By ACHYUT SETH, freshman
WITH ELECTIONS just around the corner, it is painfully paramount that we reflect on the most influential “political” figure of the 2016 presidential election: Donald Trump. The media has transformed Trump into an internet sensation with countless parodies and clickbait articles around his campaign. With appearances on late-night shows or a couple clever tweets, candidates can easily bolster their popularity ratings and frame themselves as down-to-earth Average Joes. With the unexpectedly long life span of Donald Trump’s candidacy, we need to think about how superficial our nation has become, to the point where those who entertain us the most are supported the most adamantly, whether or not they are qualified to lead our country. Without such reflection, we cannot be the much-needed voices of reason in this dire time when the media determines the fate of our country.
Donald Trump’s reputation and political enterprise are based entirely on his unfiltered persona. Media buzz has propelled his outrageous one-liners far ahead of his more qualified opponents. The fact that his candidacy is a joke is evident, even from his Twitter account. A reliable future politician is not one who posts publicly that Kristen Stewart is a “cheating dog” and that Robert Pattinson should not take her back. His lack of professionalism spills into the political spectrum. Consider the first Republican debate: instead of directly answering the questions posed by the moderators by tactfully breaking down our nation’s problems and explaining his plans for our country, he offered far-fetched, unrealistic solutions to critical issues. Although he says that his experience gives him a valuable advantage over other candidates, his political IQ and professionalism are low. Instead of targeting his opponents’ policies, he uses many ad-hominem attacks on the politicians themselves, including a particularly sharp insult targeting Rand Paul’s appearance. Unfortunately, this “formula” gives him the edge over other candidates and boosts his popularity among pollers, who praise him for his “boldness and honesty.” This so-called honesty is trumped only by his lack of compromise and political finesse.
The president needs to be well-versed in economic and social issues, while at the same time be able to recognize the needs and rights of all Americans. There needs to be an understanding between a person of power and the general population for a society to function properly. And that cannot be done by a powerful, stubborn, and ignorant businessman. His utter lack of understanding of the common people or the average politician makes him unlikely to, as a president, please either the public or the federal government.
A CNN article on Trump’s performance at the first Republican debate wrote, “the three-hour marathon debate here at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library seemed to test Trump’s stamina and willingness to engage in weighty policy discussions.” The media doesn’t seem to understand the damage Trump brings to political culture; the public votes for the candidate with the most appealing messages and the most media coverage, and voters are learning to directly ignore their genuine, and flawed, ideals and perspective on our domestic and foreign issues. It’s not that voters don’t realize Trump’s inadequacies. Rather, most people find his candidacy entertaining, and they have little to no knowledge of candidates who could lead our country to greatness. The media buzz surrounding Trump should provoke serious citizens to campaign harder for their respective candidates who they know will do a much better job than a foppish, failed businessman.
One of the cons of democracy and self-government is that it is heavily dependent on the public to make serious and intelligent choices. Because of this, we cannot be uninformed. Parodies and late night shows are entertaining, but they do not give us the proper perspective on a politician’s policy positions. We must be careful to research and judge our prospective leaders for who they are behind the curtains. Although Trump supporters remain a small portion of our society, they take an active part in politics and their glorious leader’s campaign, something that we, who obviously believe in bigger and brighter causes, should do as well. We should spend our time vetting serious presidential candidates instead of buying into the entertainment value of Donald Trump. We don’t need Trump to make America better; what we need are responsible voters and consumers of media who are able to discern the difference between honesty and insolence, between a great leader and a sure failure.