Everybody is talking about Donald J Trump nowadays. And more the media is trying to create a demon out of the man before the people, the more he is getting what's needed the most ahead of the next year's presidential polls: publicity.
The Trump phenomenon resembles the fierce battle that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with the mainstream media in India which reached its climax ahead of and during the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
Trump vs ‘liberal' media
The run-up to the 2016 US presidential election is increasingly becoming a Trump versus media bout. The media in the US have emerged as a force that sets the agenda in public life and its clashes with the conservative political camp of the country have been a prominent feature over decades. From Eisenhower to Nixon, a number of former presidents of the US have seen the ugly face of the media.
Decades since those battles, US politics today sees yet another fierce contest taking shape between Republican Trump and the same media with far-reaching political power. This fight has had consequences on both sides. While the media had its moment after Watergate, the conservatives' counter-attack on it has also left the its objectivity tainted.
‘Liberal' media is a conservative force today
Today, the media is seen no less a conservative force that targets the conservative forces, which means there are ample scopes for the latter to level the scores in key political tests like elections.
Donald Trump is just doing that smartly.
Like the section of the ‘liberal' Indian media which did its best to stop Modi in the general elections by repeatedly raking up memories of the 2002 Gujarat riots and even backed left-of-the-centre forces despite them being completely discredited, the US media is also attacking Trump over its words that apparently sound crazy.
There is a method in Trump's ‘madness'
And therein lies the method in Trump's ‘madness'. Trump has attacked the very core ideology of the media, which is to present itself as a moral authority and approve the standards of political correctness.
And just like it was in case of Modi, the media is intensifying its attack on Trump on things he said against Muslims, Mexicans and what not, which are ultimately strengthening his position.
More the media attacks Trump, more he gains
The more the media uses words like ‘bigot', ‘racist', ‘sexist' or ‘xenophobe' against Trump, the more the Republican camp find itself standing united behind the man.
For the Democrats (just like it was in the case of the Indian National Congress), this counter-productive strategy of the media adding on to its anti-incumbency challenge could be decisive.
Rise of ‘nationalist' Trump is a logical conclusion in today's US
Whether Trump will be the next US president is for time to tell but he has certainly set a pattern in American politics.
Here we see a man who is a nationalist and emphasises on limited intervention abroad, something which is a logical path for the Americans to follow after years of mediocre performance by the policy makers.
Scenario similar to what it was in India on eve of LS polls 2014
Just like it was in India on the eve of the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the common Americans are fed up with the establishment's political correctness and looking for a fresh beginning somewhere.
Trump has been using varying tools to score populist points, like for example drama, but apart from the politically correct liberals and the ‘moral' media, he has also found his share of supporters. The reason is that the man has found a connection with the base where perceptions are vastly different from those at the top.
The common man knows how things are changing around him in one life time; he perceives socio-political (terror) and economic (joblessness) threats but feels disappointed to hear the ‘liberal' politicians and media taking those issues substantially. Hence, his hope banks on Trump.