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Fantastic Mr President: The hyperrealities of Putin and Trump

Brock, Maria (2016) Fantastic Mr President: The hyperrealities of Putin and Trump. Euro Crisis in the Press (09 Sep 2016). Blog Entry.

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Abstract

In July 2016 – more than 15 years into his time in office – Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s approval rating was at 82%, a figure made all the more remarkable by the fact that the country is experiencing a palpable and lengthy economic downturn. Some commentators have favoured an explanation that treats this as proof that a larger-than-life president is more in line with ‘what Russians want’, as Putin “satisfied a yearning for a strong leader who could make the Russian family proud”. However, concretising a Russian ‘national desire’ is less than helpful if we seek to understand the reasons behind Putin’s continued popularity. Equating a historical past with an inherent propensity to follow strong-men is an exercise in oversimplification, as it treats nations and groups as essentially static, prone to repeat the same historical patterns over and over again. Similarly, a focus on the more overt parallels with the earlier ‘Cults of Personality’ neglects the fact that the underlying ‘conditions of possibility’ that produced the two phenomena are different. Such comparisons also fail to explain the appeal of similarly larger-than-life politicians in countries with a longer democratic tradition. Clearly, an emphasis on national psychological propensities is not productive. Instead, an analysis of the appeal of such leader figures that taps into less conscious mechanisms is worthwhile. By simultaneously looking at the phenomenon of Donald Trump’s remarkable rise, a number of parallels pertaining to the creation of their public personae become apparent. In fact, such an analysis can serve to illuminate overarching principles structuring the successful creation of their outsized public personae.

Item Type: Online resource (Blog Entry)
Official URL: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/eurocrisispress/
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author(s); Online
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Collections > LSE Euro Crisis in the Press Blog
Date Deposited: 18 May 2017 12:23
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2019 23:23
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/77650

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