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Americans are experiencing difficult challenges during the US transition away from decades of relative primacy and prosperity. The fact is that globalization, technology, and waning unipolarity differentially impact people, with certain groups disproportionately disadvantaged. These individuals encounter diminishing likelihood of upward mobility and flagging social status. The situation and its consequences can be understood as a liminal condition in which individuals and groups transition to another identity. During this precarious time, people often embrace manipulative politicians, or tricksters, who theatricalize the circumstances, distort the real source of difficulties, and offer fixes that demonize others. Donald Trump now performs as the trickster clown with his misleading appeals and promises to individuals caught in a seemingly permanent trap of socio-economic deterioration. While some conservative scholars and politicians challenge his clownish behavior, a significant number of Americans mimic his attitude, embrace his mockery of established government, and rally to punish the blame-worthy.

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International Political Anthropology