As I argue in my upcoming book, The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How The President Uses Mind Control (Simon & Schuster), Trump has gotten where he is today in large part because he has exploited tactics straight out of that playbook. These include his grandiose claims, his practice of sowing confusion, his demand for absolute loyalty, his tendency to lie and create alternative “facts” and realities, his shunning and belittling of critics and ex-believers, and his cultivating of an “us versus them” mindset. These are the same methods used by Moon, Jones, and other cult leaders such as L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology), David Koresh (Branch Davidians), Lyndon LaRouche (LaRouche PAC), and, most recently, convicted trafficking felon Keith Raniere (NXVIM).

Of all these tactics, the “us versus them” mindset is probably one of the most effective. From the moment you are recruited into a cult, you are made to feel special, part of an “inside” group in opposition to unenlightened, unbelieving, dangerous “outsiders.” Playing on ancient human tribal tendencies, cult leaders extend this “us versus them” mindset outwards to an almost cosmic struggle.

Many campaigns—political, military, athletic—pivot around the idea of conflict between parties. Even in literature there is a hero and a villain. But cults take this human habit of viewing the world in binary terms and infuse it with a kind of all consuming passion, which they reinforce in the minds of followers using cliches, platitudes, lies, and endless repetitions. You come to believe that you are superior to the rest of the world.