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How Donald Trump could win again

How Donald Trump could win again


Forget policies and plans, just delight them in a tale. One that begins with hate and ends with revenge. A revenge in which they can participate. Economist Andres Miguel Rondn, 2017.

Donald Trump is likely to win the Republican party’s nomination for president in 2024. Even under impeachment, his popularity among many Republicans and MAGA supporters remains intact. With that unwavering support, he could become president of the United States again.


Trump and his political team have created a political image based on a narrative that makes him hard to beat. I call it the survivalist framework. It is based on anger and fear, but offers a path to power for Americans who feel marginalized.

Trump was thrown into their minds as a hero, now unjustly persecuted by the criminal justice system, which knows the truth. They perceive a weakness in society and its inability to work for them.

Clear the swamp

In 2016, Trump took the stage heavily sporting a red cap (an endearing symbol for everyone), promising a new realm in which he and his supporters have agency, aided by the call and response of Drain the Swamp and make America great again.

Its political image was technically constructed through the lens of a camera and social media (Truth Social and before that, Twitter), but its main strength is a culture ready to accept a revolutionary message.

No imagery can flourish without a fertile cultural ground, including an energized group ready to receive and shape it. Trump recognizes this narrative and is able to embrace it.

As American public policy professor David Gergen noted in 2016, Trump’s political success hinges on his emotional appeal. In politics, Gergen writes, emotions matter as much as math.

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop in Arizona in 2016. (AP Photo/Matt York) Marginalized people as heroes

In popular culture, the United States is replete with similar narratives that portray the marginalized as heroes and public officials and institutions as corrupt and incompetent.

In this environment, the activation of a political framework may be closer to the experience of a successful first date, an instinctive and immediate love at first sight, rather than any rational measure of a political campaign. .

A frame rests on the stories we tell ourselves and is pulled to the surface by words, images or sounds that remind us of an immediate, unconscious neurological reaction.

Trump knows that when it comes to political appeal, emotions rule and that a political framework must be underpinned by a deeper cultural narrative.

The mainstream movies, video games, and graphic novels help build and sustain the survivalist narrative through powerful art.

Examples like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones support this narrative, as they all feature protagonists struggling against world-changing political upheaval and overcoming it with a survivalist response. They defy the environment and retaliate with murderous violence fueled by revenge.

Even superheroes have gone from supporters of the government (the rule of law) to survivalists. A powerful example is Frank Millers Batman which portrays the superhero as a brutal vigilante who openly challenges state authority and offers examples of victor’s justice by maiming and even murdering his opponents.

The antihero is also now the norm, rather than the exception, in popular comics.

The government as an enemy

Art makes culture and culture often makes politics.

In the art world as in the real world, the survivalist narrative is robust but vague. The government is the enemy, but it’s thrown into dark conspiracies with some kind of elusive evil working behind the scenes.

The framework has many entry points and can support many people’s narratives that they just need to feel like outsiders who think their abilities and values ​​are underestimated, combined with the idea that the political system is seemingly callous, corrupt, and unwilling to protect them.

In this environment, the ground is ripe for a strong leader to rise up and take power. Trump’s strongman/underdog position makes sense in this world and, for many in the GOP, is deeply desired.

Read more: Trump’s inauguration ushers in 2017, the year of the strongman

Our imaginations are complex and stories intertwine in many ways, a phenomenon that cannot easily be captured by empirical methods. That’s why Trump’s support is often hard to detect in traditional polls.

Trump wins in 2024?

The Trump team so deftly carved out one aspect of the survivalist trope that it led to unexpected political success in 2016, which can certainly be transferred to 2024.

For what? Once a leader’s image has been incorporated into a compelling narrative, he is on his way to becoming a legend. And living legends are immune to a number of political criticisms and hard to defeat in an election.

If Trump’s political opponents don’t understand his cultural appeal, they won’t be able to counter him.

The shrewd presentation of his survivalist framework by past presidents could propel him to a second term in the White House. Whether portrayed as a hero or a villain, Trump has his own superpower.




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