Ever since businessman and television personality Donald Trump burst onto the Presidential Candidacy scene by declaring the need for a huge wall to be built to separate the United States and Mexico, his popularity has soared in a logic defying fashion. Who knew calling Mexicans criminal rapists, declaring a proposed ban on all Muslims entering the United States and delivering ill-informed, politically incorrect speeches could resonate so widely with the American voters?
Trump’s unique selling points seem to be his explicitly direct attacks on specific groups and his uncanny ability to absorb the resultant outrage, using backlash from everyone – including the media – to his advantage.
His latest comments, that there should be a “total and complete shut down of Muslims entering the US,” have been met with similar complete shock that have met his previous brainwaves. However, the resultant outrage amongst the general population and in the media is exactly what Trump is hoping for. He has in the past been described as a “master propagandist” and the evidence supports this view with potency.
By appealing to a large yet under-represented group of Americans who are disenfranchised and upset with the current political climate, Trump’s support is apparently indestructible. He can say anything and those supporters will continue to strongly have his back, whilst those who disagreed in the first place will continue to disagree – so he loses very little and his main supporter base remains, with significant coverage in the disapproving press to afford him further airtime for supporters to grow more vigilant in support of him.
Trump works the media by setting off an explosion of controversy which he knows the media will criticize and denounce – but they will cover him. So for the next week he will dominate the airwaves with the topic of his choosing all the while as his supporters see him as a truth teller, unbound by political correctness, getting in trouble because the establishment media and politicians do not want him to win.
It is an unusual tactic, but at the moment, it seems to be working in his favour. The question is how long his damaging rhetoric can continue to deceive certain voters into believing him to be the winning Presidential candidate, and how the media responds and presents his propaganda.