The puzzling result of the Republican primary is still too fresh in the minds of many to analyze what happened. Jeb Bush said many times that Donald Trump would not be the nominee. Each time, I agreed with him. The time has come to take a step back and figure out what happened. I can sum it up in two words:
Truly, this was the first election in which a reality TV host ran for president. Most people never believed he would win. But some truly believed wholeheartedly that he would win — and that he should win. These weren’t the people who voted for him out of some innate fear of an old woman in pantsuits. No, these were the chest thumpers who were in for Donald Trump from the start.
Clearly, these are the same people who set their alarms on their phones and watches for their favorite shows over the past few years — Survivor! American Idol! America’s Got Talent! The Bachelor! And of course, The Apprentice! But it wasn’t just a matter of a desire to watch these programs because they were entertaining and fun; no, it was because the viewers had a fantasy of inserting themselves into the shows.
These were the people who dreamed about being stranded and struggling to be the last one standing on a bug infested island, where life or death arguments hovered over who knew how to find dry wood. These folks held imaginary microphones in their own hands as the singers on Idol screeched or crooned old favorites, depending on how late in the season it was. In their minds, they envisioned themselves moving on to the next level, tears running down their cheeks as they heard the hosts announce who didn’t make the cut, and they (substitute name of successful contestant here) didn’t hear themselves mentioned.
Oh and the women, young and old, who wished themselves into the giant flat plasma before their eyes when the more-handsome-than-life man chose his date and it was THEM! Each one, individually, wrapped in his long, muscular arms for that sappy soap opera kiss! The JOY of being CHOSEN!
And then, on The Apprentice, when Donald Trump would praise an up-and-comer, instead of yelling, “You’re Fired!” (Not “Your Fired!”, but “You’re Fired!”), they would swoon with pride at pleasing their TV bossman. It was because the employee was no longer the one who escaped banishment, but it was them! The Cult! The Reality TV Show Fantasizers!
I enjoy some reality shows myself, but I would never want to be on them. For one thing, they are far from real; we can truly call them #FAKETV since the people on the shows are well aware that they are being filmed anyway. I prefer shows like Hoarders, Strange Tales from the ER, and My 600 Pound Life. There is no way that I would ever want to insert myself into those shows, and I find the bizarre lives fascinating to watch, while I check my instant messages during commercials.
So how did people make one giant step for mankind from reality TV to real life? They continued to think of Donald Trump as their boss and they wanted to prove themselves worthy by voting for him; by talking about how great he is by saying how great he will make America. They tore down their own virtual walls between their big screens and the real world so they could fawn over his talk of building a real one… (maybe building one).
Of course, this is only a small fraction of Trump voters, but it is the Cult; the ones who will say YES! We are for Repeal and Replace of Obamacare if Trump is! But we are for keeping most of Obamacare if Trump is for that! Yes! We are for the Freedom of the First Amendment, like Trump! But…Yes! We are for kicking some of the press out of press conferences, because that what Trump wants to do! Yes! We do believe that the Main Stream Media is Fake because Trump says so! But we know Ted Cruz’s dad was with Lee Harvey Oswald because Trump read it in the National Enquirer, so it must be true!…and so on, ad nauseam.
So, the next time you turn on your television, and there is a reality show staring you in the face, and you feel the urge to pretend you are on the show, follow these simple instructions:
Pick up the remote control.
Resist the urge to put on Fox News
Turn off your TV
Go to the gym
The results will be far better. Believe me.