The presidential election 2016 is a very crazy anomaly. Can you remember any other election where a candidate could say so many things that the press jumps all over the story, the candidate doesn’t apologize, and comes out better for it? For so many candidates of past, there was just one faux pas that ended the candidacy. Donald Trump has had numerous “WTF” moments and seems to come out better off after each one.
There are two things in American culture that really stand out to me as being the reasons there are millions of people who are willing to entrust the United States of America to Donald Trump.
The first is our love of celebrity. Famous people in the USA are worshipped. From athletes to musicians to actors, etc., celebrities in the USA have a lot of clout. They are able to peddle merchandise with their names because they are seen as experts or authorities on the topics. Since they became wealthy and famous, they must know what they’re talking about, right?
America’s love affair with entertainment is why few bat an eye when Will Smith gets $20,000,000 to make a film which causes the price of tickets to increase $2 extra, and we still go to the theater in record numbers to see the film. We love to be entertained. We have a very short attention span that NEEDS to be filled with something to take our minds off of reality. (A side effect of not being foragers anymore.) We want to be entertained, no matter what the cost! Also, entertainers are experts!
Donald Trump is not only an entertainer but also a BILLIONAIRE! He REALLY must know better, right? I believe that he could pick Honey Boo Boo’s mother to be the Vice-President and still win. Heck, he might even improve his chances! Donald Trump is seen as a success because of his business accomplishments and the wealth that he’s been able to amass. This, along with being famous, makes him an authority on things, in the minds of many. Plus, he is ENTERTAINING to watch to so many. It seems like the perfect combination, right?
Another social construct that I believe has lead to the rise of Trump is the drilling in of respecting and following authority figures. We are told from a young age to follow all of the instructions of teachers, principles, police officers, political leaders, and, in some sense, successful people. When we talk to CEO’s our attitude and demeanor changes. When we speak to people in charge, we follow orders, that’s what we are programmed to do with them. “Respect your elders” doesn’t come with a side clause that says “but only if they deserve respect.”
Our culture and education system has programmed citizens to be drawn to the person who is in a position of power. We are wired to follow the orders of a boss and think that the person is a good leader because we are being given someone to follow. It doesn’t matter where the we are being taken. The same people who do well in long military careers are the ones who can follow orders the best. This is how we succeed, right? THIS IS HOW WE ARE WIRED!
That is why Donald Trump doesn’t apologize. Apologizing shows that someone else is in charge. If Trump apologizes, he is no longer the boss. People aren’t drawn to that. They are drawn to the man who tells others what to do. They are drawn to totalitarianism.
When George W. Bush was president, one of the arguments as to why many people liked him was, “He does what he wants and doesn’t care what others think.” This is multiplied by at least 10 with Trump.
With how Americans are wired, this combination of success, celebrity, and totalitarian actions, to go along with how the American culture has been fostered, has made Donald Trump possible.
It’s now in the hands of the citizens of the USA to decide what kind of leader they want.