The entertainer has experience in so-called reality TV. Hillary Clinton doesn't stand a chance.
Forget the polls and everything the pundits are saying. Whether Donald Trump becomes our next president is likely to hinge on whether the remainder of the election season plays out in the traditional model of television fiction or whether it follows the path of so-called reality shows.
Given Trump’s history with reality television, he has a clear advantage if voters lean that way and will likely sail to an easy victory in November.
Traditional fiction follows a fairly standard model in which the protagonist encounters some obstacle, usually in the form of a villain, and works to overcome the challenge. In most cases, the villain will briefly get the upper hand, but ultimately the good guy will prevail.
In what passes for reality television, oftentimes we have two or more competing people who will stop at nothing to achieve their desired goal, even if it means walking over or through others to do it. Deception, outright lies, insults and ruthlessness are traits rewarded by the audience who, while they may not like the tactics, admire the execution.
Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, embodies all that people currently despise about Washington and the political elite. But Clinton has not engaged in the personal attacks or adolescent behaviors that we’ve seen from Trump over the course of the primary. In fact, she and her main challenger, Bernie Sanders, have with only a few exceptions made a point to project a more mature form of discourse. The message being, we can disagree without being disagreeable.
Trump has been the extreme opposite, going after all of his competitors with the gusto of a fifth grade bully on the school playground. Anyone who crosses him is sure to unleash a storm of insults, crude comments and just plain nastiness.
In the world of fictional television, the white knight would ride in and save the day from the likes of Trump. But this television show has no white knight. Clinton’s disapproval ratings rival Trump’s, albeit for different reasons. So we are left with two not so favorable protagonists, one of whom is going to emerge victorious. In that scenario, the fictional reality television show model prevails, where viewers aren’t so much cheering for one hated character as they are cheering against the other hated character.
Trump has experience in the orchestrated world of so-called reality television. He has his own catch phrase – You’re Fired. He is adept not only in the art of insult, but in the ability to entertain audiences. Clinton can’t shine up her tarnished armor in the few months between now and the election. No one is going to buy her as the white knight in the fictional television show. And while she may be well versed in playing tradition political games, she is ill prepared to face Trump one on one in a reality show game.
On his playing field, Trump will win. The only question remaining is what voters will think once the show is over, Trump is crowned the winner and we realize it wasn’t a reality show after all … that the results of our votes didn’t just knock someone off the island, but have real world (not the series) and long-lasting implications.