If one thing is abundantly clear, it’s that the United States’ 2016 presidential election has been an outright circus so far.
As the results of various state elections are beginning to reveal the prospective nominations for both the Republican and Democratic parties, many people are beginning to worry about the future status of the United States. Will America thrive as a nation or will it start to crumble under the new rule of potential leaders?
While concerns have risen from a number of sides of the political spectrum, one major anxiety persists for a majority of the population: What is America to do if Donald Trump becomes president?
Many media outlets, including The Huffington Post and CNBC, have reported that ‘how to move to Canada’ has been trending in online searches recently. According to a poll conducted by market research giant, Ipsos Reid, a staggering 19 percent of Americans would consider moving to Canada if Trump wins the general election.
Fears of a Trump presidency are undeniably warranted; the man has been openly discriminatory on numerous occasions, he has contradicted the very positions that he stands for an uncountable number of times, and he seriously lacks the maturity and experience of what it takes to be a successful president.
Just recently, Trump stated that women who get an abortion should be punished, despite advocating his support for Planned Parenthood just a couple of weeks ago. Moreover, Trump previously publicly stated in a 1999 interview with Chuck Todd that he is “pro-choice in every respect and as far as it goes. I just hate it [(abortion)].” The 7-year-old Meet The Press segment indicates that while Trump may dislike the very concept of abortion, he still believes that women should have the freedom to make decisions regarding their own bodies.
Additionally, a couple of weeks ago, BuzzFeed reported that in an off-the-record interview between Trump and the New York Times, the presidential candidate revealed that he is flexible on his hardline immigration position. Shortly afterwards in an interview with Trump and Fox News, he stated that the policy is negotiable, however only with regards to the size of the wall. If Trump’s attitudes are truly consistent with one another, why does he continue to not authorize the release of his transcript with the Times?
In addition to these instances, Trump has flip-flopped his views with regards to healthcare, combatting terrorism and foreign policy. To put it simply, he is politically unpredictable and erratic – and this leads the public to question even further; is the front-runner of the Republican race just telling voters what they want to hear?
Do Trump’s current radical political stances say more about him as a candidate or more about the public’s social and political perceptions with regards to American society?
Many individuals have protested Trump’s candidacy and proposed policies; and many have nodded their heads in approval as ballots have been cast to nominate the New York businessman.
Like him or dislike him, however, the reactions to his candidacy have sparked a number of movements that call into question the very fabric of American society on both Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle.
The possibility of a Trump presidency has gauged personal and political attention from countless amounts of international media outlets, organizations and individuals both within the US and abroad. He has made consistent headlines in the news and has conversely transformed himself into America’s focal candidate.
Whether the attention is negative or positive, Trump is the primary focus. And this is extremely beneficial to him; it is his obvious political opportunism that has gained him free advertising and media exposure, allowing his political attitudes to somehow impact American voters.
Metaphorically speaking, Trump has become an integral character in the plot of the 2016 presidential election. Whether you see him as the antagonist or protagonist, he has become a core player in determining not only the future state of America, but also that of the Republican Party and politics in the US as a whole.
Each time his name is repeated on television, in the newspaper, through social media, or even in a personal conversation, his political, corporate and personal brand is being further strengthened within American society and globally.
He has learned how to manipulate the media and the American public into making him the Republican front-runner; and he may very well succeed in winning the nomination.
In fact, there is substantial proof that media coverage of particular candidates has grossly impacted current poll numbers. These numbers can be traced all the way back to the Ronald Reagan administration when the former president used the media to leverage himself within the presidential race. More recently, President Obama stated that the discourse that permeates this year’s presidential election if partly due to faulty journalism.
But journalists and reporters are not entirely to blame for Trump’s popularity within the media. Many politicians, including Trump, have committed actions and conducted speeches that do constitute as legitimate news bits.
And that is what makes Trump’s public relations plan foolproof in many ways; journalists need to generate stories for their respective publications, and these are inclusive of the language and actions of each and every presidential candidate.
A particular dilemma is therefore posed for editors and journalists in America who must keep up with the news or else risk losing readership and viewership numbers. Content that discusses Trump is so ridiculous, however, the majority of the population can’t resist tuning in.
And this is what gives Trump so much power – his celebrity status, the constant endearment with his political antics, and his ability to be consistently talked about both within the media and amongst peers.
While it is virtually impossible to cease coverage and dialogue concerning a Trump presidency, it is plausible to minimize the exposure and free advertising that he has achieved so far.
In the future, before denouncing his presidential candidacy or typing that angry tweet, think about the implications that the mention that his notorious name has.