I like Charlie Spiering’s take: “I’m just shocked that Huffington Post thinks that racist comments about Mexicans are entertaining.”
After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.
I’m shocked too. Democrats have been working overtime lately to frame Trump as the face of the Republican Party. The last thing a liberal outfit like HuffPo should want to do now is separate him from the rest of the field by ghettoizing him.
There are two camps on this. Camp one: It’s their site, their rules. They’re making a statement about the legitimacy of Trump’s campaign. If they want to photoshop clown make-up onto him in every photo, hey. Camp two: The guy is leading in the polls. He may have no chance at the nomination, but like it or not, he’s part of the landscape of mainstream American politics for the moment. Republican voters should decide who’s a legitimate candidate, not grumpy HuffPo lefties. Their verdict as of July 17th:
Among Republican primary voters, Trump captures 18 percent. He’s closely followed by Walker at 15 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 14 percent. No one else reaches double-digits.
Support for Trump is up seven percentage points since last month and up 14 points since May. He’s also the candidate GOP primary voters say they are most interested in learning more about during the debates…
Trump’s June 16 announcement speech included provocative comments on illegal immigration that people are still talking about a month later, including the suggestion that the Mexican government is sending criminals and rapists to the United States. Whatever the blowback, his views resonate with many: 44 percent of voters think Trump is “basically right” on the issue. A 53-percent majority disagrees. Among Republican primary voters, 68 percent say he is right.
HuffPo’s sensitive to the potential problem here. Even if you think the Trump candidacy is a self-aggrandizing distraction, a prank a la Guy Grand being pulled a billionaire who’s in it mainly for the attention and the lulz, the Trump boomlet among GOP voters is a real, fascinating thing. For starters, to their surprise, pollsters have yet to find any unifying demographic variables among Trump voters; they’re not from any particular region of the country or even from any particular wing of the GOP. And Trump, despite his phenomenal fame, has somehow managed to change Republican voters’ impressions of him from highly unfavorable to highly favorable almost overnight by taking an outspoken position on crimes committed by illegal immigrants. Said one pollster to Politico, “I’ve never seen a candidate who’s so well known who was able to suddenly turn around people’s opinions of him.” All of that is a legit political story by any measure.
And according to an e-mail from editor Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post agrees:
We’re announcing today that from now on we’ll be covering The Donald’s presidential campaign in our Entertainment section. Up until now, we had erroneously been covering him as an actual presidential candidate…
Now, the impact he’s having on the Republican Party and the immigration debate is itself a real thing, and we’ll cover that as substance, but anything that tumbles out of his mouth will land on the Entertainment paige [sic].
So Trump goes in entertainment and Trumpmania goes in politics. That’s … awkward, but as a gimmick designed to tickle a lefty readership that loathes Trump to the core (after all he’s done for them), it’s not half bad. Besides, I can’t throw stones: If we end up with a Bush/Clinton election, I’ll be so checked out that every campaign post will be a de facto palate cleanser.
Here’s the man himself proving again that he knows what the GOP base wants to hear.