Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2016 Presidential Election: Reality TV

The 2016 Election year has been an anomaly to say the least. It has confused all pundits. It has been labeled as a “revolution” or as the year of the “outsider” or “anti-establishment candidate”. I disagree with these labels because I truly believe this is a start of a new trend. In other words, 2020 will be no different than 2016. First of all, for this to be a “revolution” or anti-establishment” election, we must assume the electorate has some intellect and understands what it is doing. They do not. Statistics show a vast number of the electorate does not understand or follow politics. If this is the year of the anti-establishment candidate, then why do pundits predict that the Congressional House will have very few seats change hands?

This year has appealed to the masses and not for the right reasons. The 2016 election has appealed to the public for its negativity and vulgarity. It has also appealed to the public for its “Reality TV” appearance. People are going to the polls in droves not because they do not like the establishment, but because they are attracted to Reality TV or a political computer game. The reason for breaking turnout records in Iowa and New Hampshire is because the 2016 election is bringing out tons of first time voters. Voters who are often turned off by politics because it is dull and boring are now excited because politics is now just like watching Reality TV.

More and more Americans do not like watching factual based programs or conventional dramas or comedies. Some of the most popular shows on TV include Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, and the Bachelor. Shows such as American Ninja also do well. Popular dramas include shows about Zombies: The Walking Dead. MTV and CMT are loaded with one trash reality program after another. Each night about 20 million people will watch any one of the dozens of news programs, but even more will watch some mind numbing reality program. This is the new America!

Donald Trump, the Republicans leading candidate was once a Reality TV show host. He talks candidly, makes fun of others, and often blurts out obscenities. People are not drawn to his outsider appeal (He is not really an outsider, but a lobbyist at the other end of the table dealing with politicians), but his Reality TV appeal.

The Democrats leading candidate, Hilary Clinton, is a liar, cheater, and most likely a criminal (depending on how investigations go into her emails). Yet, people still like her. After all, lying, cheating, and criminal activity is not a bad thing, it happens all the time on the Reality TV.

Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, is also novel like Trump. Sanders is a true socialist. Sanders acts like a Reality TV or game show host offering free prizes to everyone. Other Republican candidates have been for the most part nasty and uncivil towards each other throwing around insults such as the “liar” claim. Americans are drawn to this nonsense. It is not because they are all the sudden interested in politics, it is because politics is no longer boring or predictable. No one can predict the next Trump gimmick or stunt and that appeals to many Reality TV show lovers.

Unfortunately, this is the new norm of politics. It is not a revolution or a short lived fad. It is what people crave and what they desire – Reality TV presidential elections. Obama started this trend by taking politics to the entertainment level by going on late night TV talk shows. The 2016 election is merely expanding on the entertainment trend – and many like it – especially the narcissistic younger generation and social media enthusiasts. Welcome to 21st Century politics.

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