Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The GOP candidate for president is a convicted felon. He was convicted of sexual assault and more than 20 women have accused him of sexual misconduct. He stole national top secret documents and tried to hide them from the U.S. government.

This man will stoop to sell anything including tennis shoes, trading cards, pieces of the suit from his mug shot, to make money off his gullible cult members. What will stop him from selling national secrets?

He cheated on wife No. 1 with wife No. 2, cheated on wife No. 2 with wife No. 3 and cheated on wife No. 3 with a porn star. Amazingly enough, some of his cult members are saying he is Jesus.

Trump also cheated to get into college and cheated to get out of Vietnam and cheats at golf and cheated donors to his fake charity and cheated students at his scam university. He never attends church but is selling bibles to his gullible cult members. Trump is also using campaign contributions to pay his legal fees.

His cult members believe his lies above our Intelligence agencies, above former CIA directors, retired generals, former Cabinet members and revered journalists. Trump incited the mob that violently tried to overthrow the U.S. government. The whole world watched this happen in real life. Now Trump is promising to pardon these traitors and his supporters are in agreement.

When you believe one man above even your own eyes and ears you have been fully indoctrinated in a cult.

In spite of all this, Trump has unwavering support of conservative evangelists and what was once the party of law and order and family values but has now become a full-fledged cult. Trump has convinced his cult members that scientists, scholars, historians, economists and journalists have devoted their entire lives to deceiving them, while he, a reality TV star with decades of fraud and exhaustively documented lying, is your only beacon of truth and honesty.

“MAGA Brainwashing: indelicate; irregular; normalized; autocratic; permanent prez; heir fluff”

The following are signs of a cult that coincide with the MAGA Republican Party:

Absolute authoritarianism by the leader.

No accountability for the leader.

No tolerance for questioning the leader.

No financial disclosure unless forced by the courts. Unreasonable fear and intolerance for those unlike themselves, even hatred.

Former followers are demonized after leaving. “Hang Mike Pence.”

The leader is the self-appointed victim the of media, and all the established systems of government that have made our country the great democracy it is.

The leader declares himself the victim and is always saying he is fighting for the cult members.

The leader is always right. The leader is exclusive and the only means of “the truth.”

Criticism of the leader or questioning the leader is considered persecution.

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court during jury deliberations in his criminal hush money trial in New York, Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Mark Peterson/Pool Photo via AP)

Anything the leader does is justified, no matter how harmful it may be. Trump stated he will trash the U.S. Constitution if it doesn’t suit him.

The leader is the only source of truth, everybody else is lying.

Disciples must be devoted to the leader and never question him.

In spite of all this evidence that in the past would disqualify a candidate for president of the most powerful nation on the planet, Trump has unwavering support of conservative evangelists who have apparently lost their moral compass. What was once the party of law and order and family values has now become a full-fledged cult that will vote for a felon convicted by a jury of his peers, and also found guilty of sexual assault.

Along with Trump, his campaign chairman is a felon, his deputy campaign manager is a felon, his personal lawyer is a felon, his chief strategist is a felon, his national security adviser is a felon, his trade adviser is a felon, his foreign policy advisor is a felon, his campaign fixer is a felon, his company CFO is a felon. These are the corrupt people whom Trump has surrounded himself with.

Once the character of candidates for office mattered in our country. Now, thanks to the Trump effect, character no longer matters. What kind of example is this for the rest of the world — a convicted criminal as president? We can do better. We must not let that happen to our country.

Beto Conde lives in Rancho Viejo.