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This ain’t your father’s election cycle

November 30, 2015

Mainstream media pundits keep trying to dissect why Donald Trump is still hanging around, given that his grasp of what it takes to be the leader of a country seems limited to posting outrageous and often erroneous tweets.

One needs only to go to any gathering to figure it out. Take Thanksgiving, the traditional Christmas season kickoff, for instance.

Maybe it’s just the season. In what is arguably the most commercialized season of the year, how much attention are normal folks paying to the U.S. presidential race?

If local research, i.e. the reports from Thanksgiving get-togethers is any example…not much.

Oh sure, it’s kind of hard to ignore politics if you live in Chicago or Baltimore or Colorado Springs, but then there is always some politician somewhere  trying to score political points on current events.

Those few who were willing to tackle politics as part of the turkey day back-and-forth generally limited their comments to wondering why the current President thinks that passing more laws regarding climate change is going to defeat any of the radical Islamic terrorist organizations.

That will probably be the general attitude of all non-political types right through Christmas, barring a Paris-style attack within the U.S. between now and then.

Even after the holidays, it remains to be seen if the political scene can intrude into the national consciousness. It’s just too easy these days to block it all out, as illustrated in the following anecdotal  report.

One man tells of being invited to dinner at his son-in-law’s home.  When he arrived, there were about 20 people there. He walked in and no one except his daughter even looked up from their phone or tablet to say hello. He said after about twenty minutes of listening to various beeps from people texting and watching people chuckling to themselves at something streaming on their devices, he just excused himself, walked out and went to dinner at a local restaurant. Patrons there were advised via a sign at the door to turn off their personal pacifying devices. He reported having a great time.

That’s a microcosm of this election cycle.

Because he is a master marketer, Trump knows what it takes to intrude into the 7-second attention span of most of today’s voting population.

Whatever else you think of him, he is the consummate 21st century candidate. He knows that most people don’t want facts. Most just want to be entertained, and that’s a skill he seems to have in spades.

Even so, he only seems to be connected with 25-30% of the public, hardly enough to win an election  but certainly enough to lose one.

Perhaps most of the digital drones won’t vote because they can’t do it from their phones.

More likely though is that the candidate that can get that one last viral video up, or post that last outrageous tweet just before the voters start pulling levers or poking ballots will wind up with the win.

Some of the candidates have enough paid staff to stay on top in the digital contest. The more serious contenders on the GOP side might be better off to hire social media managers than Madison Avenue ad firms or speech writers.

It remains to be seen who can beat Trump at his own game.  As of now, it seems that the only person that take him out of first place in the polls is Trump himself.

From → op-ed

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