Dangers of Praising, Idolizing Politicians, Blurs, Obscures Truth

Bipartisanship becomes rare as politicians are worshipped

James Prince, Games & Ads Editor

In the United States, cult followings have sprung up around politicians like former President Donald Trump, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Senator Bernie Sanders. The acceleration of said followings has exploded over the last decade since the advent of social media. Political machines have capitalized on triggering content and the demand for defamatory clickbait videos to get new followers. This has sparked a rise in idolization of politicians. Although idolizing politicians has involved more people into the political process, it has caused a deterioration of American values such as bipartisanship. 

Trump has used his famous, and often controversial tweets, to amass his social media following. Many people, according to Politico, have followed Trump to just see what he says next. Though they may not agree with his opinions, he has capitalized on a captive audience who willingly soak up every statement, even if it is just for the dramatic content. 

I coin this dramatization of politics as “reality tv.” Shows of that nature and politicians alike, have created a political atmosphere where nothing seems real, and rather, it is for laughs and drama. You have the person you root for and the person you hate, and seems to be able . Despite this, the “reality tv” approach to politics does, in fact, have a major upside. Ale Perri ‘21 states, “I think politics has always been fairly dramatic. Key moments have often defined politicians even before our time. There’s probably something to be said for how the internet era has amplified that, and looking at the level of the presidential debates it’s clear something went wrong along the way, but that’s probably a natural, if somewhat unsavory, consequence of how people view politics and the high stakes of the competition.” It has brought many people into politics. Everyday people and social media influencers take this new version of politics to help expand awareness about causes. Sanders’ somewhat infamous floor speeches filled with accusations and carefully crafted punches, have garnered millions of views on YouTube and have sparked online debates. 

Although this “reality tv” politics has its upsides, it does have its drawbacks. Followers who idolize certain politicians have become rooted in their “leaders” every word, bipartisanship is almost a foreign word. Verbal altercations have become frequent in every setting from Thanksgiving dinners to sidewalks. However this clear deterioration of American values of bipartisanship has been sadly capitalized on by social media titans, like Turning Point USA and Ben Shapiro’s videos along with his outrageous and dramatic titles. Finally, Perri comments, “I’m not a fan. The point of politics in a democracy is accountability; we, as a citizenry, should demand more of our leaders all the time.”