Donald Trump is the name on everyone’s tongue and on every newspaper’s headline.
He continues to poll relatively high in the early primary states and nationally – something of which he constantly reminds the public. Half of the media, as well as members of the so-called
Republican establishment, has all but crowned Trump the 45th US president. To top it all off, “the Donald” has withdrawn from the Republican primary debate tonight – the last before the Iowa caucus – and threatens to air a counter-program to see which broadcast receives a higher viewership.
Of course, polls can be misleading, and big media is often in the business of selling the news rather than reporting it. As for the establishment wing of the Republican Party, there is a reason that Sen. Ted Cruz once referred to them as the “surrender caucus.”
Still, all of the action swirling around Trump and his campaign and the rest of the primary race can be something of a mess to sort through, so the question arises: What do we make of it?
First, regarding the debate: “The Donald” is absolutely correct in assuming that Americans would rather watch him blabber than watch
politicians debate. It is an unfortunate fact that Americans in this day and age are largely not politically responsible, paragons of civic virtue that would make Cicero proud, but rather low-information voters who generally only turn out every four years to vote for in the presidential election.
This fact is reflected in the relatively small share of Americans who watch the primary debates.
On the other hand, many Americans love nothing more than to put on some pajamas, flick on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “The Bachelor/ ette,” “The Apprentice,” grab some ice cream and settle in for some reality television viewing.
This unfortunate fact has made its way into our political system. Trump is a living, breathing reality television show with a well-known brand, so it is extremely likely he would get higher ratings.
Second, the sudden rush of establishment Republican leaders like Gov. Terry Branstad, former Sen. and (miserable failure of a) presidential candidate Bob Dole and New York Rep. Peter King to endorse or at least signal support for Team Trump is less a reflection of their stoic embrace of the inevitable and more a reflection of their feckless cowardice in the face of loud-mouth demagogy.
Trump has literally won nothing yet. There are no trophies for dominating media coverage. His unfavorability ratings are the highest of any candidate ever, no states have voted yet and polls indicate that the group which supports Trump the most is Americans who have not voted in the last four elections.
In summation, let’s not crown Trump before he actually wins anything. Personally, I have my doubts that he will win a single state primary. We’ll find out in less than a week.