“Oh my God! Donald Trump might be elected to lead the GOP into the 2016 presidential election,” said the editor-in-chief of Real Clear Politics. “What should we do?” asked his subordinates. “Run almost nothing but articles about him for the next year or so,” reasoned the leader, “that should turn things around”.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Donald Trump and enjoy reading about him. Frankly I don’t see how he is any worse than Cruz or Rubio. Trump wants to build a wall (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/19/opinion/a-little-reality-on-immigration.html). Yet are the stances of Cruz and Rubio that different? Rubio’s website (https://marcorubio.com/issues-2/marco-rubio-immigration-plan-border-security-legal/) notes his plan to “finish all 700 miles of walls on our southern border”. And Cruz’s platform also notes that he would “complete the wall” (https://www.tedcruz.org/cruz-immigration-plan-summary/).
I am sure we could go through almost everyone of Trump’s bombastic off-the-cuff ideas and find a corresponding ridiculous pledge from his competitors. So why all the coverage?
Maybe it is just the herd mentality of the media. Trump gets covered, so he gets more coverage. Everyone else is doing it so why don’t we. This has been going on since the summer of 2015, however, and eventually one must ask when someone in power will put the brakes on it. Hasn’t everything that can be said about Donald Trump’s troll/run for president been said already? Even that paragon of high-brow conservativism got in on the act:
Since this onslaught of coverage has been continuous for almost half a year, and since there has been no concerted effort made by the media to reduce this free exposure given to Trump, all I can surmise is that the media does not really want to see him fail.
In Trump the media has something that, in policy terms is not really any worse than the other oddballs the GOP has coughed up, but in showmanship he is a cut above. Trump won’t do the majority of the wild things he claims if elected. A system of checks and balances at worst will stop him. I do suspect that the media knows that if he becomes an inhabitant of the White House his tone will change dramatically (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/11/donald-trump-im-very-capable-changing-anything-i-w/ and http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/22/politics/donald-trump-anderson-cooper/). So the media must be thinking “why not enjoy the ride?”
To endorse Trump, however, will enrage a large part of their readership who has been taught to view Trump as a demagogue (http://time.com/4174328/donald-trump-thoughts-politician/; http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/03/14/behind-the-trump-phenomenon…)and, at least kind of, a fascist (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-donald-trump-fascist-20160308-htmlstory.html and http://robertreich.org/post/140705539195). So the media has instead chosen to incessantly cover him, while at the same time condemning him.
Why not just give him a time-out? Put him in the penalty box. Let him spend his own money on coverage for the rest of the campaign. Stop fantasizing about a brokered convention (this would be incredibly hard for the media to do). The media would do this if they were really afraid of what he represented, but they haven’t yet, so ask yourself why?