“How Not to Run for President” is what the headlines should say after a ridiculous summer for politics. Donald Trump put on a ludicrous show and broke every rule in the book since the beginning of summer: he offended the entire Mexican population by making racist and stereotypical comments; he insulted military prisoners of war; and gave away South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s private number on live TV.
However as of Monday September 14, Trump sits on top of the GOP and his name continues to saturate every major news network from television to online.
How can this be? How is it this “candidate” remains ahead of his competitors?
After careful thought I have come up with three hypotheses. After explaining each I offer my analysis to the whole situation.
First: I believe the news feeds off Trump’s insane antics. Some may say Trump’s actions are not newsworthy, but what other GOP candidate can fly kids around in their private helicopter? To attest to how much the news loves Trump, a look at CNN.com’s ‘Politics‘ landing page shows that Trump has a subsection with his name on it, while no other candidate has one.
Furthermore Trump’s rants are perfect for television. My Dad says it best: “I won’t ever vote for Trump, but he is a comedian up there. He is entertaining.” A quick search online of “trump interview ratings” reveals that Trump boosts the ratings of every show he interviews on.
In a world where politicians filter their words to the point of not being able to understand what side they actually stand on, Trump bluntly says what he plans to do…and he says it on national TV.
Second: Money talks. Trump loves to Tweet about how lobbyists and special interest groups cannot take his top spot with money. “A politician is…controlled by lobbyists…by their donors…by their special interests” said Trump in an interview with Newsmax. He cannot be controlled by anyone, and thus is the only pure candidate not soiled by third party agendas.
Which brings me to my third and final hypothesis:
He may be absurd, but at least he is honest. As much as it pains me to say this, the American people may be choosing Trump because they are sick of “traditional” candidates like Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. At the end of the day Trump says and does what he wants, and the people like it.
After making these observations it’s time to think critically. Initially, the news painted Trump as a hack that nobody should take seriously in the GOP. However, news outlets now give him the spotlight whenever he wishes. Quite honestly I think Trump has the media wrapped around his finger. Yes he says outrageous things, but that does not mean he is insane. His business expertise and street smarts to run a business empire cannot be ignored. Sure the media can give a person a spotlight, but for Trump to have lasted this long leads me to believe that the man knows what he is doing — and therefore I think he is in more control than people think.
Now, that does not mean the media is not at fault. In fact the major news outlets gave Trump a platform to begin with and he unexpectedly ran with it. What is curious to me is how he remains the top story; and what irks me is that if news outlets continue to highlight Trump and make him the headline every day there is a possibility he could win the GOP candidacy. The news outlets ought to provide equal and unbiased coverage for all the candidates, but like CNN.com so perfectly shows, that is not the case.
As a result, the message I receive as a viewer and potential voter is media will not cover what is actually important, but what is most entertaining and will boost ratings.Honestly I do not follow politics closely, and as a fringe observer the only things I hear about are Trump’s shenanigans and occasionally Dr. Carson. So what I perceive from the news is rather than discussing real issues about the future of the country, Trump is playing a glorified popularity game on a national scale…and right now he is winning.
Now looking forward, I hope to be able to describe Trump’s candidacy as being a massive ocean wave. People loved to look at it and even tried to ride the tail of it, but eventually the wave broke and the excitement subsided, and Trump’s candidacy set the standard for how not to run for president.
We will just have to wait and see.