Ever since Donald Trump has entered the 2016 US Presidential Race as a Republican candidate, he has been running a clinic on grabbing and maintaining the main spotlight as well as superior ratings.
It’s a fair estimate that when Trump entered the race, very few media pundits or politicians took him seriously, thinking he’d grab his allotted 15 minutes of candidate fame as another means of marketing his brand, and then depart soon after. But things took an unexpected turn when his bombastic statements about illegal immigration along with his refusal to tone down his rhetoric only served to boost his ratings in the polls rather than cause any negative consequences.
On a roll from that initial fiery blast, when Senator McCain criticized him, he let loose with his now infamous “I like war heroes who weren’t captured.” line that was as hilarious as it was outrageous. In another time long past, a statement like that would have effectively ended the campaign immediately, but in the current age, there was little fallout.
Next up, Senator Graham went to McCain’s defense and called Trump a “Jackass”. Trump responded by doxing Graham by revealing his private cell number to the public. Graham responded by making videos of himself destroying his phone. Again, there was no negative fallout on Trump.
When an online tabloid returned the favor and published Trump’s cell number, Trump masterfully replaced his voice mail greeting with information about his presidential campaign, making it another source of free publicity.
During this time, Trump effectively cornered the market on grabbing all the media’s and public’s attention, leaving little air for the other competing candidates as he dominated the polls as the top choice.
Then came the 1st televised debate ran by Fox News- and it was clear Fox had an agenda to take some air out of Trump’s sails, as was revealed with their sand bag lead off question of asking who would dare to run as an independent candidate if they didn’t get the Republican nomination – a question squarely aimed at Trump.
During the debate, only Rand Paul was willing to take on Trump with direct attacks and looked like he lost in the exchange. It was clear that neither the other candidates nor Fox were willing to start a head to head Trump match up. His main attacks came from the debate hosts themselves, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelley.
After the debate, media pundits declared Trump a loser, and his criticizing of Fox debate host Megyn Kelly was elevated to make it an example of his misogyny. He was written off, but that epitaph was premature as the latest polls still has him solidly leading the pack. Much to the dismay of Fox and the RNC as well as the other GOP candidates, Trump’s momentum isn’t slowing down or showing any signs of fading.
The media and GOP/RNC continue to scratch their heads as to why all this negative publicity that would have severely weakened other candidates in the past seems to be only making Trump stronger.
Most of these folks must have amnesia of what’s been happening to American politics over the last few decades, which have been growing more and more negative. Civility and decorum have taken a back seat to bombshell statements and theatrics and rather than attempt to tone it down or ignore such behavior, the media glorified it with extra coverage since it meant higher broadcast ratings.
Fox News is only now concerned with Trump’s “off script” behavior since it is being targeted at the GOP, but they had no issues whatsoever when attacks of this level or greater were being hurled at Democrats.
While Democrats may be laughing at the GOP’s frustrations now, they likely won’t be if Trump continues to increase in strength. If you think he’s punching hard now, just wait until it’s the Dems turn to be on the receiving end.
The 2014 elections were the lowest since WWII – people have grown apathetic with the current state of politics. Fewer people believe in what the candidates say or promise. They attack each other viciously in side statements, but never own those comments when called out on them, and go back to being “on script” when the main cameras are on. Trump is using that to his advantage by ignoring all the old rules and running as a straight out populist who doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his “off script” statements. He has positioned himself perfectly to run as an outsider. The conundrum presented to the GOP and other candidates is how do they successfully attack him without alienating his base of supporters? Each attack so far has only validated his “outside” status.
Meanwhile, no major media outlets seem to care that most if not all of the candidates including Trump dodged their questions and change the subject rather than give out meaningful answers. But that’s to be expected in the carnival like “game show” atmosphere of the debate rules where you are only given a minute to answer serious questions- hilarious in itself.
The truth is American Politics has devolved into just another “Reality Show”, so is it any surprise that a reality show star is leading the race?
Canada was hosting their own political debates as well, and it’s quite revealing to see a comparison between us and them to see how much our politics have changed.