By Evan Juliano
Whether you like him or not, it is undeniable that Donald Trump is an entertainer. Whatever Trump says, people will listen to, regardless of how politically incorrect or just plain wrong Mr. Trump may be. Granted, not all people agree with much of what Trump has to say. However, even among those who firmly disagree with the viewpoints of Donald Trump, it is very hard for Americans to avoid coming across Trump in the newspaper, on reality television, or via numerous other outlets. Because Donald Trump is such a mainstream public figure, nearly everything he does or says is broadcasted to the entire world. Within the past few months, after decades of speculation, Donald Trump decided that he is going to run for President of the United States. Some view this as epic and worthwhile, while others are nauseated by the thought of Trump occupying the White House. But, due to historically low levels of political efficacy among Americans, whether or not you agree with Trump’s viewpoints; he is serving a key purpose in American politics and history. He is drawing more attention to the ever important primary process.
As stated in the Preamble of the United States Constitution, it is the government’s job “To form a more perfect Union,” to “establish justice,” to “insure domestic tranquility,” to “promote the general welfare,” and to “secure the blessings of liberty.” Clearly, the government plays an incredibly large role in everything that every American does. But, regardless of how relevant the government is to U.S. citizens, in the past eight primaries, according to an ABC News/Washington Post survey and, no more than 75 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents watched the primaries “very closely” or “somewhat closely.” With low levels of political efficacy and low voter turnout numbers, our participatory democracy does not work as it should. However, in this primary, 82 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents stated that they were watching “very closely” or “somewhat closely.” This is due to the fact that this isn’t just any old election—Trump has brought a spark to an otherwise standard and downright boring political process that is actually very important. Americans are absolutely not as politically efficacious as they should be. But, due to Trump’s unique campaign style, he is “getting at the emotions of voters”—whether they adore him or despise him—and as a result, more people are paying attention to the ever-important primary process. We should be thankful for that, because elections matter, and our votes matter, too. If we don’t participate in the political process, our participatory democracy will function improperly, and we’ll be the ones to suffer from it.
Evan Juliano is a graduate of PMHS in 2013, and currently a junior at Providence College