Time Magazine seems unable to wrap their heads around the idea of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. In fact, they’re having so much trouble with this problem that they seem to be projecting some sort of schizophrenia onto The Donald, separating Politics Trump from TV Trump. One is the guy who occasionally flirts with a political run and the other is the real estate mogul who is constantly on television and does quite well for himself from it. But now that the politically involved Trump is sucking up all the oxygen in the room, TV Trump may be suffocating.
Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster and one of the biggest U.S. networks, severed its relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, partly owned by Trump, because of Trump’s argument that illegal immigration from Mexico means that “they’re not sending their best… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” (“And some, I assume, are good people,” he added. You’re welcome, Mexico!) The network will not broadcast the July 12 Miss USA pageant, whose Spanish-language-simulcast cohosts also dropped out in protest.
Trump, suddenly encountering the reality that the “Universe” in “Miss Universe” includes, well, the rest of the world, lashed out, threatening a lawsuit and claiming that Univision was acting on the orders of the Mexican government. But that’s not his only TV problem. NBC–which has long had an ignore-it-and-hope-it-goes-away approach to the Apprentice host’s foibles–issued a rare public repudiation: “We do not agree with his positions on a number of issues, including his recent comments on immigration.” (The network didn’t take any action, though it said it will “re-evaluate” Celebrity Apprentice, because of equal-time regulations, if it would go into production while Trump is still a candidate.)
I only include this article on a Saturday evening because I have to confess that I’m still struggling with the whole Trump question myself. He’s declared his run officially and filed the required paperwork. He’s not raising any money, but he doesn’t really have to. In terms of staffing, he doesn’t exactly have a national staff, but he has been hiring some professionals in New Hampshire and has begun to spread out in some other states. When you take all of that into account, combined with the fact that if the man wants to run we should take him at his word, I feel like I have to take him seriously. Oh, and as previously mentioned, he’s in second place not only in the Granite State, but nationally in at least one poll as well.
And yet, while you’re free to cast stones at me for saying it, I just can’t shake the feeling that the man is playing a huge prank on us. Trump may be many things but he’s not a stupid man. He’s got to know the score. Yes, he’s got more than a few states where he can do pretty well as part of a crowded GOP primary field, but the numbers don’t seem to be there if it comes down to a one on one race at the finish. And in the general? He’s out there saying some things which may resonate very well with a disgusted base who are tired of candidates who don’t take a strong stand, but that’s a hard sell nationally. Parts of his speeches honestly seem more designed to generate clicks than build a coalition of support. And the Time article does bring up at least one valid point… Trump is a businessman. If this presidential bid starts cutting into his empire too severely, will he stick around?
But that’s enough of my moment of weakness. Back to business. If the man says he’s running… he’s running. Let slip the hounds, Donald. Let’s see what you’ve got.