Republican nominee Donald Trump, in keeping with the new unorthodoxy, broke the rules at the GOP convention in Cleveland, flouting tradition by turning the political rites into a TV spectacle.
But The Donald, a Queens native and reality TV veteran, is not alone in challenging the rigid way things have been done in the past. He is adept at harnessing the new forces of social media that are transforming the world and has been among the first in the political area to recognize the near limitless power of the new technology.
There is also a revolution afoot in the West unleashed by cell phones, iPads and Facebook, but it might have happened anyway—albeit at a slower place—without the high-tech boost.
As Trump plastered the campaign trial with his rapid-fire tweets, House Democrats in Washington staged a sit-in to protest the Republicans’ refusal to bring gun control legislation to a vote. After receiving training sessions from Twitter on how to master social media, the Queens delegation hauled out their cell phones to alert constituents and the media to their protest. They and their colleagues defied the chamber’s protocol, to the dismay of the old guard Washington establishment.
In an ironic twist, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who dislikes social media and tried to ban Twitter in his country, went on Facebook Live to beat back the military coup that threatened to drive him from power. There was the president using an iPhone to keep his job.
Social media values instant reaction and a sense of familiarity that marks a departure from the more scripted communication of the past.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have been influenced by the new openness when she publicly criticized Trump and called him a “faker,” a headline-grabbing shocker since the justices are expected to steer clear of electoral politics.
Circumspect is no longer the case in buttoned-up England, where Boris Johnson—the top cheerleader for Brexit—was named foreign minister. He is the British version of Trump, known for his undiplomatic pronouncements and character assassinations. But then again he is American-born, so Britain can blame us in part for his gaffes.
Trump may be the standard bearer for a brave new world or just the first guy who exploited the 140-character tweet to savage his political opponents on a grand scale.
Stay tuned. This is one Trump show where we could all learn more about ourselves in Queens and the rest of the country.