USC prof. says Trump supporters are 'least educated segment of the population'
Professor Marty Kaplan of the University of Southern California published an op-ed in the Huffington Post called “The 7 Stages of Too Much Trump Media Disorder,” a parody of the five stages of grief that calls Trump an “extremist bully” and a fascist.
Kaplan defines his satirical disorder as a “self-fulfilling” cycle of media attention given to Donald Trump that sucks “the media oxygen from the room.”
“The more attention Trump got, the even more attention he got,” Kaplan explains.
Kaplan’s made-up disorder has 7 stages, which he calls: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, and acceptance.
When describing “shock,” the first stage of “Too Much Trump media disorder,” Kaplan likens Trump’s political views to fascism.
“This can’t be,” Kaplan writes. “This is what fascism looks like when it comes to America. Trump demonizes Mexicans and Muslims. He insults women, mocks the handicapped, jeers at journalists. He dismisses the Bill of Rights as a cover for political correctness. He’s obliterated the boundaries of civil discourse. He’s a narcissist, a nativist, a vulgarian, a demagogue.”
Later, when describing the third stage of “Too Much Trump” disorder,” Kaplan takes a shot at the intelligence of Trump’s supporters.
“Can’t you see?” Kaplan asks his readers. “His supporters are the least educated segment of the population, and he pulls their strings like a master puppeteer. He panders to the basest urges of his base. His crowds are seething with rage. He’s unleashed something scary.”
When describing “guilt,” the fifth stage of the disorder, Kaplan attributes Trump’s success to a lack of enthusiasm for alternative candidates on the part of American voters.
“We saw Bernie’s crowds, but we dismissed the power of his message. We made an extremist bully like Trump a plausible mainstream alternative,” Kaplan writes.
Finally, in the last stage of the disorder, Kaplan argues that a Trump presidency would be just as ineffectual as Obama’s has been.
“If he wins, he’ll be no more radically populist than, no less establishment-friendly as, Obama,” Kaplan writes.
Most of Kaplan’s readers agreed with his anti-Trump sentiments, some even calling for media outlets to “ban Trump.”
“Let a sports analyst, or game show host say anything even slightly racist, or bigoted, and they are fired immediately. Yet Trump is invited on every TV program imaginable,” one commenter argued.
Some compared his presidential bid to Hitler’s rise to power, a criticism often tossed around on the campaign trail.
“Trump’s play to get elected is almost a rerun of Hitler’s play in getting elected. Condemn immigrants and some religions,” another commenter wrote.
Kaplan’s op-ed was originally published as a column in the Jewish Journal.
“Having night terrors about a President Trump? Some self-help for you in my new column,” Kaplan tweeted on the day of its publication.
Kaplan teaches Entertainment, Media, and Society in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski