The Political Fallacy of Donald Trump

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.


It’s Not Easy Being Green: How To Be Aware Of False EcoFriendly Labels

*  See original Elite Daily story here  *

It’s 2015, and climate change remains a growing concern.

Just recently, the United Nations held the Climate Change Conference in Paris to discuss current environmental issues and different initiatives that are going to help combat the imminent crisis.

In addition to the annual Climate Change Conference, countries’ governments have begun to prioritize sustainability as a part of their political platforms.

For example, Barack Obama has launched a comprehensive plan to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, the new Canadian prime minster Justin Trudeau has promised to enhance Canada’s environmental commitment to minimize the country’s carbon footprint and various countries in Scandinavia, including Sweden and Norway, produce energy from over 50 percent of renewable resources.

But anxieties about our precious natural world are not new.

The history of environmentalism dates back to hundreds of years ago, while staunch activism started to proliferate in the early 1900s.

Only recently have governments, corporations and individuals started to pay close attention to environmental news and their own personal practices that may negatively affect the world around them.

Out of all of these efforts, some are genuinely noble, but others are just attempts to jump on the activism bandwagon as a public relations tactic.

It’s called “greenwashing,” and being a theoretical communications major in college, I recognize the term all too well.

Essentially what will happen is that mass corporations will begin to promote their brands as environmentally friendly.

They will say their products are recyclable, a portion of the proceeds are allocated to a “green” charity or even that they construct their products out of second-hand parts.

What tends to distinguish companies that greenwash is that more funds are generally spent on advertising or marketing campaigns than the actual environmental initiative itself.

Gas and car companies are probably the worst propagators of this, and for obvious reasons.

But, there are also a number of other mass corporations that manufacture and sell ordinary items like clothing, beauty products and food that choose to participate in the green trend.

Coca-Cola and Huggies, along with Herbal Essences are just a couple of corporations that have been accused of participating in the questionable marketing practice.

It was just a few years ago when Coca-Cola claimed to be a core purveyor of environmentally friendly initiatives, when they released their so-called green “PlantBottle.”

The company advertised this drinking bottle as “30 percent plant-based and 100 percent recyclable,” when no evidence was provided to support this assertion, causing its credibility to come into question.

Similarly, a few years ago, diaper company Huggies claimed to implement a “green” approach into its business practices.

Packaging was labeled with “go green” visuals, and the product was advertised to be manufactured out of “organic cotton, hypoallergenic properties, in addition to aloe and Vitamin E.”

What really distinguished this marketing campaign as greenwashing, however, was the fact nearly all diaper companies possess these characteristics.

The company also blatant disregarded the fact these products are extremely damaging to the environment.

Most diapers are not biodegradable and end up in landfill, which greatly effects the lives of wildlife.

But massive corporations and businesses have not been the only ones to follow the green trend.

Ordinary individuals are beginning to become increasingly consumed with the protection of the environment or the image of it.

While scrolling through my Instagram feed, I frequently see many friends and other social media users advertising photos of newly purchased, supposedly environmentally friendly products.

Accompanied by artistically edited pictures of food, beauty products or clothing, are captions like “buy local,” “say no to fast fashion” or “support fair trade,” along with a number of supportive hashtags.

When I see this flood of green content on my social media feed, I can’t help but wonder: Do my social media friends and followers really know what it means to be environmentally friendly?

Do they really know the atrocities that are plaguing our precious planet and what is really contributing to the ongoing climate disaster?

It’s easy to buy a couple of cool products that have been branded and marketed strikingly well, and pass yourself off as someone who cares.

But let me ask you this: Do you really know why it is important to buy local?

Can you legitimately tell me all of the natural ingredients that are in your beauty products?

How exactly do your consumer habits reduce your carbon footprint?

Are you thoroughly educated regarding all of the pollution in our natural world, and the colossal effects it has already had on our planet?

Next time you decide to post that picture of your newly purchased makeup products or those locally grown vegetables, I encourage you to ask yourself these very questions.

And don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that everybody who advocates green initiatives through social media is a poser.

Although this question does still remain, where do we draw the line when environmentally friendly becomes environmentally trendy?

How can we distinguish between those who want to convey a certain image to their followers and those who genuinely are tree-huggers?

Now, by no means would I consider myself an environmentalist.

I only possess a fair bit of knowledge on the subject from my internship with a Canadian environmental magazine last year.

I am aware of the horribly negative effects that humans have on the Earth and how quickly our natural resources are depleting, but in no way do I pretend to care more than I actually do.

I try to make a conscious effort to do what I can (such as recycle or use reusable products), but at the same time, I do not go out of my way to actively reduce my carbon footprint.

While my peers’ and followers’ social media profiles may not be all that genuine, they do accomplish one thing: awareness, the most important tool in achieving any sort of change.

By constantly posting environmentally conscious images, news stories or even statuses, more and more people are exposed to what is happening in our natural world.

People do not always follow the news, but they do follow social media.

That is why maybe — just maybe — these green trendsetters and followers could be catalysts for environmental advocacy, sustainability and most importantly, change.

After all, it’s happened before where social media has inaugurated a revolutionary movement, and it can happen again.