Monday, August 22, 2016


Has Donald Trump given up on trying to win the election in November because, as Greg Sargent speculates, he's more interested in constructing a post-election white nationalist media empire? I think there could be some truth to this, but I don't think Sargent has it quite right.

Sargent writes:
Has Donald Trump given up on winning the White House and “pivoted” (this might be his real pivot) to a full-blown effort to build a national following that will outlast the election, perhaps allowing him to establish a media empire with him at the helm -- one that caters, at least to some degree, to a white nationalist or “alt-right” audience? Was that his plan all along? ...

* Vanity Fair media writer Sarah Ellison reports in a radio interview that Trump has had private discussions with his inner circle about “how to monetize” the new audience he’s built up. As Ellison puts it, this potential goal should no longer be seen as “speculation.”

* The New York Times reports today that in July, Trump’s campaign “spent more on renting arenas for his speeches” than he did on setting up a national field operation, leaving him with no operation to speak of. That is consistent with the idea that Trump (as I’ve speculated) is very consciously sinking most of his resources into a format (rallies) that allows him to continue staging his unique form of raucous WWE-style political entertainment, and building an audience that thrills to it, rather than winning a general election.
My guess is that Trump doesn't believe he has to choose.

I know he's running a terrible campaign. I know he isn't building much-needed campaign infrastructure. That makes it look as if he's throwing the fight.

But he did all that in the primaries and got away with it. Trump's view of himself is that he's so popular and has devised such a brilliant hack of the electoral system that he doesn't need to do all the boring things mere mortals have to do to win political races. So I say he's still in it to win.

Further evidence of that is the brief flurry of semi-conciliatory gestures he's made in the past week or so -- the pseudo-apology for harsh language in the primaries, the faux-outreach to Hispanics over the weekend (and I'd throw in the failed outreach to blacks as well.) Why would he bother with any of this if he isn't trying to win the election? Why wouldn't he just keep tossing out red meat to the alt-rightists?

I'm thinking about something else Sarah Ellison has reported:
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reportedly discussed with an NBC executive continuing “The Apprentice” reality show from the White House if he were elected president, long before he launched his bid.

The anecdote was reported in June by Vanity Fair contributing editor Sarah Ellison but appeared to go largely unnoticed until she was interviewed on "The Takeaway" podcast over the weekend.
Trump has actually considered the possibility that he can host a reality series while serving as president. He thinks he's such a superior being that he could handle both jobs at once. So why wouldn't he think he can run an alt-right TV channel while serving as president?

Ellison's original Vanity Fair story said that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the owner of The New York Observer, would be very much involved in a new Trump media venture. I keep trying to figure out why Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, would want to work on a media start-up aimed at people who harass Jews on Twitter with Xyklon B jokes. But I don't think Donald Trump is smart enough to grasp that particular problem. He wants what he wants, and I still think what everything he seems to be pursuing, all at once.


Victor said...

This narcissistic and demagogic loon can't even run a Presidential campaign!

How's he going to juggle the Presidency, a reality show, and a newly formed media empire.

Yeah, I know - leave the Presidentin' to Mike "The Dense" Pence.

Delusions of grandeur!

Say what you want, but at least for a while, Mussolini, Hitler - and especially Stalin - were competent leaders of countries, before they went fucking berserk!!!!!

i don't think t-RUMP could organize a two-car funeral procession.

Feud Turgidson said...

A guy with a toxically bloated ego might well have simultaneously inflated presidential (see Curt Schilling FCOL) and mego media ambitions.

But such a guy would DEFINITELY NOT have run pure grifts like Trump University - which appears REPRESENTATIVE of his business "ethics" - and would have WAAAAAAAYYYYY more than sufficient savvy not to be hiring a minor leauge regional website design outfit out of freaking KANSAS - KANSAS for gawd's sake! - to run his presidential campaign's digital needs, leave aside hiring him in freaking JULY HOLY JUMPIN SHELL GAME!

Jim Snyder said...

The TrumpTV thing being relatively recent (since May IIRC), one could imagine that this (along with "rigged") might be Trump's CYA way of dealing with a general election loss.

Ten Bears said...

Marie Antoinette and her cohort had no idea what was coming. I'm not sure anyone has any idea what may come of another hacked election, but I doubt it will be purty.

The New York Crank said...

CBS this morning had a Frank Luntz focus group. They were all former and present Trump supporters. What I found interesting, and perhaps a bit scary, is that many of the ex-Trumpers would return to the fold if Trump would only talk nicer once in a while. And that is what he has begun doing.

I'm not saying he's going to win. I certainly hope he doesn't. But he can — yes can — win if the rest of us take it for granted that Trump shot himself win the head and Hillary is now a shoo-in. It's still a long way from August to November, and this story has so many twists and turns it could hide behind a corkscrew. Don't get complacent. If the Trump campaign looks as if it's dead, keep stomping on the corpse to make sure. Otherwise, you might wake up in November to the news that we have a loose cannon with a short fuse sputtering away in the White House.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

The New York Crank said...

Whoops, you wouldn't wake tip to the loose cannon with the short fuse until January. November is when we'll know whether that's going to be the case. Sorry sorry sorry sorry.

Crankily sorry,
The New York Crank

Ed Cooper said...

Stomping won't get it done. It will have to be an oaken stake, driven through the heart and the corpse burned into fine ash, to be scattered from an airplane over the deepest part of the ocean

Jim Snyder said...

@NYCrank - and if pigs had wings they would fly. In the middle of making nice he went on a squalid rant against Squint and the Meat Puppet. Trump is who he is ... and who he is, is a spoiled 6-year-old trustifarian with the impulse control and self-discipline of a 3 -year-old.

That said, #imwithEd. Run up the margin...