Exploring political terminology – why Trump will win in 2020

Disclaimer*

My prediction is that Trump will win a second term, and this is why:

Trump isn’t a Conservative or a Republican, the way those terms are commonly understood in politics, although he is of course most closely associated with the Republican Party. Trump is a … dualist. In his world, there are good people and bad people. Dualism transcends party boundaries, and can’t be associated with any political approach.

Trump is a “rewardist”. He believes people should be rewarded according to their level of goodness. Are there terms for “rewardment” and “rewardist” that I should know? Again, it’s more about philosophy/religion than it is politics. I relate it to Christian Reform theology, Presbyterianism, and Puritanism – strong influences in US history and philosophy. One version of Reform theology holds that one can read a person’s goodness by their prosperity in life. If someone is among the chosen, favored by God, God will reward their worldly ventures and they will prosper.

American Exceptionalism is the national version of “rewardism”. Rudyard Kipling named it “White man’s burden”, for the rest of the world as he famously transferred the torch from the British to the USAns.

(In the USA, the equations wealthy=good and poor=bad could be said to have become a cornerstone of post-Reagan political philosophy. Sadly, many have become convinced it is a core tenet of Christianity. The version of Christianity that holds that God explicitly prohibits humans from judging other human’s goodness is not given much of a voice in public discourse.)

Trump considers skin color a form of rewardism – and may even have a layer of inherent white=good and black=bad. Biological racism, a scientific theory that was a gruesomely displayed component of colonialism in the 15th-20th centuries, but was thoroughly debunked in in the latter part of the 20th century. Put it all together, and you get Trump, who is neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

The reason Trump will win again in 2020 is that he created a very sellable mix of the above components, which stir people’s sense of Right and Wrong, which have emotional power. Trump’s opponents have made all manner of policy attempts and bids for USAn’s emotional core, but haven’t generated the emotional potency of Trump’s mix. In large part, they themselves are motivated by dualism, rewardism, colonialism, American Exceptionalism, and racism. Attempts to expose these components, reframe the American project, tap into the power of people’s emotional Right/Wrong core, or shift the political project from emotion-based to policy/party-based have not succeeded.

It’s largely a failure of the Church, which hasn’t succeeded at separating church and politics, and has confused the Christian calling to goodness with the US’ national ambition in American exceptionalism (If the USA does it, it is good.”). The church’s failings have been compounded by the media, as the media jettisoned their Fourth Estate public education responsibility in favor of finding a financially viable mix of “edutainment”.

Trump is the best politician in the USA at tapping into USAn’s emotional core belief in Right/Wrong. He will win in 2020.

* Disclaimer: Although I live in the USA, I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat – I come from a mix of global political/cultural environments, I agree with aspects of Conservatism, Liberalism, and Progressivism and disagree with aspects of all. Mostly, my politics are driven by my values, and if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that God doesn’t favor the USA or any other country’s politics, and neither the Republican Party’s, the Democratic Party’s, or even my views!

3 thoughts on “Exploring political terminology – why Trump will win in 2020

  1. Trump is more blatant and cruder about things that are deeply embedded in American culture and politics. That “in the face” approach attracts strong emotional support from a large cohort, but not an American majority. It also turns off many who may themselves have elements of that but are also aware at some level of the deficiencies of rewardism and so rebel at the how blatant and crude Trump is about it. Biden is a good example of an American politician who embodies much of the same basic elements, but is able to put a gentler and kinder face on it and also articulate some other values that are at odds with it. The more subtle approach may attract more people, but we have to recognize that the similarities are much greater than the differences.

    1. Hi Bill,
      You raise some good style elements: in-your-face vs. gentler-and-kinder. But as you say, the similarities in ideals like American Exceptionalism are greater than the personality traits.

      Where is the candidate from any party who will appeal to other themes that have a visceral response? Being best or being favored are not the only things that can stir a human heart.

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