If you want to win in 2020, run Oprah.
Run Jon Stewart.
Run the Oprah/Stewart ticket or the Stewart/Oprah ticket.
You’ll sweep the country.
Politics is dead.
Politicians are dead.
This is what Donald Trump has taught us.
Politicians are boring.
(And they are. Anyone really want to have dinner with Mitt Romney? Seriously?)
We are now the TV nation.
And no wonder. We all spend 5 hours a day, every day, watching TV.
And what do we watch?
It isn’t C-Span. This is who we are.
So when Donald Trump decided to run for President, he didn’t run a ‘normal’ campaign (that’s what everyone said, didn’t they? Not ‘normal’?) Nope. He ran a Reality TV Show. Well, why not? That’s what he knows how to do. Not only does he know how to do it, he knows how to do it really well. The Apprentice is a top rated Reality TV Show for 10 years. Everyone else was running C-Span. Policy Wonk TV. The Apprentice gets 21 million viewers, C-Span gets, ready?… 19,550 viewers in an average hour.
Do you see a difference here?
Donald Trump ‘gets’ what America likes, and more importantly, he delivers what they like. And what they like is Reality TV. Sorry, as Walter Cronkite used to say, ‘That’s the way it is”. And that is why he is going to be the President of the United States, and policy wonk, C-Span TV Hillary is not. That is who we are.
But the show is not over. On the contrary, it is just getting started.
The essence of any good Reality TV show is that the excitement never stops. It’s one crisis after another. That’s what holds the audience’s attention. That is what rates. Now, I have to let you in on a little secret. Reality TV shows are fake. Yes, they are. Sorry. They’re about as real as Professional Wrestling (which is fake also, and one of the President, by the way, is in the Wrestlemania WWE Hall of Fame. Did you know that? He was inducted in 2013. Vince McMahon called Donald Trump, “A Wrestlemania Institution”.
Of course, you knew that Wrestlemania was fake. But what keeps the audiences glued to the tube is that the action never stops. That is what anyone who is good with Reality TV understands – that it’s fake and that the action never stops.
Now, everyone who watches these shows understands, on some level, that it’s all fake, but they don’t care. They buy into the made up ‘truth’ of the program. It’s entertaining.
What Donald Trump learned in the TV biz, he brought to his campaign. One lie after another after another, so many lies that the journalist fact checkers were driven to distraction. That was a crazy thing to do, that fact checking. Do we have ‘fact checkers’ on Wrestlemania? Do we have ‘fact checkers’ on Duck Dynasty? Do we have ‘fact checkers’ on House Hunters? Of course not! They would be wasting their time, just like they were wasting their time on the Trump campaign. Of course it was all lies. Did it matter? Of course not.
And now we have the prospect of a Trump Presidency that is going to be one never-ending Reality Show in which he will compose his own facts, create his own world, have his own reality and the viewers will go right along. And why? Because the action never stops.
When he tweets that flag burners should have their citizenship revoked, does he know that this is a crazy thing to say? Of course he does. Anyone with an eighth grade education in this country knows that. But he does it anyway. And why? Because it’s ‘exciting’. It grabs the viewers. It ‘dominates the news cycle’ (in C-Span Talk). It gets ratings. People eat it up. (And while they are eating it up, they fail to notice that he is turning the Cabinet into the Billionaire’s Boys Club). Who cares! Bring on more crazy 3am tweets!
And how to the Democrats respond this new world of TV driven reality? They return Nancy Pelosi to the House Leadership. This is like running Lamp Unto My Feet on Thursdays at 8PM. Who does this?
They don’t get it yet.
Listen, did you see the movie The Imitation Game? You know the one where Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing and cracks the Enigma Code and wins the Second World War? Yeah, that one. Anyway, you remember when the Turing character says, ‘it takes a machine to beat a machine?’ Well, it takes a TV personality to beat a TV personality. Hillary was not a TV personality. Tim Kaine was not a TV personality.
So if you want to win in 2020 run Oprah. Run Jon Stewart. Run someone who can get better ratings than The Donald Trump Show. They’re out there. They’re just no politicians.
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