Did memes and hashtags caused Trump presidency ?

Discussion in 'Political Science' started by VotreAltesse, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. VotreAltesse

    VotreAltesse Well-Known Member Past Donor

    Mar 1, 2017
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    I red an interesting book of Neil Postman called "Entertaining ourselves to death" that explored the evolution of political and religious life related to the evolution of medias. The books was published in the 80's when television was the dominant media.
    He basically explain that a dominant media create a type of mindset, that has deep concrete consequences on different aspect of life, in that case political life as a dominant media forge a specific of mindset.
    He explore the evolution of the american intellectual life, that went from the domination of books under the founding father to the domination of television.
    As television become more dominant, that is dominated by entertainment, political life became itself a show, and politican became more actors, sometimes literally.

    That you hate, love or have any other kind of appreciation of Trump, you can't deny that he incarnated a new kind of communication based on outrage. I suppose simply that is communication was better adapted to a communication based on memes and hashtags, it explains also how he managed to win despite having most medias against him.

    It's furthermore interesting to notice that anger is one of the emotion that navigate the best in social networks :

    Furthermore, more and more political movements are based on hashtags, metoo and blacklivesmatter are hashtags.

    I suppose we should except that political life would be more and more based on memes, hashtags, and anger, whatever is the political side, until the next revolution in medias.
  2. jhil2020

    jhil2020 Well-Known Member

    Oct 12, 2020
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    Interesting here is that with particular regard to one's identity, perceptions of devaluation in elite discourse, when they cause not just fear, but anger in high-identifying identity-group members, have the effect of prompting unconventional forms of political engagement. Essentially, when people feel like their racial or ethnic identity is being attacked by elites in-govt. or otherwise, they are prone to endorse community nationalism and race- or ethnicity-specific forms of activism (which is not about bringing more people into the movement - its about forceful tones and demands over compromises).
    The social media ecosphere is largely dominated by young affluent folks. What this means is that the social media ecosphere is dominated by those who tend not to engage in conventional forms of political participation. They have low external efficacy (they don't feel that they have a say regarding what government does) but high internal efficacy (they believe they have the requisite capability to engage with politics). "If only someone would listen to me!", they might say (while not making the effort to vote in elections).

    In sum, the confluence of identity politics, feelings of low efficacy, enticing political theater and fear of identity-based persecution have created the emergence of activistic digital engagement. But these are not political movements by my view. For example, BLM is polling around 50% in aggregate (high among Dem voters, low among Rep voters). Does social media inform the same judgements about the group's approval? I don't think so; it seems like it's much higher, and this is because the social media ecosphere is a biased sample from which we can draw conclusions about the direction of political winds.
  3. Chrizton

    Chrizton Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2020
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    Trump won for the same reason that Obama won for the same reason Bernie and AOC have been thorns in the side of the establishment. Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with Business As Usual and a great many are looking for outré candidates.

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