Doug, I love your apocalyptic fan fiction.
Patrick Martin

That’s the part I didnt’ get to.

Many readers can’t help but react as if this were an attack on Trump or his politics. No amount of explanation will stop them from seeing this article as saying “Trump is bad.” I’m really just identifying a single phenomenon, here, and that’s the way that Trump asks followers to make increasingly outlandish shows of support in order to move up the pyramid. When they refuse, they are ousted. This isn’t a political commentary in the least and says nothing whatsoever about war, the middle class, or economic solutions.

You are right, though, that the toughest part of all this is that — no matter who the next president is, from Pence to Biden — we will have to help those in the cult return to normal society. That’s going to be hard, and has to be handled with as much compassion as possible.