Does Donald Trump Represent a Change in the US, or Did He Just Aggregate Voters Who Have Always Existed?

I loved this typically insightful article from Ben Thompson today on how the internet has enabled Donald Trump. A key quote:

Remember, in a Facebook world, information suppliers are modularized and commoditized as most people get their news from their feed. This has two implications:

  • All news sources are competing on an equal footing; those controlled or bought by a party are not inherently privileged
  • The likelihood any particular message will “break out” is based not on who is propagating said message but on how many users are receptive to hearing it. The power has shifted from the supply side to the demand side

In Thompson’s estimation, Donald Trump has succeeded despite the Republican Party’s opposition because the Party can no longer serve as the gatekeepers determining which candidate gets attention.

His argument is compelling and, if true, it’s not irrational to conclude that the forces that have given rise to Donald Trump (and the insane, sexist, I-don’t-even-know-how-to-describe-him newly-elected Chairman of the Travis County)—forces that are causing clear-thinking liberals and conservatives all over the United States to wonder what the hell has happened to their country—are not actually new at all. They’re just newly-aggregated.

Scary thought.

Go read Ben Thompson’s full article here.