Why people still vote for Trump? (part of my essay)


I can’t focus on my work since Trump and Clinton is on the highlight. This is US, whatever happen there, will somehow affect our world… I wrote an essay for my Promotional Culture module last April 2016 to analyze how Trump mediated his campaign and here it is:


It is true that Trump does not need much of an infrastructure for professional marketing in his campaign. Trump being a controversial figure is one of the advantages for news coverage. Nevertheless, the Trump phenomenon has brought fear to Noam Chomsky, along with the breakdown of society during the neoliberal period. Chomsky notes that ‘people feel isolated, helpless, victim of powerful forces that they do not understand and cannot influence…. There was a sense of hope that is lacking now, in large part because of the growth of a militant labor movement and also the existence of political organizations outside the mainstream’ (Chomsky, N. 2016).

While the positivist scholar claimed the role political marketing or mediatization is to reshape the democracy, Chomsky believes the opposite to be true. Democracy simply persuades people to trust a certain party/individual to vote for them in an election, simply to be controlled by them. The power drifted to the business community, the specialized class, to analyze, execute, make decisions, and run things in political, economic, and ideological system. Then they are massification the policies, the propaganda with help from public relation. The art of democracy for Chomsky is the manufacture of consent where public relations work hard to instill the values (meaning political party and politician’s values) and it will works with help of media. In Chomsky words, “the people who are able to engineer consent are the ones who have the resources and the power to do it – the business community and that’s who you work for’ (Chomsky, N. 2002: 29).

However, if we put the citizen as the customer in case of Trump, we might want also to ask why people are still voting for him, given that he presents himself as racist and controversial. The citizen, as the audiences of the media that covered so much of Trump, is not a passive audience as they can decode the message that the media encoded. As Stuart Hall argues that we do not passively receive the meaning – we have to create it ourselves… processing the signs, sounds and images as meaningful text before the audience embrace or reject the message (Davis, H. 2004: 62) and how the audience processes the messages depends on their habitus, in Bourdieu’s terms, a process of active self-creation that influence by their social and cultural background, which is also reluctant to be played by the political actor as social upbringing can be restructured. Once the social is restructured, the individual might feel anxiety and bring to affection, although a critic of Bourdieu works may mention that Bourdieu blurs distinctions between cognition and affect (knowledge and feeling) (Wetherell, M. 2012: 106-107). Natalie Fenton, in a speech (18 March 2016) mentioned that politics is always involve passion, desire, antagonism, contestation and conflict and being political often operates under severe constraints that are multiple – time, money and cultural capital are unequally distributed. Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” seems like nostalgia, restructuring the notion that America needs “help” to bring back the glorious days of America in the days of old, touching the citizen and often playing with the politics of fear, frequently using the terms “terrorism” and “immigrant”.

Trump’s massification messages on the media, using Gramsci’s term of ‘common-sense,’ is seen when Trump’s idea become internalize by people and come to understand it as shared concerns (Davis, H. 2004: 65). People decode Trump’s words as it was intended, by voting for him, despite all his controversial statements, somehow accepting his so-called ‘facts’ as ‘truth’. People are being political by giving vote for him because they feel passionate, moved by Trump’s presentation.





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