A force of the mind?
To me, however, another analogy from the world of fiction keeps coming to mind.
A man with hardly any political experience -- hardly any record at all, in fact -- comes out of nowhere and somehow manages to win supporters and accumulate power with astonishing speed. He easily surmounts every successive obstacle to his rise. Every time the conventional wisdom says he should lose a political battle, he wins. The key to his power is the unshakable, fanatical, cultlike support he is able to inspire in an ever-growing number of people, support based on -- well, actually, based on nothing than anybody can really pin down. They simply embrace his cause with fervent faith, for no actual reason that the unconverted can discern. In a stunningly short time, the Messianic figure from nowhere rises to the position of leader of the most powerful state in existence.
Of course, this could only be the career of a fictional character: "The Mule" in Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy.
Yes, I know, I'm really being paranoid now. But the analogy is so obvious that I can't get it out of my head.