The Reelection of Donald Trump

Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist, famously discussed something called collective effervescence. Durkheim argued that the universal religious dichotomy of sacrilegious and sacred results form the way in which we live of our lives. Unfortunately, most of us spend too many hours performing menial tasks. These tasks are, for lack of a better word, monotonous. The rare occasions on which the masses have a reason to congregate become sacred, and the high energy level associated with these events gets directed onto momentous events and people. Think religious gatherings, sporting events, or even Trump rallies.

To millions of Americans, President Trump is an outlier, an anomaly of sorts. His inflammatory Tweets and extemporaneous “speeches” are troubling, to say the very least. Trump, in the eyes of his detractors, is an atypical assemblage, an erratic unicorn “put together” by a disgruntled populace. To them, the septuagenarian is a jumped-up vulgarian with all the class of a seedy strip club.

To millions of others, however, Trump is a hero. His idiosyncrasies aren’t so much a departure from societal norms as they are a reflection of a new style of governance. In the age of performative politics, Trump is king.

His ability to speak in an “unfiltered” manner is as mind-boggling as it is unique. And in a perverse way, this is his strength.

For many of his supporters, Trump is a deity of sorts. He is a symbol of something that transcends the individual. Of course, one could argue that being POTUS automatically offers one a transcendent role. But with Trump it’s different. Durkheim used the word “force” to describe the object or individual that becomes the symbol of the group. For ancient and medieval people, collective effervescence — coming together as a group – was an evolutionary survival tool. There was strength in numbers; to turn your back on the group was to turn your back on existence.

 Read more at American Spectator

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