Do you remember when politics was about policy?

A year ago you had people like Bernie Sanders going around and talking about ideas and policies. Back then, Republican nominees argued about tax policy, immigration, and constitutional governance.

Those were different times.

When was the last time you heard any meaningful discussion of policy in the 2016 presidential election?

It didn’t happen at the debates. Those were about Trump vs. Clinton, not policy.

It doesn’t happen on television. They are arguing about Trump’s latest scandal.

It doesn’t happen in newspaper articles or blogs. They are tearing apart the latest thing Trump tweeted.

It doesn’t happen on Twitter. No substantial policy discussion happens on Twitter.

All those discussions are over and done. The election is 10 days away.

Policy is going to make an impact on your life, but not your vote.

This election isn’t about policy. It’s about one thing and one thing only.

It’s about Trump.

Go out and ask someone you know if there’s any issue more important in the election than Trump.

You’ll either have them say something about how we need to stop Trump or support Trump. Or, you might hear them make up a different reason out of cognitive dissonance.

You won’t hear them say anything about tax policy or the constitution because they really don’t care.

Talk to Democrats and they aren’t voting for Hillary as much as they are voting against Trump. They hate Trump and will tell you how much they hate Trump.

Talk to Republicans and of course they can’t stand Hillary, but they care more about Trump than they do Hillary.

In one faction of the GOP, you have the #NeverTrump group obsessed with stopping Trump, while still not voting for Hillary.

In another faction of the GOP, you have those who either like Trump, or pragmatically vote for him so that their team wins.

Still, talk to Republicans and you’ll quickly realize their vote hinges on Trump, not Hillary.

Talk to Independents and their vote hinges on their like or dislike of Trump. It’s not based on Hillary or any particular policy.

The point is, you don’t have to look far to see Trump is the entire topic of conversation in this election.

Trump is the single biggest and only issue in the 2016 election that matters now.

Even Hillary’s email scandals lose steam after a few days so people can go back to talking Trump.

Consider how unbelievable that is. Trump changed the entire conversation from policy and planning to one thing…

Trump.

Regardless of outcome, the 2016 presidential election should be remembered for one thing…

This is the single greatest personal branding campaign in modern history.

If someone told you a year or two ago that Trump was going go toe to toe with Hillary Clinton…

…without spending money…

…without having the support of the GOP establishment…

… and without any policies that anyone cared about…

…you’d call them crazy.

Yet here we are. Talking, thinking, and living in a world where Trump captured the attention of everyone. Every single pundit, journalist, politician, etc. wrote him off.

Every one of them was wrong.

They still write him off every day.

They will keep writing him off on TV, blogs, newsprint, etc. because they can’t stop talking about him. That’s the whole point.

Trump is the 2016 election.

How strange is that?

-Brian

P.S. I unpack more ideas in Creative Genius

Photo by Gage Skidmore