Facilitating Donald Trump: Populism, the Republican Party and Media Manipulation
This chapter addresses the question of how a man so psychologically flawed and unfit for high office as Donald Trump could be elected as President of the United States. The author points to three factors. The first was the transformation of the Republican Party from a centre-right party used to brokering policy solutions with the Democrats to a far-right insurgent outlier intent on imposing its will through manipulation and confrontation. The second involved the two-pronged revolution in communications since the 1980s as a result of the abandonment of the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ in 1987 and the emergence of the Internet. Third, these developments occurred in the context of the quite startling demographic and cultural changes: the non-white population is at an all-time high and traditional mores in sexual and social relations are being challenged as never before. The concomitant ascendancy of identity politics has set the scene for the assertion of white, nativist nationalism by those who felt abandoned by the Democrats; Trump was able to exploit these changes to appeal to this rising nativist sentiment, capture the nomination and eventually the presidency.
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