Celebrification

Donald Trump’s rise demonstrates a truth first shown in the election and re-election of Barack Obama: Celebrification is here to stay in American politics. Voters don’t care as much about issues and qualifications as they used to. They want a celebrity who looks good (though with Trump this is debatable), can handle the press, and can banter with the Jimmys (Fallon and Kimmel).

I’d like to think that this is a passing phenomenon, and that “the people” (both Republican and Democrat) have more sense in our democracy, but the political success of unaccomplished people like Mr. Obama suggests otherwise. Still, I think Donald “ratings machine” Trump’s days may be numbered as the front runner in the Republican primaries.

I heard some of “The Donald’s” speech in Dallas last night. As always, it was short on substance and long on Trump himself. I believe this will wear thin on people–eventually. TV shows and movies die when people get tired of them, when they run out of creativity and just present the same ole, same ole. I predict (or is it hope?) that we are nearly at that point with Trump.

However, there is another possibility. When I hear Trump trashing all who have come before, saying he will fix things, and that America will start “winning again” (not because it will fulfill its ideals but solely because of his greatness), I start wondering if we have the beginnings of a cult of personality. If it has happened elsewhere, why couldn’t it happen here? We have apparently discarded substance for celebrity. Maybe Trump is less like Reagan and more like Mussolini.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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