Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Do Not Underestimate Trump

Today I have started reading the latest addition to my personal library:  Gwenda Blair's The Trumps.  This is already a fascinating book, after just the first and second prefaces.  Originally published in 2000, the book is giving me insight into just how clever Donald Trump really is.

A major part of his threat is his success in television and the media generally.  He knows how to appear on camera, how to tease TV executives, reporters, and viewers -- and then hold their interest.  In this, he is a master.

We know this.  But many of us are still thinking of the Presidency in terms of the nineteenth century.  We somehow think only someone of Lincoln's caliber and presentation can and should be elected.

But in a country in which most people get their news from TV it is not hard to see how Trump has become well-known, if not popular.

Thus, we underestimate Trump at our great peril.  It is true he should not be over-estimated, but as I am reading my new book I am more convinced than ever that he should never be under-estimated.  When you read the introductory material in the book, you begin to see that even his bankruptcies were not failures.  Thus, it is going to be hard to use his financial set-backs against him.

And this entire campaign, even more than in the past has been carried out through the media.  Remember, too, that it has been eight years since the Presidency was coming up vacant.  That is a lifetime in terms of the media.

Hillary Clinton is of another time, almost.  And Bernie Sanders is telegenically entertaining, maybe even savvy.  But he is no Donald Trump.

Am I exaggerating?  We won't know until November.  Sadly, that may be too late.

Let's get up to speed in terms of the new media environment as it affects Presidential politics. If we don't, we may find ourselves living in a political Jurassic Park, where a person who is chronologically a dinosaur has become a monster, not just in vivid picturesque form, but for real.  

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