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Belief in the myth of outlaw heroes partly explains Donald Trump’s die-hard support

David G. Bromley, Virginia Commonwealth University, The Conversation on

Published in News & Features

The key to understanding outlaw heroes, then, is that they flourish not in spite of but rather because of their rebelliousness. The more daring and rebellious the outlaw hero, the more commanding the figure becomes.

Such is the case with Trump.

Despite his personal and family wealth, Trump has been able to convince his blue-collar supporters that he is one of them. He presents himself as a persecuted figure who stands between them and politically motivated “witch hunts.”

As their champion, Trump has been excused for the kinds of behaviors that have brought down other political figures.

Those behaviors include marital infidelity and sexual abuse, evading taxes and avoiding military service, disparaging celebrated and wounded military veterans and threatening his political opponents with lawsuits, imprisonment or execution.

In addition, Trump faces four criminal indictments that range from his efforts to remain in power following the 2020 presidential election to his alleged willful retention of classified documents.


What most distinguishes Trump from earlier outlaw heroes is that he has actually captured the nation’s most powerful position and is now campaigning to reclaim it.

Though the final chapter of the Trump saga has yet to be written, there is the very real possibility that Trump, like outlaw heroes before him, will become larger in legend after death than he was in life.

This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit, independent news organization bringing you facts and trustworthy analysis to help you make sense of our complex world. It was written by: David G. Bromley, Virginia Commonwealth University

Read more:
Trump is no Navalny, and prosecution in a democracy is a lot different than persecution in Putin’s Russia

America is on the brink of another civil war, this one fuelled by Donald Trump

Trump has made America nostalgic again for a past that never existed

David G. Bromley does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


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