Faith Popcorn saw it coming. At the end of 2015, the Futurist with a 95% accuracy rate for predicting cultural Trends, forecasted the societal shifts that led to Donald Trump’s surprising win.

 

The following is the Popcorn Political Report, created by the Faith Popcorn BrainReserve team of Trend Strategists to help people better understand how we overlooked many of the realities about our society in the coverage leading up to the election. It also reveals how those Trends will continue to play out in 2017. Check out The Popcorn Political Report in infographic form here.

 

At the close of 2015, a year of hyperconnectivity and 24/7 global awareness, Faith spotted a number of emerging Trends that indicated 2016 would be an incredibly divisive and reactionary year, characterized by a climate of insularity, anxiety, and polarization. These five Trends, connected by fear and unease, ultimately led to the most vitriolic election in history:

 

  • The Arrival of Un-News: As social media replaced traditional media and gave rise to the fake news phenomenon, consumers reading filtered feeds were blind-sided by Trump’s win.
  • The Rise of Clanning: People surrounded themselves with those with similar beliefs and proudly labeled themselves Feel the Bern-ers and Alt Righters alike. As Trump made controversial remarks, this Trend intensified into Micro-Clanning, squads of friends separating themselves from those with divergent viewpoints. The rift deepened.
    • 7% of voters either lost or ended a friendship because of the Presidential race – Monmouth University
  • Digital Cocooning: We retreated into carefully curated online echo chambers that reinforced our beliefs and buffered us from anxiety. Facebook told us which of our friends supported Trump and we applauded or unfriended them. The Filter Bubble was no surprise to Faith.
    • In 2011, Google used 57 signals to tailor its search results for users; today, it’s over 200 – NY Magazine
  • FutureTense: Consumers, anxiety-ridden by simultaneous social, economic, political and ethical chaos, find themselves beyond their ability to cope with today or imagine tomorrow. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan resonated, and their anxiety drove them to vote Trump.
    • More than half of students visiting campus health clinics cite anxiety as a health concern – NY Times
  • Vigilante Consumer: Consumers manipulated the marketplace through pressure, protest and politics. Middle America’s middle class has been shifting from simmer to boil for years now – they are mad as hell and “Lock Her Up” and “Crooked Hillary” became rallying cries.
    • 2000 veterans joined the months-long pipeline protests at Standing Rock and re-routed the pipeline – NPR
    • World’s first virtual Hologram Protest in Spain in 2015 – CNN

 

So, how will these forces play out as we usher in a new administration and a new national mood? Here what awaits in 2017:

 

  • The Rise of Un-News triggers a counter-Trend: UnSpun. Distrust of media rides higher than ever as we seek the truth, and consumers clamor for stripped-down facts to form their own conclusions.
    • America’s trust in mass media at an all-time low and falling – Gallup
  • Clanning morphs into IRL Clanning. Wary of being phished, catfished, or otherwise hoodwinked online, friends meet to connect and share in person. Intimacy fights our digital isolation.
  • Digital Cocooning shifts to Deep Cocooning. We hunker and bunker down to feel safe, armed and protected in homes where cybersecurity, water and air are monitored and neighbors background-checked, literal echo-chambers. Unable to cope, we dig down into our curated communities.
    • 3.7M preppers stoking a multi-billion $ category – Yahoo Finance
    • Dark Days – people going off the social-media grid. Even the Kardashians are halting their presence
    • The Rising tide of “CalExit” calls for secession – CNN
    • Women huddle to protect their rights - Pantsuit Nation, the March on Washington
  • FutureTense transforms to EMOnomics. Emotion is the new currency - joyous, miserable, irate, awestruck, we just want to feel. As stress accelerates and divisiveness reigns, we want recognition.
    • Anger rooms - places where we pay to smash things and vent negative emotions – NY Times
    • Real Housewives, Orange Is The New Black and West World celebrate shocking sex and gore – Variety
    • Heavy and binge drinking rise sharply – Science Daily
    • Captain America: Civil War – top-grossing movie of the year about division among superheroes – IMDB
    • Kanye’s break with reality reveals the fine line between outspokenness and illness – Cosmopolitan
  • Vigilante Consumerism continues, but a new facet emerges: Hyper-angry shoppers find solace in Small-ing. Big is no longer trustworthy – local, handmade, crafted and nostalgic rise. One part Millennial Maker Culture, one part reactionarism – a harkening back to the “good old days.”