(photo credit: REUTERS/JOE RAEDLE/POOL)
The historic changes occurring in front of our eyes in the US presidential race are expressed not only by a female candidate running against a male opponent who until recently was considered the comic relief of the race – but will also manifest themselves after the race is over.
Donald Trump’s statements that he will not accept the results unless he wins and that the election is “rigged” should not be regarded as a fatal mistake which cost him votes. Instead, it is necessary to take these words seriously and see them as a well-planned scenario for the future.
Trump’s ominous declarations regarding his unwillingness to accept the results mark a deviation from a long historical tradition, according to which the loser accepts the legitimacy of the system and calls to congratulate the winner in the name of democracy and the unity of the nation. It is possible to understand why Trump’s statements shocked the elites and many of the race commentators, however, Trump’s words were chosen carefully and he meant what he said.
This is why he keeps enforcing the message in various rallies and online.
Despite the entertaining tone and playful rhetoric Trump used while answering the recurrent question of Mike Wallace in the third debate, saying “I will keep you in suspense,” his consistency on the matter indicates Trump does not plan to get off the political stage after the race, but wishes to maximize the power he has gained during it: to continue lead an opposition camp that is not based on electoral decision, but on the force emanating from his army of admirers, those masses fed by his words through his dominance in traditional and social media.
The American presidential race is not taking place in a vacuum. In the wider view, the US elections, like the “Arab Spring,” are part of a process in which the accessibility of social media to the masses is amplifying and facilitating their desire for extensive changes in the established power centers. But as demonstrated by the Arab Spring, this process has its downsides. There is an understanding today that alongside the promotion of democratic processes and ideals, the digital sphere can widen the involvement of dangerous and radical factors; breaking existing social constructs opens the door to chaos and hostile takeover attempts.
Unlike Clinton whose preparation for the role of presidency began in her youth, as a political and social activist taking the long route through the establishment, winning the prominent position of secretary of state in 2008 and breaking yet another glass ceiling as the first female presidential candidate for the democratic party, Trump grew outside the system as a private businessman, who focused on turning the fortune he inherited from his father to the benefit of himself and his family.
At the same time, he was gaining valuable experience in mass media as the producer and star of the reality show The Apprentice, which turned him into a popular icon who broke social conventions with the power of his tongue and his outstanding manipulative skills.
It is certainly possible that Trump, who is aware of his rhetorical power and the meaning of media exposure, will not rush to leave the public arena at the end of the election. It is not by chance that he has signaled the masses that if he is not elected there will be riots, and that the elections are rigged. It is possible that he is laying the foundation for future change, according to which the race for the leadership of the US will not end when the elections are over.
It is necessary to take into account the possibility that if Trump is not elected, he will continue to build his power and gain commercial capital as the advancer of a new-old kind of tyrannical leadership.The author is a gender and communication specialist, member of Supersonas for gender balance, Israel.