“It would be reductive — and dismissive of the conservative and populist forces behind [Donald] Trump’s rise — to say that his campaign simply means that politics has become reality TV. But Mr. Trump’s style does suggest that he learned at least as much about campaigning in the boardroom of ‘The Apprentice’ as in any actual boardroom.”
Poniewozik’s piece adds: “Like reality TV itself, Mr. Trump is a love-or-hate proposition. In a general election, true, you need much more than 23 percent of the vote (which is Mr. Trump’s number in a recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll of the Republican field). But in today’s television, a 23 share is a landslide — and in a crowded primary in an ideologically fragmented party, it is large enough for first place.
“Understanding these dynamics has let Mr. Trump reverse the polarity of primary campaigning. Where traditional candidates have gaffes, he has publicity opportunities. Even his ugliest remarks — saying, after a rough debate on Fox News, that the moderator Megyn Kelly had ‘blood coming out of her wherever‘ — seemed, among his followers, to burnish his reputation as a straight shooter. It’s [MTV’s] ‘The Real World’ approach to politics: Let me show you, America, what happens when candidates stop being polite and start getting real!”
To read Poniewozik’s entire essay, please click here.