Trump, trust, Twitter and the media

Being one of the thousands of South African Jewish doctors who protested by emigrating during the worst years of apartheid, I have many colleagues who went to the United States. Wishing to remain ‘British’, and preferring the climate, I chose Australia.

My American colleagues were horrified when I predicted Trump’s victory in 2016. I was accused of being pro-Trump — and worse.

Not being a US citizen, my view of the 2016 election was academic, dispassionate and disinterested. That was due to my mid-life academic studies in Politics and Philosophy.

Forecasting Trump’s victory was based on my appreciation of one fact, and one only: Americans had lost trust in all politicians. Trump would win because he was the only non-politician in the field. He would, by default, not by virtue, become POTUS.

Trump, distrusting the news media, adopted a campaign through Twitter, a medium that had been polished by his predecessor. On Twitter, his message would be delivered, unfiltered, unalloyed and unpolished, directly to the more than 80 million people who followed his account. The bumbling and the slip-ups convinced the Twitterati that this was genuine Trump. They became devoted followers.

Despite the allegations of Trump’s narcissistic personality and mental disorder, close to 80 million voters trusted him in 2016 and again in 2020. It can hardly be alleged that so many Americans are narcissistic or mentally disordered.

Many Israelis trust Bibi, another larger-than-life personality who makes his own waves, communicating — unfiltered through often antagonistic media — directly with his electorate, establishing trust. Bibi will go down in history as having said, to the entire world, on 30th April 2018, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh!” The 2020 assassination of that Iranian nuclear scientist reinforces the reasons why Israelis trust Bibi to ensure their safety.

Like so many Americans who find that In God We Trust has a hollow ring, the many secular Israelis no longer look to the future with Baruch HaShem on their lips.

About the Author
Retired medical practitioner, Dr Peter Chester Arnold OAM, fled 1960s apartheid South Africa for Australia. He has since graduated in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and has been a professional editor for more than 30 years on politics, sociology, medicine, history and Holocaust studies.
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