Herman Cain Died Because He Was In an Anti-Science Death Cult

Former presidential candidate paid ultimate price for believing right-wing propaganda

Herman Cain (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died on Thursday morning at age 74. He had been hospitalized for several weeks after he contracted the coronavirus at Trump’s Tulsa rally. However, the coronavirus didn’t kill Cain. The real cause of death was a far-right death cult.

Cain’s death was preventable. He was at risk from COVID-19 because of his age and the fact he survived cancer. But he discounted these issues. He died because of bad information. He was up to his ears in Cult 45 where following the Great Pumpkin is more important than science and facts.

Trump cultists still dismiss the danger of COVID-19

Unfortunately, these kinds of deaths are not unusual. Although the coronavirus has killed 150,000 Americans, Trump cultists still refuse to take it seriously. Like Cain, they’ve literally drunk the kool-aid. And in the Trump cult, the kool-aid is right-wing propaganda.

Washington Post columnist and ex-Republican Jennifer Rubin said her old party has lost any sense of objectivity.

“If Republicans are willing to go maskless at their peril, then they are willing to believe or disbelieve anything to stay within the cult. Is it any wonder that these people insist Trump never committed impeachable acts, did a swell job on the pandemic, sounds lucid and is not corrupt?” said Rubin in a June column.

Cain’s death was preventable. He was at risk from COVID-19 because of his age and the fact he survived cancer. But he discounted these issues. He died because of bad information. He was up to his ears in Cult 45 where following the Great Pumpkin is more important than science and facts.

The danger of believing right-wing propaganda

Trump and other right-wing propagandists have been downplaying the threat of the coronavirus for more than six months. FOX News, the nation’s premier source of conservative propaganda, dismissed the dangers of COVID-19 for months, even though they were warned in January.

Even though FOX News is facing a lawsuit accusing their misinformation of causing the deaths of countless Americans, their anchors continue to pump out claptrap discounting the coronavirus. A study by Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and Dolores Albarracin of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign found that people who regularly consumed right-wing media were more likely to discount COVID-19 or believe it was an attempt to “damage the Trump presidency.”

On July 21, FOX News’ Sean Hannity said, “By the way, President Trump never stopped working. The pandemic is not spiraling out of control, as they projected nightly. … The situation is getting better, not worse.”

That is the opposite of the truth. Is it any wonder that Cain marched into the Tulsa petri dish and flaunted not wearing a mask? Even though Trump was warned about holding a large rally indoors, in the middle of a pandemic, he did it anyway. (Trump staffers also made masks optional and removed social distancing signs.)

The end result was several Trump campaign staffers and Secret Service agents testing positive for COVID-19. A few days after the Trump rally, Tulsa County recorded the highest infection rate in the entire state.

Herman Cain proudly going mask-free at Trump’s Tulsa rally (Twitter.)

“The past two days we’ve had almost 500 cases, and we know we had several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right,” said Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department in a New York Times article. “So I guess we just connect the dots.”

Trump might survive coronavirus, but his followers won’t

But this kind of science denial is common among Trump cultists. I’ve written previous articles about liberal children worried their conservative parents, who live in red states, refuse to take the disease seriously. Now there are close to 500,000 cases of COVID-19 in Florida, where about 1 in 4 people is a senior citizen.

However, Cain’s death still hasn’t scared them straight. A few hours after his passing, a Twitter video showed Trump cultists lining up for a Vice President Mike Pence rally in Pennsylvania. Many of them were not wearing masks.

However, I’m not the only one who sees the Trump cult as an organization with undue influence over its followers. Cult deprogrammer Steven Hassan created the BITE model to identify how cults maintain control over followers. BITE stands for Behavior, Information, Thought and Emotion. Cain and other Trump cultists allowed Cult 45 to control their behavior and information to dismiss a potentially fatal disease as a “hoax” or “fake news.”

Sadly more of them will sacrifice their lives because of Trump’s ego and mismanagement. And while Trump cultists might pay the ultimate price for Dear Leader, the feeling is not mutual. Trump has access to the best drugs and doctors in the world. If he contracts COVID-19, he might survive it, but like Cain, most of his followers won’t.

Herman Cain treated for COVID-19 after Trump rally

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store