Ever noticed how the list of weird phobias keeps growing every year? No? Congrats! You have a life. But in case you were interested, here are some we prepared earlier: euphobia (fear of hearing good news), Americophobia (fear of American people and culture), politicophobia (fear of politics) and panophobia (fear of EVERYTHING). Another phobia that should be added to the list: Trumphobia. The anxiety levels of millions of Americans have increased in direct proportion to the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency and this anxiety is echoed in many people around the world as well as in news outlets, social media and even horror movies. But despite all of this, Donald Trump is now the presumptive nominee and the question everyone is asking is WHY?
One word: scaremongering. Now Trump is hardly the first politician to exploit people’s fears for personal gain, but he is perhaps the most unorthodox and the most underestimated. His outrageous solutions to the country’s problems provoke ridicule and fear, but they have also ensured considerable electoral success. Perhaps one reason for the ridicule, and the success, is that his campaign is in particularly stark contrast with Barack Obama’s “politics of hope” presidency, and the election of London’s first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan. Fear has a legitimate place in political discussions (think Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino) but using these instances to impose control or persuade voters to support rash policies is a risky road to follow.
If Hillary Clinton is playing the woman card then Trump is playing the fear card – fear of terrorists posing as refugees, fear of immigrants stealing jobs, fear of China derailing the economy, fear of Clinton abolishing guns, fear of the other and fear of the unknown. And Trump sells himself as the only one capable of making great deals, closing the borders, printing more money for everyone, ensuring a gun in every classroom and making everything better for every white American. Running a brand based on fear is powerfully effective because it is emotional, but for the same reason it is also manipulative. The answer is for voters to learn how to recognize the difference between information and alarmist propaganda, and to make up their own minds rather than taking ignorant statements at face value.
Feeling anxious and don’t know how to overcome your fears? Movie for your mood: The King’s Speech