Since this is my first post, let me start off by explaining the beauty of Google Trends. In my day to day work, I check Google Trends obsessively, to stay on top of which stories are striking a chord with America. Google Trends is a fabulous tool that breaks down the top stories in a variety of categories, including business, entertainment, health, science/tech, and sports. Google Trends arranges its stories based off of search interest and how many news articles are being written on the topic. As you tune into my blog, you will see me referencing Google Trends frequently. If you haven’t tested it out yourself, try it here!
Today, my favorite trending story of the day happened to also be the most dominant story of the day in Google Trends, on both the general channel and the entertainment channel. The winning story of the day circled around a magnificent Donald Trump Game of Thrones mashup that Huw Parkinson made for the Australian Broadcast Corporation’s Politics Show called Insiders. I highly suggest that you take 2:40 out of your day and watch it in all its glory here.
I have a love hate relationship with the Donald. On the one hand, I hate so many things that he represents. Greed, patriarchy, and misogynistic behavior are the top three items that come to mind, though there are many other traits of his that put a pit in my stomach. A proud feminist, I firmly believe that men like Donald Trump, fueled by a selfish need for dominance, are largely to blame for why women can’t be treated as seriously as we should be. Trump is most comfortable when he has all of the power, as seen in the submissive relationships that he’s had with all of his wives, especially his current wife Melania. Yes, you can point out Ivanka, his daughter, and say that the Donald has given her power within his business affairs. You could even point out Omarosa Manigault, a past Apprentice contestant, who has publicly praised Trump for his generosity towards her and supported his bid for the presidency, as seen in this interview. But, all arguments that I have heard that defend Trump can’t seem to explain away his self centered close minded perspective on the world. And that is the biggest issue that I have with him.
So that summarizes what I don’t like about the Donald. Now that I revisit that love hate relationship thing, I wouldn’t say that I love anything about him. But, I can respect certain things about him, primarily his strong business sense. Over the holidays, my family and I watched a CNN documentary about Donald Trump’s life. I was mesmerized at the sheer amount of projects that he has tried to put his name on. When it comes to ambition, the Donald never stops, and I think that there is something to be respected there. Watching that documentary, I learned that Donald Trump got into the real estate business through his father Fred Trump, who was a real estate icon in his own right. Throughout his entire life, the Donald has known how to utilize his resources efficiently to get to the next rung of success, and I can find inspiration in that. Does he take that too far sometimes? Yes, as stated above, I think he’s incredibly greedy. But, the root principle of maximizing what you have to enhance your next phase of life is valuable.
Being a pop culture fan, the thing that I appreciate most about the Donald is his “I don’t give a fuck what you think about me” attitude. The man has balls and isn’t afraid to be the brunt of everyone’s joke, especially if it gets him publicity. Throughout his time in the public eye, the Donald has made countless appearances that have left a comical imprint on popular culture. From his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to his memorable work alongside SNL great Darrell Hammond, Donald Trump has provided the American public with countless laughs, most of the time at his expense. But, he doesn’t care, as long as he is getting his name out there. Though he isn’t a politician, he understands the political nature of our society, and how to grab everyone’s attention. His comprehension of the American political system can be seen in this Oprah clip from 1988, where he first hints that he could consider running for President some day. At the time, I’m sure no one took him seriously. But, that clip foreshadowed what would actually happen 25 years later.
As seen throughout his entire circus of a campaign, the Donald LOVES shock value. Discussing his campaign with a friend recently, we concluded that if elected, he probably wouldn’t follow through with many of the wild things he’s suggested. His out there declarations could just be a part of a bigger plan to drive attention away from the other candidates. And so far, his plan seems to be working. Comparing him and Jeb Bush, Bush is the frightened mouse and Trump is the mighty lion. There is a reason why Trump is still in the race and Bush recently dropped out. But, is Donald Trump taking it too far?
Many believe that Donald Trump is a monster. When a presidential nominee promotes fascist ideologies and suggests that we build a wall to keep immigrants out of our country, people get fired up, in a bad way. I myself have been appalled by many of the plans that Donald Trump has suggested. But his shock value hamster wheel keeps on spinning, as he clutches on to the specific populations within our country that can resonate with his message. Often times, I have to remind myself that I grew up in liberal southern California. Whether I am approaching issues of race, sexual identity, or some other controversial topic, I have to remind myself that I grew up in a very open minded accepting environment. Many other people aren’t as fortunate. When I look at Trump supporters, I see people with completely different values from my own. But, they are still people, and I think Donald Trump is giving them a voice.
Additionally, Donald Trump is indirectly benefiting from the tension within the Democratic party. I know many people who aren’t content with Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton becoming President. That indecision sends an indirect benefit to Trump’s campaign, creating more potential voters that could vote for him, by default. Donald Trump has proven that he knows how to work the political machine, and I think many people don’t realize how dangerously close he is getting to the presidency. Though he started this race as a joke, the reality tv candidate has now truly become a reality TV politician for America, as stated in this well written NY Times article. We have gone so far down the rabbit hole with his campaign, we can’t just turn it off, like we would do when he became too over the top on the Apprentice. And that my friends, is kind of scary.
I don’t know what the next year will bring. There is still a long road to go within this presidential race, but I can say that though I’ve seen plenty of Trump’s opponents drop out, no one has said that Trump is slowing down. It’s a crazy world that we live in where a reality TV star can actually manipulate the system and have a shot at becoming President. But, I also live in the state where Arnold Schwarzenegger was once Governor. Many people have seen similarities between the two men and their respective campaigns, as highlighted in this CNBC article. So, I can see how Trump’s end goal isn’t impossible. Pop culture has fueled Donald Trump’s career. With his countless TV appearances and commercials, Trump weaseled his way into the center of American entertainment for decades, and now he is using that to his advantage. Only time will tell if he can run with that influence all the way to the White House. In the meantime, I hope the next year brings us many more humorous mashups and opportunities to poke fun at the man with the indomitable ego.