This felt like quite an epiphany when I thought of it several days ago — scale falling from my eyes and all that — but then I immediately realized it was perfectly obvious, and not in the least profound, so I didn’t post it.
But I did put it on Twitter yesterday, and received a little reinforcement there and on Facebook, so I’ll go ahead and share it:
I finally realized why Trump has been winning, and why I didn’t foresee it: There are a lot of Americans who, unlike me, LIKE reality TV…
— Brad Warthen (@BradWarthen) May 26, 2016
I kept wondering why the problems with Trump — the fact that he must not ever be considered for even a split second to hold the highest office in the land — are not painfully obvious to everyone. What’s the cognitive barrier?
That question, and my puzzlement, had a certain flavor, and suddenly I recognized it. It’s the same confusion I have when I wonder why on Earth anyone can tolerate Reality TV.
I hated it from the first moment or two (and that’s all I could bear) I saw of MTV’s “The Real World.” All that false drama concocted and acted out with all seriousness by excruciatingly uninteresting, self-involved people. It seemed deliberately devised to make us all want to hurl.
And yet people watched it. And I still don’t get that, either…