At Slate, Jim Newell argues that the press has actually spoiled Trump's chances of ever becoming president, even as it's made him more popular among GOP voters:
I am of the school that thinks it is the media’s duty to cover a presidential candidate when he or she says crazy things, intentionally or not, and to provide the coverage, even if they crave the attention. Because doing so does not help Trump to the extent that he believes it does. It has, instead, likely helped to seal his doom at one stage or another in the process.Is that true? We'll see.
... [Trump is] covered negatively and with extreme scrutiny because he says a lot of awful things. What we’ve found out this year is that a not-insignificant segment of the Republican Party loves the awful things he says and credits him with the “courage” for saying them. Let’s say that group’s about 25 to 30 percent of the party, if the polls are correct. So Trump keeps saying awful things along these lines in order to keep that group happy.
... The reason [other candidates] don’t say these things ... is because they hope at some point to cobble together a majority of Republican delegates and, eventually, a majority of electors. Trump’s behavior makes the people who like him really like him, but they turn off the much bigger chunk of the pie.
The media is enabling Trump -- to hang himself.
But if you think that giving a certified right-wing nutjob an overabundance of coverage for jaw-dropping statements is a guarantee of poll dominance, then tell me: Why wasn't Christine O'Donnell elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010?
O'Donnell got huge amounts of national media attention for saying crazy right-wing things. She had very high name recognition. I'm sure even in Delaware she received far more coverage than ... what's his name? The guy she was running against? Oh yeah -- Chris Coons.
Who's now in the Senate.
Christine O'Donnell lost the general election despite massive media coverage because the overall Delaware electorate thought she was an extremist with a screw loose. The same will (we hope) happen to Trump in November 2016, if (as seems likely) he's the Republican nominee.
Huge amounts of publicity aren't everything if you're running for office. People have to like what they hear. Republican voters like what they're hearing about Trump. But that won't matter if the rest of us don't.