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Let’s face it. Everyone created Trump.

We talked about the connection between the Trump phenomenon (if I can call it so) and the Kardashian phenomenon. I heard a few opinions, including the one that there are different people with different views on those two phenomena, and the ones worshiping hollow celebrities, are not necessarily the same who then go and bash Trump for objectifying people (hence, no hypocrisy here). While that may be true for many, I think we should look at the bigger picture.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid the issue goes way beyond mere diversity of views. It's about culture – and some media have admitted it themselves. It's a culture that's being shaped for years and decades, the likes of both Trump and the Kardashians being the end product of that process. We can't just bury our heads in the sand about it, and dismiss the issue with simple explanations like, "well, some hate him/her, some like him/her, that's life". That won't make the above-described process go away in any way whatsoever.

I seldom allow myself to be this blunt (and ranty), but let's face it. The mainstream media, who now flock onto the Trump-bashing bandwagon (and for very good reasons), are also the ones who are largely responsible for his rise. They're the ones who've paved the road for him becoming "a thing". In the world of rating-hunting, where the new norm is the glorification of people who are famous for just being famous as opposed to having done or created anything useful, and a world where the dominant factor is a vast majority of the public obsessed with how people on the screen look and how they talk, as opposed to focusing on what they're actually saying, it's natural that the end result would be the rise of a populist who now has a real shot at getting the highest office in the land; and as a by-product, meaningless persons who haven't contributed with anything useful to society gaining hero status. It would've been inexplicable if that didn't happen at some point.

The media and their respective audience (we, the public) are the ones who've brought both Trump and Kardashian to the highest pedestal. And this process started a long time ago. Now we see the results of it, in the gradual and unnoticed transformation of former paragons of knowledge and substance like History Channel if you like. You'd know the process is complete when you see the likes of History Channel no longer airing documentaries about World War II, but replacing them with reality programs about backyard pawnshops and junk auctions. WW2 is far back in time, after all. Who cares. Never mind the lessons we should've learned from it.

The media, even the (previously) most knowledge- and reason-orientated ones, have changed the game, and have essentially "voted" for hollow celebs, and put them into a position to be calling the shots now. It happened when Discovery Channel started airing Naked and Afraid instead of The Lost Treasures of the Yangtse. They did it when The Learning Channel quit airing programs you could learn something from, and substituted them with My 600 Pound Life. They did it when CBS removed Harvest of Shame and started airing Big Brother.

But don't get me wrong. These changes were not arbitrary. They reflected the public's perceptions and preferences, in parallel to simultaneously shaping them. Because people want to watch Survivor and Big Brother, and they don't care about some places and peoples that are thousands of miles away. They feel they don't need to have a broader perspective about the world because the world is out there and not here – so they don't demand it.

Problem is, Trump knows exactly how the public operates. And he exploits that. He conducts a Twitter campaign as opposed to a conventional one. Hey, Obama won his re-election largely because he understood how the online world affects the real one, how the social networks work, and he dispatched highly skilled professionals in those fields, to plough the field for him. They turned every corner and showered every single voter with campaign messages, and it worked. His re-election campaign was highly efficient because of all that, and despite some drawbacks in his first term that saw the public enthusiasm about him waning quite a bit, he didn't leave any chances to Mitt Romney. Because he knew how the game has changed. Trump does, too. I'm not sure Hillary Clinton does, but she may be learning fast. Which is why she abandoned her initial reluctance to meet with the media – that, alone, would've been the death of her campaign if she hadn't acted swiftly. And Obama's campaign machine may help her now quite a bit as well.

I just hope the suspicion won't turn out to be true, that people tend to hide their intentions about whom they're going to vote for, when polled by the pollsters so early – they just don't want to "look bad" for saying they'd vote for the populist. Hillary does have a lead in those polls, but they may not be reflecting the true intentions of the public properly. And there's of course the inevitability factor: i.e. some people might presume that Hillary is the winner anyway, and stay home on election day – and give Trump a boost with their absence. The extremely negative campaign may help in that, too – the more shit gets flinged both sides, the fewer people would go to vote – and that would help Trump use his core base to prop himself up.

But I digress. The fact is, the game has changed. It's mostly circuses now, with popcorn instead of bread. And Trump understands that. Circus is his home turf, and he plays the game well. The fact that he changed his campaign chief with Steve Bannon of Breitbart, known for his radical positions, shows that he understands the game. He understands the American public, he knows what they want and what they expect. They view the world through the TV screen. And they want to be shocked, they want something to get their attention, something unusual, outrageous even. That's a generalization, I know, but we're talking dominant numbers here, because elections are about majorities. And the majority of the public care about ratings, they want to be entertained. Their culture is based on television, and that's not news. Spending hours upon hours at the TV, sucking up whatever you're being constantly exposed to, inevitably makes you susceptible to manipulation. And prone to complacency. You start to believe it's more comfortable if someone else creates intellectual product for you, and does the thinking for you, because that doesn't require any effort on your part. Only chew that popcorn and click with the remote, that's all. You start to believe what you see on the screen (the "it must be true, because they said it on the TV" phenomenon). So a lie repeated a hundred times on the screen, becomes the truth. And Trump is good at that, too.

People have stopped watching stuff that teaches, or informs, or provides a variety of perspectives. They watch reality shows now – because someone does the talking, the thinking, the living, for them. There was a time when the TV journalists were almost unnoticeable on the screen. They were somewhere in the background, the event that was being reported was in the focus. Now there's the "pundit" phenomenon, that imposing figure whom their respective segments trust without question. The ones who spin reality in whatever ways their respective mentors and donors postulate – and the public is just a consumer sucking it all up.

It's like a big reality show, where the "reality" part is substituted with a show. And the presidential election is the biggest show there is. And whoever plays that game well, the one who can entertain (even through controversy – or maybe exactly because of it), the one who can draw your attention, the one who understands how ratings work, is likely to win. Political stance and policy notwithstanding.

So, be concerned. Be very concerned about election day. For this is going to be a much closer race than some might be anticipating. And it's true what some have said here: there's a lot at stake. There probably has never been so much at stake in the last century. I'm concerned, too. Hillary Clinton may have a number of flaws, some of them serious. But right now, the biggest of them all is that she doesn't seem to be able to play this game. She's not prepared for it. She may be super intelligent, and full of good intentions, and she may have a comprehensive plan for truly making America great again (or at least a tad better), she may be a skillful and experienced politician, and for good or for bad she may have Wall Street, Arlington, and most political columnists, analysts and pollsters on her side – but she cannot entertain. That's the truth. Sounds bad, I know, but that's it.

Trump is Kim Kardashian. He sucks up the air in the room even if you're just watching him on the TV in your sofa. And Hillary is the dull news anchor that no one notices while reading the world news at noon. News that no one cares about and forgets about at the minute they're done. Which of these two would you rather watch on your TV for the next 4 to 8 years? But be frank. Now extrapolate this onto the rest of the public. Then you'll know why US politics has reached as far down beneath rock-bottom as it has.

All that the rest of us around the world can do, is watch in horror. And brace ourselves for what's to come next for all of us.

Source: Talk politics.

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