Once upon a dream, America's presidential elections were won by knocking on doors and delivering powerful town hall oratories – but come on, this is 2016. Nowadays, most political battles are fought and won by anonymous keyboard warriors who're willing to stoop to just about any level in order to get one over on the competition.

That's why it was only going to be a matter of time before Donald Trump tried to harness the power of Reddit and reshape it into some sort of digital WMD.

For those unfamiliar with Reddit, it's basically just an up-vote forum that enables users to create various like-minded communities and launch meaningful discussions. Although the site has gained a lot of traction as a fantastic place to share harmless cooking advice and travel experiences, Reddit is also a place where ardent freedom of expression flirts dangerously close with disgusting hate speech.

It goes without saying Trump has earned himself quite the following there – and so on Wednesday night, the GOP nominee decided to treat his Reddit supporters to a candid "Ask Me Anything" session hosted by the immensely popular r/The_Donald subreddit community.

Bearing in mind this particular group is composed of 180,000 hard core fans that despise political correctness and lovingly refer to Trump as their "God Emperor", the potential for calamity here was huge. Yet against all odds, the whole thing turned out to be a completely boring exercise in meaningless, political masturbation.

Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016Getty Images

Users wasted no time in flooding the forum with thousands of questions – ranging from what role NASA should play in making America great again and how fast Americans should drive their cars, to advice on how to convince token black friends they should vote Republican.

But as always, Trump did his absolute damnedest to ignore all of the tricky questions. Instead, he just went for a few of the ones that could be answered by cutting and pasting 300 characters off his campaign website.

When quizzed about the specifics of his immigration plan for America, Trump shrewdly fired back: "My plan is the exact opposite of Crooked Hillary Clinton." When asked what he would do to bolster America's space programme, he simply exclaimed: "I think NASA is wonderful!"

And when asked how his policies might appeal to disenfranchised Bernie Sanders supporters, Trump just reeled off his usual shtick about how Hillary Clinton is a horrible person for backing the US military intervention in Libya. Another user pressed Trump on why voters should choose him over a third party candidate like Libertarian Gary Johnson. But The Donald simply ignored any and all mention of a third party candidate by going on a generic rant about why he thinks he's smarter than Hillary Clinton.

The whole thing was a complete and utter farce. Trump blatantly refused to give a meaningful answer to one, single question. He couldn't even give a straight answer when somebody asked him who his favourite US president was. Trump named four. When asked about the single greatest issue facing America, he named three.

But then again, let's give credit where credit is due.

Trump critics love to drone on about how the former reality TV star isn't president material because he's got no real legislative experience. They say the guy doesn't act or sound like a politician – but a quick glance at Wednesday's Reddit session would tell you otherwise. Donald Trump can expertly dodge questions, regurgitate fluffy rhetoric and misuse exclamation points just like any career Congressman. In fact, he could probably teach them a thing or two.

Believe it or not, the guy is actually starting to sound like your typical, run-of-the-mill politician – and while Trump may occasionally find the strength to tone down the closet racism in favour of something a bit more vanilla, thousands of belligerent keyboard fanatics are lapping this garbage right up. That's what makes the GOP nominee's unlikely rise to power all the more terrifying.

Donald Trump doesn't need to give us policies, address our concerns or treat us like human beings in order to make a run for the White House – all he needs is a laptop and 140 characters. It's no wonder they call him the God Emperor.


Nash Riggins is an American journalist and political commentator based in Scotland.