Whether we like it or not, the Trumps are now the new American royalty. Donald, Melania and Co. join the ranks of some of the most distinguished names in the country’s history of influential families who have succeeded in crossing the boundaries of success both in business and politics. They possess all the qualities of a properly dynastic family; inconceivable wealth, an expansive property portfolio, compliant heirs and, now, immense political power.
Even when the presidency of their father finally (and hopefully quickly) ends, it undoubtedly will not be the last we hear of its various members.
America’s relationship with its own royalty is a strange one. On one hand we have one of the world’s first modern republics; a place where citizens fought valiantly to remove themselves from a European system of monarchy, arrogantly refusing to accept within their new nation ideals of aristocracy, class systems, nepotism, patriarchal inheritance or hereditary meritocracy…
And then on the other hand, we have the Rockefellers, the Kennedys, the Vanderbilts, the Rothschilds, the Hearsts, the Waltons, and now the Trumps. Go figure.
Donald Trump’s once-private and impenetrable inner circle of family, business partners and political allies are now, more than ever, under intense scrutiny as he continues the process of building his cabinet.
Although not legally permitted to appoint family members to official roles, it is almost certain they will still have the ear of the President when required. Attracting more attention within the circle than anyone recently is his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Kushner, a New York based real estate magnate, has been seen to be given unprecedented pre- and post-election access to his father in-law, even being given the ability to speak with senior Obama officials during the first meeting of the President-elect and the President-incumbent on the 11th of November. It really is an overt example of Trump adhering to a pretty quintessential trait of royalty of ‘keeping it in the family.’
As out of date and out of touch as they can seem in a modern world, there is certainly something to be said for the kind of patriotism and pride that a traditional royal family can stir within a nation. People instinctively look to their own history as a means of constructing a collective identity and royals are generally fantastic examples of very public keepers of that history. Despite the inevitable peaks and troughs of their individual popularity, as a whole, they come to embody an idyllic constant in the changing narrative of a nation.
But one thing that is unique about this American form of royalty is how it comes and goes with the times. Where more traditional examples of royalty see individuals ruling by divine right or physical supremacy, American royalty is elected and usually only lasts between four and eight years. Other contemporary monarchies battle constantly with questions of relevance and are forced to bend and move with the times. American royalty is a sign of the times.
So, given this, what do the Trumps exemplify for the American people for the remainder of 2016? What does this small, orange man instil within them that is so emotional and so stirring that they have elected him as their leader? It’s a question that has had the rest of the world scratching its head since the 8th of November and one that probably will have them scratching for the next four years.
But heaping blame solely on Trump for stirring up these appalling conservative sentiments is short-sighted. These sentiments, we can now see, have always been present. Trump was merely a vehicle for driving them through to political legitimacy. He cannot be seen as anything more than merely being at the right place, at the right time.
So the question now is not how do we deal with or get rid of this one man, but how do we deal with the 60+ million people that think this man is worthy of this proverbial crown. Rohan Stephens