March 1, 2016
TRUMP THE LEADING dEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE
That’s democratic with a small d.
The most under-reported story of Super Tuesday is certainly not that Donald Trump has seized hold of the GOP nominating process or the Party’s internal revolt — that story has been beaten to death.
It is also not that Trump has used social media, like Bernie Sanders, to circumvent the establishment — that story is actually inaccurate in at least one important respect.
The most important story from the overall political perspective is HOW Donald Trump used social media.
Bernie Sanders used social media to raise millions of dollars so he could purchase TV and radio advertising to compete with the better-funded Clinton campaign. Trump is using social media to bypass the need for TV and radio advertising
Trumps use of social media as a persuasion tool, rather than primarily as a fundraising tool, ironically strikes at the core issue of the Sander’s campaign which is that big money has corrupted the political process. Trump’s campaign, which has spent far less on traditional media than any of his competitors, has proven that in the digital age, raising enormous amounts of funds for purchase of traditional media is far less critical than at any time in recent history. True, he has bought some media, constantly shows up on TV (but often only on the phone), and even sometimes shows up for televised debates, but it is his constant tweeting that has captured his remarkable support while almost no one in traditional media or the political establishment ever suspected he could.
Last week I asked my daughter who she was supporting, and she told me Bernie Sanders. I asked her how she decided and she told me she went online and used a tool that asked her opinion on various issues before telling her she supported Bernie over Hillary.
Millennials are making choices in different ways than we baby boomers did–less reliant on traditional media in ways that at least I had not realized (although Donald Trump apparently did). It is also noteworthy that this is a potentially optimistic evolution of political campaigning (although not the use of online programs telling you who you support). With essentially free access to millions of people through social media, we are opening up the gate to a truly more democratic political system. I’m also not sure that Trump’s coarse methods of using this new form of media is the only pathway for its use, rather, we can look for the use of this media to grow and mature just as previous media, print, movies, radio and television EVOLVED.
We may actually be moving toward a time when the enormous funds required to run political campaigns, and hence the need for incessant fundraising and all the problems that brings, may be past us.
Quite ironic if Donald winds up trumpeting in the era of a new more democratic political process.
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