The presidency of Donald Trump posed a challenge to many political theorists, pundits, and analysts, who were accustomed to interrogating world leaders through their professed social, economic, and political ideologies. Yet, throughout the administration of the 45th American President, no political ideology ever became ascertainable; no philosophical first principles were ever revealed, and nothing other than the politics-of-self-advancement seemed to motivate the gameshow-host-turned-politician. It became increasingly clear that what animated Donald Trump’s presidency were not the lofty ideals that Americans were accustomed to, but rather his own highly-particularized psychological matrix. According to the author, one cannot understand the charismatic leadership of Donald Trump through the lenses of political ideology. Rather, it is only by critically examining the political psychology of Trump and his “devotees” that one can fully grasp the dangerous nature of Trump’s “Dark Charisma” and the “Make America Great Again” movement that is defined by such. Systematically drawing upon both psychoanalysis and social psychology, as well as political philosophy, contemporary sociology, and American history, the author constructs a comprehensive political psychology that takes the reader inside the mind of Trump and his loyal devotees and explains how Trump’s charismatic leadership led millions of Americans to believe that he was the “divinely chosen” agent of American renewal, when in reality he posed the greatest threat to American democracy since the civil war.

Dustin J. Byrd, Ph.D., is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Olivet College. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Ekpyrosis Press, as well as the Founder and Co-Director of the Institute for Critical Social Theory. He is a specialist in political philosophy, psychoanalytic political theory, and the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory.

Paperback. 490 Pages.

Published: May, 2023

ISBN: 979-8-9855926-5-8

Also available through:

Amazon (US): The Dark Charisma of Donald Trump – Paperback

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Additional information

Weight 28 oz
Dimensions 6 × 9 × 2 in
Table of Contents

Why Political Psychology?
What’s to Come?
Structure of the Book
Die Flaschenpost

Chapter 1:
Charisma: Devotion born of Enthusiasm, Despair, and Hope
Perceptions of Charisma
Charismatic Domination: The Spellbinder
Charismatic Domination: Heteronomic and Autonomic
Charismatic Populism and the Counterrevolutionary
America First: Counter-Revolution as “Revolutionary” Isolationism

Chapter 2:
The Political Psychology of Trump: The Dark Charisma of the Political Agitator
The Core Characteristic of the Charismatic Agitator
Beyond Narcissism and Borderline Personality Disorder
The Dark Triad: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, Psychopathy
Common Characteristics of the Dark Triad’s Three Dimensions
Dark Tetrad: The Inclusion of Sadism
Dark Charisma

Chapter 3:
Secondary Psycho-Political Characteristics of the Dark Charismatic: Beyond the Dark Triad
The Persecuted Strongman
Extreme Present Hedonism
Mirror-Hungry Leader Personality
Mass Psychogenic Delusion
Dunning-Kruger Effect
The Marketing Orientation
Authoritarian Antinomianism

Chapter 4:
A Dark Vitae: A History of Trump’s Dark Charismatic Behavior
Pre-Presidential Racism
Presidential Racism
Presidential Political Weaponization of Racism
Gender and Misogyny
Dark Presidency: Dark Charisma as National Policy
Stochastic Terrorism as Dark Charismatic Violence

Chapter 5:
Group Psychology and Trump’s Method of Rhetorical Manipulation
Matrix of Fear
Group Psychology
Propaganda and the Manipulation of the Group
Social Malaise and the Dark Agitator’s Rhetoric
Identifying the Eternal Enemies
Rhetoric and Self-Image
The Personas

Chapter 6:
Trump and the Gaslight Gospel: The Idolatry of Dark Christo-Nationalism
Constantinian Christianity
The Transaction
Trump’s Constantinian Compact with Conservative Christians: The Gaslight Gospel
The Functionalization of Cyrus the Great: The Divinely Sanctioned Dark Charismatic
The Religious Lure of Dark Charisma
Dark Christo-Nationalism
Dark Christo-Nationalism’s State of Exception
Results of Dark Christo-Nationalism
Reverse Hypocognition: The Religious Signifier Signifying Nothing
Trump and Israel: A Faustian Deal
Dark Christo-Nationalism: Ideology without Philosophy

Chapter 7:
Dark Charisma and the Question of Alt-Fascism
Fascism: Left, or Right?
Palingenetic Ultra-Nationalism
Populist Ultra-Nationalism
Geist of Fascism: Its Mobilizing Passions
Trump and Trumpism: The Movement
Trump’s Performative Fascism

Addendum A:
Alt-Fascism comes to Charlottesville
Violence and Tragedy
Adding Gasoline to the Fire: Trump Steps In
Backlash to Trump’s Moral Equivocation
The Heirs to the Plantation Owners and their Overseers
Washington and Jefferson: Are the Monuments to the Founding Slave-Owners Next?
The Violence of Neo-Fascists and Antifa: Another False Equivalence
Trump Chooses Rassenpolitiks Post-Charlottesville
Da Capo: Return to Charlottesville
Addendum B:
The Dark Charismatic and the Murder of George Floyd
Dies Irae
Military Fall Out: The Generals
National Guardsmen Speak Out



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