The Trump Phenomenon

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Our southern neighbors are in the throws of their primary season, as the Democratic and Republican parties go through the process of selecting their candidate for president.

The Republican party establishment is desperately trying to distance themselves from the monster they have created – Donald J. Trump.

Trump’s success in the primary season is a function of a number of factors.

  • Trump is seen as a political outsider, which is a positive, given the overall disenchantment with the current political leadership.
  • Trump is a brand more than a person; a brand he has successfully burnished over many years.
  • Years of anti-government, xenophobic, racist and elitist rhetoric from the Republican leadership have created the fertile ground in which the seed of Trump’s candidacy was planted and continues to flourish.
  • The current love/obsession of celebrity creates the illusion that success or competence in the field of endeavor that created the celebrity, confers expertise on the celebrity in all areas of endeavor.  Based on this delusion, Trump being successful in real estate management, marketing,  and branding makes him an expert in government.
  • Media and establishment distrust is at an all time high, with some justification, due to the bias in the selection of candidates and the reporting on those candidates by the media.
  • Elections have always involved an element of theater. In the 2016 primary season its all about the show and precious little about the substance. The news media adores a show, and Trump, as the circus master, gets the lion’s share of the media coverage.

The reality of Trump is that he is not that different from the Republican party establishment. Their problem with Trump is apparently his obnoxious style, but in reality it is due to their perception that he is uncontrollable (by them), which is a nightmare for the establishment. The fundamental imperative of any establishment is to maintain their authority and control. Anyone who threatens that hegemony must be discarded.

Going forward, Trump will most likely maintain the support of the fraction of the population who see him as a savor, in spite of his behavior and lack of substance. In a general election, he would need to expand his demographic to those whom he has already insulted. However, he must first succeed in getting his party’s nomination, which may be deliberately defeated by the party establishment, by means fair or foul.

 

 

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