Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Play On

So by now, everyone has heard of Donald Trump's latest "outrage," which goes something like this:
Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish — the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick... If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know. But... But I'll tell you what — that will be a horrible day.
And of course, people took the bait accusing Mr. Trump of essentially calling for the assassination of Mrs. Clinton.

But you could make a case, with a careful reading, that his world could point to something else entirely. And in this sense, Mr. Trump's defenders are right - people are reading what they want to see into his comments.

It's still working...
And that to me, is the point. No matter what reading of Mr. Trump's comments one subscribes to, taking them seriously and treating them as outrages simply allows Mr. Trump to continue to dominate the news cycle. Mr. Trump is intelligent enough to avoid saying anything that would really get him into trouble - or alienate his supporters. But by throwing out off-the-cuff, and more importantly, ambiguous remarks, he goads someone into reacting to him and those reactions become news, and that news becomes free campaign advertising.

It may not propel Mr. Trump to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but it's brilliant, nonetheless.

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