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The Cruelty Is the Point is a common catchphrase for those critiquing Trump and his supporters. It is a reference to the 2018 article in The Atlantic of the same name, written by Adam Serwer, in which he argues that actively participating in mean-spirited acts is what bonds Trump's supporters together, and we need not look for any deeper reason, nor expect reason to be effective in combating their views.

"This isn’t incoherent. It reflects a clear principle: Only the president and his allies, his supporters, and their anointed are entitled to the rights and protections of the law, and if necessary, immunity from it. The rest of us are entitled only to cruelty, by their whim. This is how the powerful have ever kept the powerless divided and in their place, and enriched themselves in the process."

While much of the rhetoric used in conjunction with this idea is just that -- rhetoric, not logic -- it is always important to remember that holding power means enticing supporters, and asking a politician to move away from what their base demands is asking them to commit political suicide. Villainizing the outgroup is a common, and perhaps necessary, part of politics, and Trump has found a way to make anger and frustration into visible, tangible actions. The fact that these actions hurt others, badly, is indeed what gives them much of their power, and in this sense, the cruelty is indeed very much the point.

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