Trump’s entrance in U.S politics has been hard to ignore, what with the ballsy businessman being extensively covered in the press. More about entertainment than policy, the U.S media’s coverage of American politics is a bit ridiculous, and Trump and his presidential campaign epitomises just this. Launched on June 16th, the announcement that the business magnate would be running for President was met with varying reactions, mainly that of a collective eye roll.
That exasperation has not abated since June, if anything it has only been fuelled by his controversial comments on various topics. For example, when addressing the topic of Mexican immigrants, he unabashedly claimed that Mexico was “bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists” to the US. Although no other comments have been quite as spectacularly awful as that one, Trump hasn’t held back from offending Chinese and African Americans too, thus instantly alienating a large majority of the American electorate. His comments, however, are not only directed at American minorities, but at his fellow American politicians, too. He called South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham “a stiff”, Jeb Bush a “puppet” and claims that Texas Governor Rick Perry only wears glasses “so people will think he is smart”.
However, to find Trump a joke would be to find the American media to be a bit of a joke too (which is not an uncommon opinion). Although, generally, he may not be the most well liked Presidential candidate, he has succeeded, through coming out with such ridiculous quotes, in what many politicians during campaigns aim for: being the centre of attention. By continually coming out with such attention grabbing opinions, and the subsequent media frenzy around whatever Trump may have said rather than the actual politics of the campaign period, he remains the most talked about Presidential candidate in this year’s primaries.
Being a household name is a powerful position for any presidential candidate to be in. For Trump, not coming from a traditionally political background, rather one of television, business and real estate, has only aided him in this endeavour. Less politically engaged American citizens will have heard his name on the news or in conversation and will be the only candidate that they might have heard anything about, therefore a candidate they would consider voting for.
However, as much of a joke you may think Donald Trump is, perhaps, reluctantly, it is time to start taking him more seriously. His rise in the polls tells us undeniably how popular he is becoming with many American Republicans. Holding 25% of the vote when 17 candidates are running is no small feat. Statistics like these are clear eye openers to the possible reality of Trump succeeding in his campaign to become America’s next President. His buzzword filled campaign slogan “Make America great again” may just fool enough people into voting for him.
You may see Trump as an awful candidate for the American Presidency, but it is undeniable that he is playing the political game very well. Some may even go so far as to say that he is recreating the political game as his own. If you are wondering why Trump continued to do so well following the Republican leaders’ debate, and continues to do so well in general, I think his permanent position in the media spotlight is why.