Perhaps it is a twenty four hour news cycle that makes political campaigns look more like a rerun of the Kardashians, particularly those episodes where we though Bruce was still OK with being a dude.
Our infatuation with celebrities may explain the raise of The Trump. His thrashing of ‘fellow’ Republicans with greater alacrity than he reserves for the ‘opposing’ party appeals to the same crowd that enjoys wrestling and pundit panels resembling arguments at the dinner table.
The entertainment public does not like gray. They prefer their villains in black and their heroes in white. Real characters threading through the complexity of real problems with imperfect solutions is the stuff of art films that you have to go to New York to see.
If 23% of the Republicans like Trump that may only say that 23% of the Republicans are fools. That may be about the same for the general population, and probably less than the percent of Democrats that are fools.
But celebrity voters, especially independent and undecided voters are also very fickle. Few can even remember the name of last month’s bachelorette. Every candidate is one comment or one revelation away from being kicked off the island.
Few voters want to debate the nuances of economic policy and foreign affairs. It is much easier to inflate credentials and demonize opposition with insults. But in reality the smarts ones are not as smart as we hoped they would be and the stupid ones are not as dumb as we thought they were. Good leaders have to be able to communicate principles and policies effectively to people who do not care about principles and policies. Winning candidates have to assemble coalitions that will get 51% of the vote, with different priorities around a few common core issues. This process is called politics.