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I bid 1-no-Trump

One of the classes I am teaching this semester is lovingly referred to as “Portfolio.” In Portfolio, seniors gather all the projects and papers they have completed over the course of their academic career at USF. They sift through everything, separating the chaff from the wheat and, in the end, each student will put together a tight 5-8 minute electronic/web presentation that they can use in their job search. Portfolio has proven to be a beneficial, if not painful, class for just about every student.

I am also trying to get these soon-to-be-workers-in-the-real-world to lift their eyes off of their iPhones to look at the larger world. Each class period, I hope to talk about an important issue. Last Tuesday, we discussed the top 2 presidential candidates in each political party. It surprised me to hear that, after a cursory peek at the 4 candidates, the conversation veered almost exclusively to Donald J. Trump. “Trump said this.” And “Trump did that.” Most of the portfolio students were thoroughly familiar with the ins and outs of Trumps more-famous pronouncements.

You are probably thinking that this shouldn’t have surprised me. After all, Trump- talk dominates both mainstream and alternative media. He is truly a master of manipulating the media. He gives a good sound-bite. Let me insert here a statement that I tell all of my classes concerning politics. I don't care who you vote for as long as you know why you are voting for that person.

And even though the portfolio students seem to intuitively understand that Trump is saying and doing things just to attract attention and voters, they still know more about him than any of the other candidates, including Hillary Clinton, combined.  To me, it’s a clear example of the awesome power of video. And I mean awesome as in fear inspiring, not awesome as in really cool.

Since elections began, name recognition has been a critical tool in a successful politician’s arsenal. The world is Trump's version of the friendly neighborhood bar where everybody knows his name. I ask you, if the United States presidential election were held today, who would win? Will this election boil down to a race where the most recognizable candidate will win, regardless of that politician's extremist views? If there was an emoji for ‘shuddering uncontrollably in fear’ I would insert it here.

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