Once Upon a Time a Trump Was Just a Bad Smell

  • Elizabeth Pollitt


It’s 2016, Donald Trump has just become President-elect of the United States. The political direction underpinned by a resounding, and often Manichean, rejection of the ‘ruling elite’ in favour of what was presented as the will of the people, commonly known as populism (Kinnvall 2018; Norris, 2020).

Trump’s campaign was fuelled by vitriol and hyperbole, hooking its claws into enough Americans to mark a significant shift to the right (Kellner, 2017). The simple and sinister way Trump’s campaign triumphed was through taking advantage of ontological insecurities that are common in a postmodern world (Bauman and Donskis, 2016; Kinnvall, 2018) and presenting an alternative set of ‘truths’; rejecting the mainstream information channels and institutions that have traditionally presented what Lyotard (1979) would describe as ‘grand narratives’. Therefore, it’s no surprise that 2016 was the year that ‘post-truth’ was named the word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries (Flood, 2016; Kinnvall 2018).