The Trump Phenomenon Digitally Unpacked

We may be missing one essential aspect of why the Trump phenomenon continues to trend despite the ceaseless parade of gaffes by the most unconventional major presidential candidate the West has ever seen.

I just ran a basic digital engagement comparative assessment of the primary digital media assets of the two leading US Presidential candidates, and Trump leads Hillary by a wide stretch.

Here is probably what is happening: faced with such a strange, and befuddling, candidate, one who can’t seem to stay on script or act in anyway remotely like an actual presidential candidate, the outraged media decided not to treat him like one. It has matched every caustic jab from his mouth with denunciation and resorted to treating him like Pol Pot in a bling tuxedo, that is with a mixture of revulsion and comic derision.

The public, tired of the one-dimensional portrayal, has grown more intrigued and has been bypassing the media coverage in search of other perspectives and a more nuanced narrative. And the only place they can get it is the man’s own websites and social media accounts. There they have found drama, but they have also found variety. Whether this is a product of well-paid PR consultants or the reality of a more complex human being than the media coverage insists, people are engaging more and connecting directly with the candidate.

For example, on Twitter, positive engagement with Trump’s self-generated content is 3 to 4 times higher than Hillary’s. Consistently over the last 3 months.

It is clearly getting to a point where people might switch off from the mainstream coverage of the Trump campaign altogether. If that happens the value of positive endorsements and coverage of Hillary will start to drop dramatically because in a competitive electoral campaign, such endorsements are only valuable *in comparison*. Where people are unwilling to *participate* in the invitation to compare, then that whole approach to media influence in politics loses its very essence.

Therein may lie the reason for the media’s inability to significantly shift public mood in this campaign season in America.

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