Saturday, July 18, 2015
Pre-Primary Panic Pause, Please
The "news" of today is that Trump is a contemptible human being because he mocked John McCain's military service. Why is this news? Because the media has flocked to covering Trump because he says stuff that is, um, newsworthy. Well, newsworthy in the sense that people will click on stories to find out what outrageous thing he said now.
Yes, Trump is doing great in the polls, which means the media can say that they are just covering the top candidate, as if they had nothing to do making him that. They helped by covering him far more than the other candidates (I dare anyone to do a content analysis and tell me that he hasn't gotten more than 1/17 of the GOP candidate coverage). Name recognition plus media attention might just impact the polls.
The key here is that no one has voted and no one is voting any time soon. The endless campaign is on, but the voting is not yet here. So, the media has to cover something. And watching Trump bloviate is good for clicks/ratings/whatever. But when the time comes to vote, chances are that Trump, no matter how well he appeals to the xenophobes, will decline in the polls because... he is a contemptible human being.
Four years ago, I saw GOP candidate after candidate rise and fall. I said then what I say again today: I wish I knew how to short a market so that I could make money off of the decline of Trump in the days ahead.
But this is not just about Trump. It is about the reality that the media hop and skip to the hot candidate, making them hotter than they really are. With a list of candidates longer than the arm of the average journalist, the editors have to make decisions about what to cover. This is, of course, always the case, but with so many candidates, each twitch of coverage has an impact on which candidate gets even more coverage. Lots of piling on here.
But the reality is that we don't know anything yet about who is going to win or lose (well, except that Trump is not going to win). So, let's just take a breath and chill out on our hot summer days. Oh, and if you are a democrat, it is your turn to enjoy the schadenfreude. Woot!