“In less than two years of Republican leadership, America has achieved the biggest comeback in our history, true.”
President Trump’s loyal followers from Rochester, Minnesota ate up his words and responded with a barrage of cheers that resonated through every corner of the venue. Unlike the international community, his supporters couldn’t care less about his numerous scandals and possible acts of treason. They believe every piece of manipulative rhetoric that comes out of his mouth, blindly accepting his word as the truth. They trust, among other falsehoods, that the Mueller investigation is a rigged witch hunt and that the Democrats’ “rage-fueled resistance is starting to backfire.”

Rhetoric like this only serves to stoke America’s already toxic political climate, fueling doubt in the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation as well as the nation’s government as a whole. President Trump paints himself as the nation’s savior, while, in reality, he is an enemy to democracy as a whole.

Four days before his Minnesota rally, President Trump expressed a similar statement in front of the United Nations General Assembly, an audience much less susceptible to his dubious claims. He said, “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished almost more than any administration in the history of our country. America’s — so true.” This time, however, his words were greeted by a wave of awkward laughter that grew in strength with each passing second as the President fruitlessly attempted to contain his embarrassment by saying, “Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK.”

The General Assembly openly expressed its skepticism of President Trump on September 25th. Starting with his Minnesota rally, he dramatically ramped up the frequency of his political campaign-style rallies from an average of two per month from March to August to over twice that number per week.

This came as no surprise at a time when the United States was reeling from the Kavanaugh hearings and confronting the the midterm elections.

Increasing the frequency of his rallies is beneficial to Trump’s political agenda—iit sows doubt about American intelligence agencies and rallies supporters to his cause—as well as from a personal perspective: less than three weeks before he addressed the UN, the New York Times published an Op-Ed from a senior White House official, who stated that “like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” This slap in the face to the President has fed his apparent paranoia towards his cabinet and high-level appointees, from which ambassador Nikki Haley and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions mark the most recent of dozens of departures.

It makes sense that Trump would want to retreat from the chaos of the White House, where he suspects that hidden enemies lurk around every corner. He falls back on the public stage, where throngs of his loyal supporters applaud statements more nonsensical than the one for which he was publicly humiliated at the UN. Trump is in his element at these rallies; they are where he feels most comfortable, what helped him win the presidential election, and what helped him to secure some Republican victories in the midterms.

Political rallies are part of a masterfully executed mind game that reaches far beyond the scope of Trump’s personal mood. He has been on the offensive for months, taking shots at everyone from the “radical” Democrats to his personally appointed “unfair” Jeff Sessions.

By constantly pushing the rhetoric that the Russia probe is a “RIGGED WITCH HUNT!” and staunchly discrediting criminal investigations into his associates’ numerous criminal dealings, Trump attempts to discredit the Department of Justice and the federal intelligence community, casting doubt on their fundamental legitimacy as organizations. This doubt poses a direct threat to American democracy, with the potential for a Congress too afraid to speak out against the executive branch, from which the President is trying to remove all sense of accountability, transparency, and decency.

These rallies are also used as displays of force and of the President’s influence over the constituencies in which he campaigns.  They serve to intimidate Republican congressmen into devoutly following President Trump as they are fearful of losing their next elections. Trump has effectively intimidated his party’s representatives into stopping a potential impeachment, even if the Mueller probe were to gather irrefutable evidence of his committing high crimes and misdemeanors.

Political rallying is the single most personally productive thing President Trump could be doing right now. With opposition closing in from every angle, he is tirelessly attempting to hold onto his power. President Trump’s strategy is also successful as no Republican Senators currently oppose him.