Mind the Gap

Trump TV may be the inevitable outcome of The Donald’s candidacy

Trump’s reality TV experience makes him understand that the US presidential election campaign is really just a poorly acted, multibillion dollar mini-series

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 October, 2016, 7:43pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 January, 2017, 10:26am

The only sure revelation from this election is that Americans have demonstrated they are finally fed up and disgusted with its political elite.

Like a mad prophet of our times, Trump is bearing witness to this. And the political and business elite who gain comfort from the resounding wall of anti-Trump bias from mainstream media do not appreciate the apocalyptic choice that America faces on November 8th.

That is why a Trump television/media network is inevitable after the election. The Financial Times reported last week that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner spoke with a boutique deal making firm about the prospect of launching a television network. Trump denied that he has started any talks about starting a media company.

Trump’s reality show stardom helped him to understand that the presidential election campaign is really just a poorly acted, multi-billion dollar television mini-series. Its staggering production costs ironically include the political alienation of a big part of its audience. Empowering disenfranchisement becomes a passage to power.

The 2016 campaign shows the power of moving from the Information Age to the Digital Age. Information is plentiful, but mobile devices and social media platforms have enabled a level of reach never seen before. It allows candidates to precisely superserve their target segment rather than the scattered shotgun coverage of traditional media. For Trump, he can reach and nurture a 100 per cent market share of what Clinton called the ‘deplorables’.

Today, the internet is a more powerful communication base than the White House. Its ability to unite and disunite the population is much stronger. Unfettered by political correctness and any sense of decency, the internet will proactively fuel the next revolution.

Just look at the massive stadium sized crowds that make up Trump rallies. Then, examine the lukewarm room-sized crowds that attend a typical Clinton gathering. She may ultimately win the electoral college votes, but her supporters aren’t ardent and enthusiastic. But the underlying support that Trump or the anti-establishment movement wields is very raw and emotional. Perfect for a media platform.

Technology will allow Trump to run an opposition party or shadow presidency through social media. Indeed, he is already running as an independent candidate in anything but name as the Republican Party has pretty much deserted him.

But he doesn’t need a mainstream network or cable TV platform. Private equity investors told me it costs $300 million to $500 million to start up a cable channel and perhaps $300 million in annual revenues to sustain profits. That’s not easy to propel only on anti-Clinton conspiracies.

But, who wants to participate in mainstream media? It has disappointed many people with its brazenly biased political coverage; its credibility may never recover as viewers will take to the internet more than ever for the news and entertainment that they can pick and customise.

Bringing the discourse of national politics and a presidential administration down to the level of a reality network may be the best way to tear away the curtain that hides politicians who have brought America to the financial and economic precipice.

There is no longer any need for pretentious courtesies in the discourse of public affairs.

Americans are thirsting for real political change within or without their government.

Peter Guy is a financial writer and former international banker