3Qs: Campaign shake-​​up positions Trump to ‘win,’ regardless of election result

A recent New Yorker piece posits that Trump’s latest campaign reshuffle might have less to do with trying to win the election than “laying the groundwork for a new conservative media empire to challenge Fox.” What, in your view, is Trump’s endgame—to become the next president of the United States or to become a media mogul, the creator of his very own news network?

I choose “C,” for both, or all of the above. Donald Trump represents a fusion of our reality television/celebrity-obsessed culture and our increasingly fragmented and partisan media landscape. Trump’s behavior suggests that he is satisfied as long as a story keeps him in the news. This campaign is all about Trump, and only Trump (it is never about his running mate, Mike Pence; when Trump introduced the VP pick at a rally, it was still about Trump). Trump’s desire for attention is, in my view, unprecedented. I have not seen a candidate seeking it more than him; he embodies the old adage, attributed to Oscar Wilde, that, “There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” In other words, for Trump, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Trump has monetized attention and his “brand,” whether it involves wine, buildings, food, or education. Becoming president is one way to stay in the news, but if he does not, more people will be familiar with him and his brands. For now, running for president is the ultimate way to “stay in the news.” He would have the (appropriately named) bully pulpit. If he loses, then bringing on recently ousted Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and “alt-right” leader Steve Bannon sets him up for a future media channel: Trump TV (or something web or app based). There is a model for this, especially on the political right: Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee parlayed their unsuccessful campaigns into lucrative television and media opportunities. Trump is already a brand; this elevates it. In that regard, Trump “wins” either way.

As Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” At this point, Trump’s chances for winning are quite slim, but it’s hard to declare the election over before Labor Day. The candidates have not debated. There’s a chance for a historical “gaffe” during one of their three televised showdowns or an “October surprise,” a dramatic event timed to influence the outcome of the election.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

from Google Alert – examination OR result