ELDER PATRIOT – Everyone that Donald Trump has campaigned against has complained that he dominates the media’s coverage making it almost impossible to get their message out. In the latter stages of his campaign Ted Cruz estimated that Trump received $2 billion in free airtime.
There’s a reason for this. Trump has purposefully made himself unpredictable, brash and willing to take on all comers. He’s always ready to venture into hostile territory anytime and address any subject. He’s a walking talking sound bite and the media simply must be there to make certain they don’t miss it. He knows this and has been playing them like a stradivarius.
This is not a product of an unfit personality nor is it accidental. Trump is a master marketing professional who understands the attitudes of today’s voters and could care less about appealing the voters of 1980. He has made the decision to reject those who tell him to “act more presidential” rather than lose the media’s attention because that would allow them to define him.
While we’re on this subject, many of us wonder when someone will tell the anointed one, Barack Obama to act more presidential.
We understand the Left’s angst over Trump’s behavior. They’ve come to consider pointed political observations and character assassination to be tactics solely in their domain. Trump has served notice that he will not repeat the fecklessness of the McCain and Romney campaigns. He is street fighter who will give at least as good as he takes and he makes sure he proves that everyday. This has Democrat strategists scurrying to protect the glass houses they have constructed around their personalities and their policies.
The real surprise in all of this though comes from the Right. Talk radio echoes with conservative callers bemoaning Trump’s tone. Get over it. The days of playing nice are over, something the Democrats learned, and used to their advantage, some time ago.
Trump has risen precisely because his message is so shockingly strong, and delivered in a manner that demands scrutiny, that he cannot be ignored. That, and because his message is resonating loudly with Americans, Trump has commanded the media’s rapt attention and that has allowed him to run the most efficient and effective campaign in American political history.
As of the May 16th filing, Hillary Clinton had spent over $212 million trying to shake Bernie Sanders. Sanders had answered with almost $203 million dollars in spending. Both candidates are running against incredibly flawed and weak opponents yet no amount of spending is doing either of them any good.
Trump has spent a little over $58 million dollars dispatching 16 highly credentialed opponents. Bush, Carson, Cruz and Rubio combined to outspend Trump by almost $400 million and they all possessed the same McCain-Romney presidential demeanor that the talk radio crowd is so wistful about. Where did that get them, and us?
Since Ronald Reagan left Washington, electoral success became attached at the hip to spending. Just as Reagan did, Trump is proving that messaging is more significant than money. Trump will win precisely because he won’t allow his opponents – including those in the media – to define him before he defines them and he won’t allow them to “own” any issue for more than a few hours before he opens up on their failures.
More power to him. This is what leadership looks like in 2016.