AUGUST 25, 2016
Sometimes watching Donald Trump, I get the feeling that he’s not serious about wanting to be President. He’d love the title and the power, of course, but I suspect that he has little interest in actually, you know, governing.
The whole idea of the Trump campaign as being this mad-whim-gone-awry was leant further credence on Wednesday when some party leaders expressed concern about Trump’s declaration that, should he lose, it will be because he was “cheated” or that the election was “rigged,” which to them signals a defeatist attitude and, perhaps worse, a suggestion that he would not concede should Hillary Clinton win.
OK, let’s take this idea to its logical end. If Trump loses on November 8, he’ll huff and puff and stamp his feet, saying that the election was stolen from him, but Hillary Clinton will still be inaugurated on January 20. Then the cameras and the crowds cheering Trump will disappear, so what’s the next step for the publicity-hungry mogul?
I would suggest taking a look at some of the people whom Trump has brought into his campaign. When he demoted (and basically fired) Paul Manafort last week, he hired as his new campaign chairman Steve Bannon, the Executive Chairman of the right-wing website Breitbart News. Bannon has zero experience in running a political campaign, but that’s not important to Trump since he runs things his way anyway. What’s key for Trump is that Bannon headed up a nutty but influential news organization.
Add to that the presence in the Trump campaign of Roger Ailes, creator of Fox News who recently stepped down after accusations of sexual harassment by several of his female employees. Whatever you may think about Ailes (and I don’t think much of him), he does know how to speak to Republican audiences, and that skill is an invaluable one to the Trump campaign. For the record, Trump denies that Ailes is an official part of the Trump campaign, but…whatever.
Still, the presence of these two media moguls in Trump World does suggest that there might be a Plan B for a businessman who may miss the media attention once his campaign goes down the drain. Is there room on the dial for a Trump News Network?
Before you laugh it off, hear me out. Trump’s Presidential run will certainly be looked at as historic (for better or worse), which gives him some credibility in the journalistic world. And if he has Ailes (who knows how to run a network) and Bannon (who has experience providing content, even it is of the “Hillary has a brain tumor” variety), there is a solid basis there for a new network. Much as Ted Turner was the face of CNN in its early years, Trump could be on-camera (which he loves) for the new TNN, satisfying his craving of the spotlight.
If MSNBC is perceived as the network of the left, CNN the network of the center and Fox News the network of the right, the Trump News Network could be the network of the far right, or the “alt-right” as Clinton calls it, and the amount of support that Trump has received, even in a losing effort, might be enough to sustain Trump’s presence on television for years to come.
In any case, it beats having to fire Meat Loaf on “The Apprentice.”