Kendra Shea, AmericaFirst.Digital
The decade of the infamous star blazed a path that has led to the bumbled, yet successful Trump campaign. The perfect political storm motivated millions to Make America Great Again, and helped a billionaire reality T.V. personality solidify his place in history, as our nation’s 45th president.
I blame Keeping up with the Kardashians for electing President Donald J. Trump.
Much like the millennial obsession with the first family of E! Television, America (both the right and the left) have a love/hate relationship with our new President. Someone who was famous for a corny catch phrase (“You’re fired”), flashy real estate and Penthouse talks with Howard Stern has become the leader of the free world, and we all watched, transfixed. Donald Trump is the Kim Kardashian to American Politics: put a camera on him and he will happily show you all of the assets that made him famous.
I can’t help but think back to his now infamous descent down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his presidential bid. I was in my parents’ kitchen eating a turkey sandwich, glued to the screen as he delivered his campaign slogan for the first time; Make America Great Again. I laughed out loud at the absurdity of his statements on Mexicans. How unusual to hear a Manhattanite make such disparaging and sweeping remarks about Latinos. How would he ever show his face in a neighborhood bodega again?
I was offended, and yet I didn’t turn the channel. It was the most entertaining moment in television history since Teresa Giudice flipped a dinner table. I chewed my turkey sandwich thoughtfully, and watched the whole debacle unfold.
I see that moment today with stunning HD clarity.
In the year that followed, I, like many other Americans, devoured all things Trump; from his early morning calls into weekday news shows to every single batshit tweet that flew from his fingers like missiles, destroying his competition 140 characters at a time. My friends and I drank wine and discussed his primary debate performances like we rehashed episodes of Survivor. We didn’t even flinch when he won the Republican nomination, because it was Donald Trump, for God’s sake.
I have a confession to make.
I am guilty of viewing the world through the reality television lens. It is hard to be under 55 these days and not have a show like Housewives of Atlanta or The Amazing Race included in your DVR line up. I enjoy watching the infamous and unknown carve out an entertainment career by selling their souls for lucrative pay and cashing in on their crazy. But like everything else, what version of reality television you subscribe to is subjective.
There is a sect of reality that is so far off my radar, it might as well be Chinese torture porn. Outside of the diverse casts of minorities, gays, and rich, white women with extensive plastic surgeries that I am spoon fed by Andy Cohen, is an alternate universe.
In that universe lives the average, everyday conservative American voter. He has been sitting on his living room couch, in Middle America, for the last eight years watching progressive Obama policies transform the world around him. So much so, that he barely recognizes his neighbors, nor can he identify with the country his father, and father’s father, fought for. He has been doing more than sipping his domestic light beer and watching Duck Dynasty. He has been trying to feed his family on stagnant wages and has watched as his friends lost manufacturing jobs to automation and outsourcing. He takes his children to church and teaches them to respect all people, no matter how different they may look or what God they pray to.
This average, everyday conservative American doesn’t have a starring role anywhere on my reality television show line up. When he does appear, it is in the form of a cautionary tale guest star, a caricature of sorts.
The media wants me to believe that this man is a white hood wearing, insult spewing, uneducated force that drove the Trump Train right into the White House. Because I have faith in the human spirit and the inherent good that lives inside of my fellow Americans, I reject this sweeping narrative of every Trump supporter.
Had I paid closer attention, I might have caught a glimpse of the average man at Trump rallies I watched on television. But even then, I watched through the lens of my own reality, and he was buried beneath the American flag fashion, red trucker hats and campaign rhetoric bravado that I relished mocking on Twitter.
The racist Trump supporter is a great liberal plot device, and even though those people do, in fact, exist, they are not the all-consuming reason that Trump is now our first Reality TV Star-in-Chief.
Complacency, arrogance, and self-grandiosity are the notorious, and almost always inevitable, downfalls of the infamous. And it cuts both ways, my friends.
On November 8, 2016, the nation tuned in to what we thought was the end of the Greatest Horror Show on Earth, and in true reality T.V. fashion, over half of America was blindsided like an oblivious Bachelor contestant. We were expecting the rose. Instead, a disillusioned and struggling Middle America crushed our liberal dreams in favor of a brash, sometimes offensive, narcissist blonde from NYC while on the dreaded two on one date. Liberals have been left standing in a swamp full of alligators and tears while Donald Trump and the GOP ride off into the sunset on an airboat to toast champagne over executive orders.
It really is all Chris Harrison’s fault.