The election of Donald Trump is still baffling to many of us, to this day. How could an obvious con man get elected to the highest office in the land? How could so many people still support him after watching him speak or learning of his countless controversies? The answer to this question is not simple. Some of it was due to low voter turn out. Some was due to people being sick of politicians. They wanted to go with an outsider. Some considered him to be a great businessman (despite his many failed businesses, etc.), and some actually like the hate-filled rhetoric that he was spewing at his rallies. Of course, there was the Russian infiltration as well. Was there more than that, even? According to author Gary Lachman, there was.
In Lachman’s book “Dark Star Rising-Magick and Power in the Age of Trump”, he theorizes that the Alt-Right used site like 4 Chan and Reddit to spread propaganda in the form of memes. They used this propaganda that was target toward young, white men to steer them towards right wing causes and Donald Trump. We have now seen what Russia did on Facebook and Twitter to spread misinformation to tilt the election in the favor of Trump, but not many people realize how potent this “meme magic” was. Most people scoff at the Alt-Right as being a bunch of mis-informed, young white men, and it may be by-and-large. However at it’s core, there are some people that are educated and understand the power of propaganda.
Meme’s are a powerful way to stir up emotions, without even needing much thought or content. Place an anger-inducing image with a short slogan, and it causes emotions to be triggered. The information on the meme doesn’t have to be accurate (and often isn’t), but it will have the desired effect on the viewer. In a sense, the will of the viewer is focused in a certain direction by the meme and a certain outcome can be the end result of this. Many young men were steered toward voting for Trump that probably wouldn’t have even bothered to vote in the election at all. It may have very well been the straw that broke the camel’s back. ]
The internet has given us a gateway to unlimited amounts of information that used to take time and effort to obtain. In this, the internet is a powerful tool for good. The other side to this, however, is that it has also provided an extremely powerful tool for propagandists and for spreading misinformation. Like esoteric symbols have an effect on the viewer regardless of whether or not the viewer understands what they are looking at, memes have an effect on our subconscious, whether the information they contain is true or not. Herein lies their power of the memes and their chaos magic. The end result of this magic was the election of the most unpopular president in the history of our country. For more information on this topic, check out the linked articles below.
Here is an example of meme magic that the Alt-Right uses for propaganda. Here we see a whole cast and crew of right wing, conservative personalities. The word “Deplorable” has been co-opted and converted into a badge of honor. The faces of Trump and his cohorts have been added to the bodies of super heroes, thus transforming their humanness into something superhuman. The people in this image are made to appear cool, powerful, and fierce, and front and center is Donald Trump as the leader.