How did Trump happen? Historians, political theorists, and culture experts will study Trump for decades to come. A sad fact, since so many of us want to forget his existence as soon as possible. The reality is that we need to learn from Trump. Trump isn’t changing, but his base might — particularly the youth that voted for him.
Trump works via sensationalistic news headlines. Whether you think he’s a buffoon or a carefully crafted persona, he’s built a career with a larger-than-life, abrasive, bullying character. Nearly every day, a tweet or some embarrassing story comes out of the Trump White House. As consumers, we eat it up. He happened through celebrity worship and America’s increased need to sensationalize news.
It’s a trick that keeps media outlets afloat in the digital age, but it also opens the floodgates to fake news, which thrives on sensational headlines and gullible audiences consuming material in the echo chamber of social media. Trump, of course, did more than that. He preyed on the fears of rural Christian people who see a country changing rapidly without them. There was always going to be a swing back; it just happened to be with him. We have to recover from him, defeat him in the next election, and learn from this.