One of the left wing blogs I used to read 10 years back:
“You gotta hand it to the guy,” a friend said of Donald Trump last night. “He knows how to keep all the attention focused on him.”
Maybe the best analysis of the Trump phenomenon comes from Rush Limbaugh:
Right in The Art of the Deal Trump says, if you’re serious in a negotiation about wanting something — and, by the way, being serious is the only time to enter into it — and if there’s something dead certain you’ve gotta have, you have got to start out with the most outrageous position. The opener has got to be so outrageous that the compromise is exactly what you want.
I think I see. If you’re Donald Trump and you want to build a 20-storey hotel somewhere, you start out asking for a 100-storey job with a heliport on the top, and a casino and swimming pool bulging out of the 50th floor.
Trump is bringing The Art of the Deal to politics. He calls for something outrageous, and everyone says You Can’t Do That, and that’s just what he wants. When he climbs down, he gets the 20-storey hotel he wanted from the outset.
And also he grabs all the headlines every time he calls for something outrageous.
The point is that all of this bombast and all of this outrageousness is owning the media. It is shaping the media day. The media day is being determined by what Trump is saying, where Trump is, what people’s reactions to Trump are. He owns it.
As you just heard, more coverage than the entire Democrat presidential campaign, all those candidates combined. He has over twice the amount of news coverage that the media’s own candidate, Hillary Clinton, is getting.
And it puts him out on his own.
As far as he’s concerned, the more outrageous, the better. It calls attention to the point that he’s making, and he ends up being the only person occupying his position. He’s got no competition. Everybody else — everybody — is saying the exact the same thing, but none of them are saying what Trump is saying… I have never seen anybody own the media like this.
JFK did not own the media like this.
Bill Clinton did not own the media like this.
Nobody has ever owned the media like Trump.
Rush Limbaugh again:
Donald Trump is condemning ISIS. Donald Trump is condemning illegal immigration. Donald Trump is condemning a weak, stupid United States leadership. Over here, everybody else is not. They are condemning Donald Trump. In a political sense, Donald Trump, leading the presidential campaign, is the sole occupier of his position. He has no competition for it. Just in a political sense, that’s pretty brilliant positioning to me. He owns the media. They can’t stop talking about him.
And what’s it costing him?
He’s not spending a dime.
And his supporters love him because he’s so darn Politically Incorrect. He says all the things that they daren’t say. They can’t wait for the next bombshell he’s going to drop.
This latest Donald Trump episode is a glittering, glaring example of how he is playing the media like a Stradivarius. And I tell you, folks, for all of you people who have complained and whined and moaned about the media over the years, and how unfair they are to Republicans and how unfair that makes the whole process and, “What are we gonna do?” You need to be studying Donald Trump. I don’t care whether you think what he says is outrageous or wrong or whatever. That’s the wrong way to look at this right now.
This latest quote/unquote “outrage” from Trump is a perfect example of how he plays the media, how he knows exactly what to do and how to do it to own their attention and airtime. He says things that he knows will drive them crazy. He says things over and over that he knows will drive them insane, and then when they go insane, he doubles down on it and drives them even crazier. He also knows that his audience is in on what he is doing.
He knows that a lot of Americans agree, to a certain extent, with things that he says. He also knows he’s the only one reaching those people. And then he sits back and watches (no doubt with a huge smile) the media cover what he says over and over and over and over again. Then they analyze it over and over and over, and they talk about it over and over and over again. He’s confident that a lot of his voters are gonna be able to strip away the bombast and be able to get to the nuts and bolts of what he’s saying, the kernel of truth of what he’s saying.
If Rush is right, then in order to close the deal after making all these initial outrageous demands, he’ll start to climb down on them, one by one. He’ll row back on re-introducing waterboarding. He’ll step back from killing entire jihadi families. And so on. He’ll start sounding and looking more and more reasonable. And that will pull in the voters who simply couldn’t accept the most outrageous things he’s said. And instead of a 100-storey hotel, he’ll get the 20-storey one he wanted from the outset. And that’ll be twice as high as was previously permitted.
I only hope that, before he’s through being thoroughly and outrageously Politically Incorrect, he’ll manage to light a big cigar on stage somewhere, and say that he doesn’t believe a word of what’s said against tobacco, just like he doesn’t believe a word of the global warming junk science.
Or is that too much to ask?