Anthropology of Social Media

What Will Donald Trump Do?

Well I’ve been following the spectacle of Donald Trump’s campaign with a mixture of fascination and horror, but the New York Post seems to have summed up a cognitive dissonance that I noticed amongst his following.

Basically, you get supporters who say: ‘Oh he doesn’t really mean what he’s saying. He’s only doing it to get attention and win the nomination. It just shows how great a media strategist he is.’

Then they say: ‘We love him because he says it like it is, he’s not a politician. He says what he truly thinks because he isn’t owned by anyone.’

And now the New York Post has endorsed him, and expressed these sentiments on paper.

Should he win the nomination, we expect Trump to pivot — not just on the issues, but in his manner.

A ‘pivot … on the issues’ means they expect this ‘plain talking entrepreneur’ to say something different. To change his mind.  They give some examples of his ‘rookie mistakes’:

pulling US troops out of Japan and South Korea — and pushing both countries to go nuclear to defend themselves — is not remotely a good idea.

“Build the Wall” is far too simplistic a policy for a nation of immigrants.

But this ignorant and misguided statements of the policies he intends to implement are OK, because:

In the general election, we’d expect Trump to stay true to his voters — while reaching out to those he hasn’t won yet.

So: apart from being a rookie (i.e. someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing), and being ‘amateurish, divisive – and downright coarse,’ he’s just been wrong on some of his basic arguments.

But that’s OK because he’ll just ‘pivot’ and say something else later.

You can’t have it both ways. Either he’s great guy who will ‘Make America Great’ because he says what he believes and has the guts to do it, or he’s someone who will say anything to get attention and cannot be held to his word.

The Boston Post did a great projection of what would happen if he were to be taken at his word. Imagine rounding up 11 million people ‘so fast your head will spin’ – this would require police action of a scale worthy of Stalin and it would happen without serious civil discontent.

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