( CNN) President Donald Trump loves a good present, especially if he's the protagonist. He's the first POTUS to have starred in his own reality television series, and, with President Ronald Reagan( a former performer ), arguably the American head of state who has best understood the relationship between visual spectacle and power.
While the term cult of personality may elicit dictators like Adolf Hitler or Kim Jong Un, such cults can flourish in a variety of political context, as long as there is a charismatic leader and a coherent media strategy.
In republics, it helps if those attempting power are already known to the public, perhaps through a personal brand or success in an outside endeavor( this is the case with Trump and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ). Their notoriety helps them forge bonds with their followers based on appreciation for and allegiance to the leader. Once in office, they run the media so they are still the center of attention as they try to consolidate their power and stimulate the public office they hold adapt to their private agendas and circumstances.