It’s an understandable reaction. You take something that is supposed to be the epitome of the people’s deliberation – our republic, representative democracy – and you take that deliberative moment away from the people, you allow the republic to be captured by monied powers, and the process of choosing representatives becomes manifestly fake. So people treat it like it’s fake, without seriousness, without deliberation. They know it’s a lie.
So, sure, if a candidate also treats it unseriously, like he too is in on the joke, like it’s just a reality show, the political version of the Kardashians or Ice Road Truckers — why wouldn’t he be popular?
It’s insulting to be told you have to be responsible and serious, because this is the moment where you have power over your own future, but really you don’t, really it’s a swindle, a ripoff, and an obvious one — it’s even more insulting that they think you’ll believe the con. So if the candidate can perform your anger, can even appear to bear your anger into the heart of the swindle itself — that’s even better.
It’s the most cynical act in the world, but the conditions for that cynicism have been a generation in the making. We’ve all had to eat shit for a long time. The Donald sows what we have already reaped.