Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee. That is a sentence that over the past few months I slowly came to realize was an eventuality. I held out a hope until the end, but knew that Trump was going to be the nominee. He had the passionate (though considering their sometimes-violent tendencies that’s perhaps putting it lightly) support of a neglected-feeling contingent, the conservative extremists.
I realized Trump was going to win the nomination, though, when I saw how Trump began to command something else -- media. Admittedly, making fun of Trump is tempting, especially in the beginning when his whole candidacy seemed completely ludicrous, but it wasn’t long before it was impossible to escape Trump jokes. The internet seemed to erupt with new jokes about Trump’s looks or policies. And while a lot of great satire came from this, Trump still got a ton of free publicity from this, and it only served to whip his supporters into a fervor.
Let’s be honest, Trump makes for a fun (and terrifying) show and that was how he was treated for too long. It gave him a spotlight, a pedestal from which to shout his insane ideas. And, unsurprisingly, as Trump became someone inescapable for anyone who read a newspaper or went online, he found supporters.
By the time people realized that Trump was gaining a following, it was too late; he had become a viable candidate and had a league of supporters. He was no longer a joke.
The media had too much fun with Trump and talked about him any chance it could, effectively giving him free publicity. Trump was always in the public eye, his words always whispered in their ears. How could he not gain a following?
That’s not to say that Trump wasn’t inherently tapping into racist and xenophobic ideas that were simmering in America, but the media’s constant drumming up of Trump, the way it forced him to the forefront of the conversation, certainly helped Trump to remain in the public consciousness and to find voters.
Simultaneously, he wasn’t taken seriously; he was merely a ploy for increased readership. There’s the darkly amusing fact that papers weren’t trying to make Trump into a candidate and yet that is exactly what they helped do.