Despite what many may believe, Donald Trump’s presidency is not a mere fluke in America’s political history.
He may be detestable, an unfit leader and a failed president, but for many disheartened Americans, Trump was the epitome of authenticity, who summarized the feelings of those protesting against establishment.
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Trump may not even realize it, but he was both a president and a rebel simultaneously.
Trump’s first presidential campaign and his conduct during his time in the White House formed an entire ideology, now known as “Trumpism”.
The ideology rebels against what is perceived to be the American political establishment, which according to them has been overrun by liberal purists, as well as against the U.S. media, which is excessively influenced by ratings and political preferences of its senior executives.
The main reason Trump’s “rebellion” gained such momentum – mainly with white voters from mid-to-low socio-economic background – is that his supporters were and still are frustrated with the way the U.S. democracy functions.
His voters feel that the glorious American democracy has left them behind, and are furious with the self-serving political system full of politicians who generously distribute public funds to the economic, religious and ethnic interest groups, who support them and their re-election efforts.
Additionally, many Americans have grown ever more frustrated with the fanatical enforcement of political correctness in speech and other forms of expression.
The enforcement of PC culture is done mainly by the mainstream media and social networks’ users, who operate an elaborate online shaming mechanism that works in parallel and alongside the legal system.
While the initial intentions of the so-called PC culture were good, meant to shelter society’s weakest populations from being verbally abused, it has eventually transformed into a monstrous concept. This culture now does little but prevent dialogue and open exchanges of opinions between people in a public sphere, making it impossible to talk about real issues and reach an effective solution that will truly serve the public’s needs.
Another reason for Trump’s popularity with certain sectors of society is the hostility of America’s conservatives toward the established media, which is influenced by ratings, arrogance and political leanings, rather than the need to provide the public with reliable information, conveyed in the right context.
However, Trump’s constant claims that the media is spreading “fake news” are blatant lies. Most American media outlets take extra care to find out the truth and present real facts.
Another absurdity is that the media’s obsession with ratings is what pushes them to cover Trump, thus giving him a ludicrous amount of exposure, allowing him to set the political national political agenda over other important issues that are pushed to the back of public discourse and therefore do not receive proper coverage.
Trump’s success lies in the fact that he manages to give an outlet to many Americans, who are justifiable frustrated. His vague promise to change the political system from within is what landed him his first term in the White House.
In his four years in office, however, he did no such thing. All he did was lie and replace senior officials with others, who he believed would better serve his needs, all while constantly inciting the flames of anger among his supporters through incitement and control over the public agenda.
And so, nothing has changed, and even if Trump fails to secure a second term, Trumpism is not going anywhere, anytime soon.
The American public, polarized and divided by hatred like never before, will stay as such. Some will even continue to spread fake news and conspiracy theories, making them the perfect prey for Russian and Iranian agents operating in cyberspace.
Trumpism as an ideology is not confined only to U.S. borders. It is wherever democracy has stopped functioning properly, and has, therefore, adopted by other authoritarian leaders who regularly exploit the shortcomings of the democratic system in their respective countries, in order to enforce their will.
This is how they gather strength and boundless influence, all while presenting themselves as victims. “The victimized tyrant,” is the essence of Trumpism, with which we might have to live until disaster strikes, or society will find a way to uproot it.