the personality cult of Mao Zedong which reached its peak during the Cultural Revolution.
A cult of personality devoted to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi existed in Libya during his rule. His face appeared on a wide variety of items, including postage stamps, watches, and school satchels. Quotations from The Green Book appeared on a wide variety of places, from street walls to airports and even on pens, and they were also put to pop music for public release.
Donald Trump, past president of the United States, denies he lost the election in November 2020 and claims that thousands of ballots will be found in the states he lost will be found proving that he won the election. “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!” Trump said on Monday May 3, 2021. If anything the former President wields even more control of his party now as Republicans gather at rallies supporting his views.
Republican officials who once had the courage to condemn Trump’s insurrectionist rhetoric are now seeking to ingratiate themselves with his supporters — especially those who may run for President in future, including former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Kevin GOP House leader, who at first said Trump bore responsibility for the January 6 riot, quickly visited the former President at his Mar-a-Lago resort and is anchoring his effort to win back the House for Republicans next year on the former President and his movement.
Some say Trump is destroying the American democracy as they pledge their support but in their hearts they know he has nothing to offer regarding the future.
The United States will survive the cult. As Ronald Reagan said in his farewell address, “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.”