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Confidence man

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Trump is heir to a long tradition of white-fantasy politics (as seen in the nineteenth-century Know Nothing party), hucksterism (as seen in the birth of the American advertising industry), and general confidence trickery (as evoked in Melville's The Confidence-Man). Trump's skills are those of a self-promoter and he is a posterboy for branding. In this he is in tune with the zeitgeist. His business is his brand, and his main work, including as president, is to generate coverage for, and maintain the value of, his brand. Data mining and mass individual self-promotion on social media are the basis for the attention economy, in which data, not content, is the main asset, so that arguments about truth themselves create more data. All is grist to Trump's mill. For Trump, politics itself is a con-trick, a sleight of hand through which he is able to generate even more value for his business while simultaneously creating the conditions for the dominance of business interests more widely.
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Keywords: ADVERTISING INDUSTRY; ATTENTION ECONOMY; BRANDING; CONMEN; DATA MINING; HERMAN MELVILLE; HUCKSTERS; KNOW NOTHINGS; THE CONFIDENCE-MAN; THE HOPE ECONOMY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 15, 2017

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