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American Id[iot]: Donald Trump's Popularity is the Manifestation of Our Inner Psyche

Updated on August 27, 2015

Is Trump the Mirror Image of Twisted Americana?

Donald Trump is the undisputed frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination as of August 27, 2015.
Donald Trump is the undisputed frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination as of August 27, 2015. | Source

We Are Donald Trump.

Nobody thought Donald Trump would come this far. In 2012, he was an obnoxious blowhard who threatened to run for president as a Republican and eventually badgered president Barack Obama into releasing his long-form birth certificate. This time around, he has actually thrown his hat into the ring. And today, amazingly enough, he's actually winning. Yes, Donald Trump is the undisputed frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president.

It is a situation that confounds, entertains, and infuriates in equal proportion. Trump should not be where he is. His ability to win the masses seems completely mystical and inexplicable.

Trump has no experience in electoral politics. He is a wealthy businessman, to be sure, but he has also been bankrupt four times. As a real estate mogul, he is a big fish in an industry that is notoriously unstable. As a media mogul in the vein of reality TV, he is a star in the C-list category of celebrity. He is fundamentally flawed, full of bluster, and he is America.

If you think about it, Trump's rise makes sense. He is not a typical politician, but he is us. He represents modern pop culture in all of its twisted glory. Trump is an anti-hero, he is hookup culture, rebellion, entitlement, outrage, Americana. He is a modern-day Gordon Gekko telling us that greed is good. Unlike his fellow Republicans on the campaign trail, he is real. He keeps it real. He is reality TV personified. And his critics are fired.

Let's take a look at each of Trump's personifications in turn to understand his unprecedented popularity. First, he is the anti-hero. Unlike the wholesome, goody-two-shoes Boy Scout heroes of yesteryear, we like our modern heroes to be dark and edgy. We want Vic Mackey and Walter White, not Inspector Clouseau or Jimmy Stewart. Our pop culture heroes of decades past have become grittier since the dawn of the 1980s: James Bond, Batman, and even Superman have become far darker than their 1960s portrayals. We want today's heroes to be complicated, mysterious, and aggressive. Donald Trump is this. He is a Tim Burton/Bret Easton Ellis creation of an American politician.

Secondly, Trump is hookup culture. Other politicians are like traditional dating - lots of preening, misdirection, subtle manipulation, and noncommittal answers. The rest of the Republicans only want us to see their good side. They want to tell us what we want to hear. Trump is like Tinder. He is direct, simple, and far from wholesome. He offers us quick and simple solutions to complex problems like immigration reform. He's more than a bit dirty...and maybe we like it like that.

Third, Trump is rebellion. Similar to being hookup culture, Trump is breaking longstanding rules and norms. He is not playing by the rules of polite politicking. And we, tired of the games and petty norms and silly rituals, see his rebellion as a breath of fresh air. Like Bernie Sanders on the other side of the political aisle, Trump is something new. We love the new and we love the rebel. We love the bad boy. Donald Trump is the new kid in class who won't behave and mouths off to the teacher, and we cannot wait to see what he does next.

Trump is entitlement. He says what he wants. He demands, he does not apologize, and he speaks his mind. He behaves in ways we want to behave. Trump is the American id. When he struts and pontificates and tweets, he acts like he owns the place, like he is entitled to a throne. And, deep down, we envy that. We want that. We feel a kinship with Trump the entitled. His confidence calls to us, lures us in.

Outrage. Trump feels it and provides it in equal doses. He feels wronged, and others feel wronged by him...and nobody is quiet about it. Frankly, we love it. The Internet has allowed us to vent our outrage, anger, snark, and meanness in unprecedented volume and with unprecedented ease. Trump, through his rebellion, fuels our desire for vocal outrage. We may be outraged by him, but we are grateful that he piques our vitriol. As Eminem said, it would be so empty without him...

On that note, maybe Donald Trump and Eminem are sort of similar, too. How many albums has Eminem sold, again?

Finally, Trump is Americana and Gordon Gekko. He is an extreme version of idealized American success. He is the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Perhaps we accept all of his rule-breaking and eccentricities because his wealthy makes him an enviable leader. Subconsciously, we accept his foibles because he has found tremendous financial success. If he is rich, he must be doing something right! We are notorious for forgiving the personal failings of the rich and famous as the behavioral misfires of genius. Case in point: Steve Jobs.

Like Gordon Gekko of the Wall Street movies, Trump tells us and shows us that greed is good. He entices us to accept the darker parts of our nature, such as financial greed. He is no holier-than-thou spendthrift. We want the yachts, the planes, and the limousines. Deep down, Trump makes us feel better about our greed, and perhaps we wish to reward him for giving us this moral and ethical absolution.

We want to be like Donald Trump. We are Donald Trump. It is something to think about.





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    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      3 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Facts? Willie Horton add.....and these things still go on.

      ANYTHING to win. Anything.

      Many people think Dukakis was a visionary.....but of course, you can't have vision in LaLa Land.....you can only see what they want you to see....which is more profit for them.

      Life before the Demented Dingbats......MANY remember!!!

      http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/what_happened_...

      You see--morality comes in all shapes and sizes.... and these Dingbats have brought shame to our nation.

      IMO

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Hence, that nice man Dukakis--subject to the sinister politics of personal destruction, or whatever they call it in the Bush Clan."

      Don't let facts get in the way of your opinions. Mickey ran his state into the ground and had no chance of getting elected president.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      3 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Ahhhh, but real reasons don't feed the Beast. The Beast must be fed. Hence, the reason for Fox "news", Rush Limbaugh, and all the sundry hate-mongers and snarling fang-screamers that perpetuate the airwaves.

      Don't you remember Hubert Humphrey? Common sense...but you know, too nice a guy. We don't do nice. We ameliorate nice.

      Hence The Don....Donald. Hence Fox Dementia. "Tiller the baby Killer" "Butchering Babies" (Oh, but war is necessary. THAT butchering of babies is Patriotic!)

      We can't BE nice....we must feed the Beast.

      Hence, that nice man Dukakis--subject to the sinister politics of personal destruction, or whatever they call it in the Bush Clan.

      And we're still at it.

      Too bad: I remember when nice was OK. I remember this country before the Demented Dingalings took over.

      Lots of us do......we're just afraid to come out---might have our heads bit off. Literally.

      But--the Last Gasp of Snarling Droolers will be played out. I just hope I'm here to see it.

      GOD--I need a good laugh! Cry. Laugh.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Never saw that bumper sticker. There were plenty of real reasons.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      3 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Oh the horror. I remember......I'll pay you amillion bucks to show your birth certificate.......

      OK here you go.

      Wheres the million Donald?

      Oh God. Re-nigging on a bet. Remember that bumper sticker.....don't re-nig, vote republican. So vile.

      How long must we suffer this generation?

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Nobody thought Donald Trump would come this far. In 2012, he was an obnoxious blowhard... "

      "Trump has no experience in electoral politics."

      The first Repub debate was held 8/6/2015. 4 years ago, to the day, the leading Repub was ... Trump. You might want to brush up on your history before bloviating.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      3 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      He's playing the Trump card now. I mean right now. Iran. Thats his goal.

      Here it comes. ISRAEL.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      3 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      His very dangerous hate speech. He will take us to war. Its like Palin in pants.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 

      3 years ago from Orange County California

      This hub should appear in the Enquirer, a puff piece.

      As far as his lack of elected political experience, it is those professional well polished with decades of experience that got us into 2008 the meltdown, and continue to keep us down.

      Congress hasn't worked in decades, presidents have failed us, and the Supreme Court hasn't made a worthwhile decision since it was created. 3 branches of government without any balance or protection for the people or the country.

      You must be really scared that Trump will win. What scares you about him that you weren't scared with Bush or Obama?

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 

      3 years ago from Placentia California

      The whole problem with presidential candidates is they can pledge the moon while they are campaigning, but once they get into office things change. That'a O.K, but they are not held accountable for what they have pledged. Trump is a business man who deals in contracts. He has been sued many times for breach of contracts. If he gets into office, he can't be sued for any of his hyperbole of pledges, nor held accountable. He is a salesman selling high priced real estate as campaign promises. That's what he knows how to do. He is using those same nasty tactics to sell himself to the public.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      3 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      read this list: http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/meet-the-80-peo...

      # 25 bailed out Trump's Taj Mahal.....

      Trump says he'd be great doing trade deals for the USA.

      Not owe anyone? Really?

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      3 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      For all his bravado, he is still a safe candidate. He is promoting the Republican status qou...

      It's nice to see someone speak their mind, but when you get down to it, there's nothing new here.

      In fact--his talk of fixing infrastructure in America is straight Obama. And look how the party of No acted when Obama said it.

      Bluster away...my dream team would be Trump vs Grayson.....but here again, they are both safe on one issue.

      Where are the REAL Bravehearts?????

      .....six feet under.

      ****

      BTW--I heard an interesting comment yesterday.....Trump says he is beholden to no-one, but what about those who helped him out of bankruptcy?

      As the saying goes....Behind every great fortune is a crime.

      We shall see!

    • Caryn Bickel profile image

      Caryn Bickel 

      3 years ago from Los Angeles

      Well done! This article is a well crafted thing of beauty! Bravo!

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      3 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Oh my. I'm betting he doesn't win the Republican nomination. I think the fivethirtyeight blog predicted he wouldn't as well. They've been right at predicting outcomes a high percentage. If they're this time, it will be interesting to see what causes the unraveling.

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