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LETTERS

Trump is a receptive host to a viral mob

A woman draped in an American flag walks past a banner supporting President Trump during a rally in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Jan. 6.
A woman draped in an American flag walks past a banner supporting President Trump during a rally in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Jan. 6.Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Arie W. Kruglanski provided a useful, understandable context for beginning to understand Trump zealots and supporters (”What drives the pro-Trump mob,” Opinion, Jan. 12) in his discussion of the three N’s of violent extremism. The “need” to feel significant, finding a “narrative” that directs the individual in pursuit of satisfying this need, and connecting to a “network” of support are indeed essential elements for those who have come to embrace Donald Trump as their savior.

Beneath this level of analysis is an evolutionary concept whose categorical imperative is replication and survival. An analogy to COVID-19 insinuates itself at this point. Viruses seek only to replicate and survive — it’s life seeking to extend itself. This is not unlike the dynamic process Trump supporters experience in coalescing around him. It gives them a sense of community and fitting in. They feel part of something that transcends their ordinary lives — lives that may not provide them with the feeling of significance they crave. Their unquestioning attachment to the receptive host — Trump — inoculates them, in their minds, from being looked down upon by the elites.

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They have quenched, for the moment, their need to feel significant, and will, like all of humanity, indeed all living things, continue to replicate and survive.

Jim Cain

Wakefield