Donald Trump’s seemingly rocketing political popularity can be attributed to three things. First and most obviously, his cognitive and linguistic development has been stunted to that of a nine year-old. The language of political rhetoric is becoming less accessible to many Americans and Brits alike. Donald Trump, for better or worse, has failed entirely to master this rhetoric and it works in his favour. Trump’s speech requires little contemplation, no interpretation—it is intelligible to the least interested and engaged audiences.
Second, Trump is the embodiment of internet fixtures and rituals we love and love to hate. Donald Trump is a toupéed B-list celebrity with a trophy wife, aspiring towards a Scrooge McDuck goes to Wall Street fantasy. He is a living troll, a walking meme generator. A comedic King Midas wearing new robes, everything he touches turns into gold as he proudly struts about stark naked. While news agencies feign shock and disgust at the outrageous xenophobic/homophobic/racist/sexist statements he makes, is it really any surprise? We eat this stuff up, and Britain to an extent does too. More of our screens are increasingly consumed with reality housewives, celebrities clawing at one another for relevance in the jungle, Miley Cyrus, and websites dedicated to videos and photos of cats. We live for this. It is our decompression material for commutes home and “sick” days in bed. Thanks to Donald we no longer need to await viral Youtube videos of office pranks gone wrong, medicated and/or emotionally overwhelmed children, and newscasts featuring the most eccentric person within a 5-mile radius. We simply give him a smartphone and fragment of information and wait.
As an American abroad, my accent gets picked up in public–and no, not because I’m loud, but because you recognise it from television and films. Conversations around me hush as I feel glances and gazes shot in my direction. Silent prayers to hear me sing Trump’s praises are soon disappointed they have not been answered. When I’m introduced to someone new, the first question I’m asked is about Donald Trump as my face is searched for any indication that he and his pet comb-over stand a chance. This brings me to my third point. The rest of the world secretly wishes Americans are the gun-cradling bigots they imagine them to be. This isn’t to say there aren’t gun-cradling bigots, but no country is completely free of people with such tendencies, not even in Europe.
But I get it, everyone wants to see who or what will topple the top banana. Everyone wants their turn to say “SEE? I TOLD YOU SO.” The sad truth about Donald Trump is only the most outrageous, shocking, and uplifting stories get the biggest media splash and Trump knows how to do a mean cannonball. We actually have some candidates running who care about the integrity of democracy and they’re gaining traction. But we’re glad you’re enjoying the show.