Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Don't Call it a Comeback! But Do Call It a Short Post on Donald Trump

Wow, first blog post in months. Who knew that becoming a partner at a law firm and having a kid would suck up so much time? Okay, everyone, but that's beside the point. Since I used to write a blog where I would rate the contenders for the Presidential nomination, I thought I would take a moment to write about the Donald Trump.

Now, of course, a lot has been said about the Donald, and we all know who Trump is. But in the past week or so, an interesting dynamic is emerging in this race. Namely, the division between the conservative media and the conservative elites. The conservative elites know that Donald Trump is absolute poison for the GOP - not only does he make himself look bad, but he makes the other GOP candidates bad as well. After all, if Jeb Bush can't beat Donald Trump, who calls Mexican immigrants rapists, and who says that the reason Megyn Kelly was harsh to him was due to her menstrual cycle, then how in the hell can he beat Hillary Clinton?

But at the same time, over 24 million viewers watched the GOP Presidential Debate on Fox. Not only was this the highest rated Presidential primary debate on Fox, it was the highest rated program on Fox News in its entire history. And in the world of media, ratings = advertising = money. Oh, and then Trump, the very next day, makes his comments about Kelly, and then a bunch of people watched her show to see what her reaction would be. So, even if he's a dangerous baffoon, Trump is literally ratings gold.

And that's where things get interesting. In the first debate, it was pretty clear that the Fox News moderators were going hard after Trump. They attacked him over his bankruptcies, his comments towards women, and his willingness to run as a 3rd Party Candidate. But now, Roger Ailes calls up Trump, and offers him the whole store. Why? Because holy fucking shit, Fox News got 24 million viewers to watch a primary debate, and we all know that all those viewers didn't show up to see Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

So while Fox News is the communications wing of the Republican Party for all intents and purposes, it is still a business that is dependent on advertisers. Oh, and these advertisers, who might stay away from Hannity or Kelly, or whomever, would LOVE to advertise during the debates because it looks patriotic, not craven.

It is this dynamic that is going to be worth watching over then next few months - Trump is going to be Trump, and he's going to suck all the oxygen out of the room. And as long as he brings big ratings to Fox, they're not going to go after him the way that they did last Thursday. That will drive the GOP establishment crazy.

Oh, and by the way, as a Democrat, I'm LOVING THIS. Remember that Clinton's biggest political strength is her ability to turn outrage into votes. Can you imagine a Trump v. Clinton general election debate? He'll say something outrageous, and she will turn it into millions of votes. And even if Trump ultimately loses, the eventual nominee will come into the General Election looking like the 2nd choice.