From the scholars themselves…
In her book “Why Irrational Politics Appeals: Understanding the Allure of Trump,” Mari Fitzduff talks about the effects of emotional contagion, the phenomenon of having one person’s emotions and related behaviors directly trigger similar emotions and behaviors in other people, on political campaigns. She states that the effect of such emotional contagion “was obvious in the growing numbers attending Trump rallies, where the prevailing emotional atmosphere was often one of excitement, bonding, and hero worship.”
Elisabeth Anker, in her new novel “Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Feeling,” clearly states the way in which melodrama can evade its way into societies and disrupt their political agendas. She contends that there is a way, which she describes, in which to effectively employ melodrama in politics through victimization- she says “What I call melodramatic political discourse casts politics, policies, and practices of citizenship within a moral economy that identifies the nation-state as a virtuous and innocent victim of villainous action. It locates goodness in the suffering of the nation, evil in its antagonists, and heroism in sovereign acts of war and global control coded as expressions of virtue.”
Many citizens of America thought Trump would never stand a chance in the election, but according to Eric Hoffer in his 1951 novel “The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature Of Mass Movements” he was the true contestant. Hoffer stated that a leaders primary qualifications seem to be “audacity and a joy in defiance; an iron will; a fanatical conviction that he is in possession of the one and only truth; faith in his destiny and luck; a capacity for passionate hatred; the complete disregard of the opinions of others, the single handed defiance of the world…[and] some deliberate misrepresentation of facts.” This sounds oddly like our current president…so maybe history does repeat itself.
Melodrama in Trump’s team…
“Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion.”
Counsellor to the President
“But I’ll tell you,” Conway added. “If we were physiologically — not mentally, emotionally, professionally — equal to men, if we were physiologically as strong as men, rape would not exist. You would be able to defend yourself and fight him off.”
Chief of Staff
“Melting icebergs aren’t beheading Christians in the Middle East.”
“I would imagine that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.”
Can melodrama divide?
Here are two short videos posted by ITV News that show two opposing opinions on Mr. President Donald Trump. Paying close attention to the grievances and the rallying done in their respective videos there are many parallels to the quotes above by Hoffer, Anker, and Fitzduff. The melodramatic techniques employed by Mr. Trump are not just words to analyze, they are real. They incite a wide array of emotions in citizens all across our nation.