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“Is Trump’s ‘Campaign’ Just A Scheme To Launch Trump TV?”: Actions Inconsistent With Any Rational Plan To Be President

Donald Trump is the first major-party nominee whose basic motive is the subject of sincere curiosity. Every other figure who secured the nomination of one of the two main governing parties clearly did so as part of a plan to get elected president. It is possible that this is Trump’s plan, too. But it’s also possible that it’s not, which is one of the things that makes his candidacy, or perhaps his “candidacy,” so unusual.

It is increasingly clear that Trump’s actions are inconsistent with any rational plan to become president. He is unpopular on a scale that defies historical precedent, utterly loathed by overwhelming majorities. Some people believed Trump was merely playing the part of a right-wing provocateur in order to stand out from the field and win his party’s nomination, and would “pivot” to the center afterward, but these hopes have been dashed. Trump has only become more hated. Nor is he doing basic tasks required of a nominee. When he was asked to call two dozen major Republican donors, Politico reports, Trump called three of them and then packed it in.

It is entirely possible that Trump is simply in way over his head — he wants to be president but doesn’t know how to go about it, and he trusts his own instincts far too much. The alternate possibility is that he has a different motive. In this scenario, Trump is not completely incompetent, but is shrewdly, or at least rationally, following a plan to enrich or otherwise gratify himself. The trouble has always been discerning what such a plan could be.

Trump’s campaign has not helped his branding business. To the contrary, it seems to be doing enormous damage. He has lost clients already, and will probably continue to do so. If your last name is synonymous with racism and misogyny, you can’t sell your name to golf courses and restaurants, which have dropped him left and right. Being adored by 30 percent of the country and hated by the rest is a recipe unsuited either for winning nationwide office or selling consumer products.

What it could well be is a plan to launch an independent media organ. Sarah Ellison reports that Trump is exploring the possibility of a television or other media venture that would cater to his loyalists. “According to several people briefed on the discussions, the presumptive Republican nominee is examining the opportunity presented by the ‘audience’ currently supporting him,” she writes. “He has also discussed the possibility of launching a ‘mini-media conglomerate’ outside of his existing TV-production business, Trump Productions LLC.” According to Ellison, Trump chafes at the way media have been able to make money off his antics without him getting a cut — a piece of reporting that happens to comport with Trump’s frequent public boasts about the ratings he commands and the money others are making off him.

And if this is Trump’s plan, it makes sense. Perhaps he grasps a truth the official Republican Party has refused to acknowledge: The conservative base is a subculture. It is a numerically large subculture, but a subculture nonetheless. It rejects the moral values of the larger society and wallows within its own imaginary world, in which Barack Obama is a foreign-born agent of anti-American interests, global warming is a lie concocted by greedy scientists or perhaps the Chinese, and hordes of foreigners are rendering the United States unrecognizable. The greater the gulf between the reality perceived by Trump’s supporters and the reality experienced by the rest of the world, the worse for the Republican Party, but all the more profitable for the media that can cater to their delusions. Figures like Rupert Murdoch, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh have grown rich doing so. Trump may have figured out that there’s no reason he should work for them when he can cut out the middleman.

 

By: Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, June 16, 2016

June 20, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP, Reality Television | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”: The Gullibility Of American Television Audiences

Is NBC really responsible for the rise of Donald Trump?

On a recent edition of the progressive radio program Ring of Fire, hosts Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discussed the mainstream media’s role in fueling the momentum of the Trump campaign, and strongly suggested that NBC effectively laid the foundation for Trump potentially becoming the 45th president (relevant discussion begins at 5:58): https://youtu.be/-D35FkhmQVA

I’ve never watched an episode of The Apprentice, and I’ve never quite understood the appeal of that program, or reality television in general. (Don’t even get me started on President Obama and Running Wild with Bear Grylls, despite the climate-consciousness of the December 17 edition of that program.) I’m not quite sure that NBC can be blamed for, frankly, the gullibility of American television audiences. After all, those who wasted hours watching Trump’s antics on The Apprentice could have been reading books instead.

It’s too easy to blame NBC for the rise of Trump, just as it’s too easy to blame Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes. There has always been an element of American culture that embraces the low, the vulgar, the putrid and the perverse. Donald Trump and NBC did not create that culture; it was a pre-existing condition in America’s body.

That condition could be fatal. You have to think that, love for his brother notwithstanding, George W. Bush is secretly rooting for Trump to win the Republican nomination and the presidency, since four to eight years of a Trump administration could actually make the Bush years look better by comparison. Sure, future historians will say, Bush lied America into war, abandoned American citizens in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, tortured people, attacked LGBT civil rights and wrecked the United States economy, but at least he didn’t inspire de facto pogroms against Mexicans and Muslims!

It’s creepy to think about it, no? Reagan’s recklessness almost made Nixon look OK relative to Bonzo’s co-star. Dubya’s destructiveness almost inspired nostalgia for the “Morning in America” era. Now, if Trump becomes the 45th President, people will start forgetting the 43rd President’s flaws. Trump would, on some level, have the power to rewrite history.

It is often said that every President becomes a reflection of the era in which he governed. When we think back to the Nixon era, our minds recall the cynicism of the age; when we remember the Reagan era, we think of the “Greed Is Good” ethos; when we think of the Bush years, we recall a time of constant fear. Let’s say Trump serves one or two terms as President. What will we think of when we remember those years?

 

By: D. R. Tucker, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, December 27, 2015

December 28, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Mainstream Media, NBC, Reality Television | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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