You want to defeat Donald Trump?
You aren't going to do it with conventional politics.
Like the Alan Turing character says in The Imitation Game: 'you need a machine to defeat a machine'.
So too with Trump.
Trump has risen to the number one spot in the GOP race for the Presidency not because of his outstanding credentials as a political leader or his fantastic track record as a governor or a senator. Not at all. Rather, he has achieved his success (and I think he may be only at the beginning of his run), because he is the first Presidential candidate to match the most popular activity of the American people. Watching TV.
In particular, Reality TV.
Americans are the world's greatest television watchers on the planet. We are Olympic class TV watchers, averaging a staggering 4.5 to 5 hours a day. That is a lot of TV. In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell says that if you do something for 10,000 hours, you will become a world class expert. Play the piano for 10,000 hours and you become a concert pianist. Play tennis for 10,000 hours and you become a tennis pro. Ski for 10,000 hours and you can become an Olympic class skier.
Well, by the time we reach the age of 40, the average American has spent a mind boggling 63,000 hours watching TV. That makes pretty much everyone in the country world-class TV watchers. Olympic class TV watchers. It is in our blood.
Is it any wonder then, that we instinctively resonate with the first TV professional to run for the Presidency? And in a medium awash in 'Reality Shows' - from The History Channel to National Geographic, how can a Reality TV Star not touch something deep within all of us to make us think- 'there is something about this guy that I instinctively like. I can't put my finger on it.'
Of course you instinctive 'trust' him. You have been conditioned for it over years and years of continual 'watching'.
And let's be honest. Jeb Bush is crap TV. So are Cruz and Perry and Rubio and the rest of them. And so is Hillary. They are not fun to watch. They are not entertaining. They are boring. Boring! Hillary is boring! Jeb is boring! Christie? Feh.... OK, but not great. Occasionally entertaining. Carson likewise. And entertaining is what it is all about. The Donald said so himself when he said he'd easily win if he ran with Oprah. And he was right. Here is a man who clearly understands entertainment, television and the American people.
Neil Postman predicted this more than 40 years ago when he wrote his seminal book, "Amusing Ourselves to Death". He said that as public discourse moved increasingly into TV, the only thing that would survive would be things that people found 'entertaining'. Television, he said, was fundamentally a medium of entertainment. Everything that went through the lens of television would have to become 'entertainment' to survive.
And so it has come to pass. We vote for the best entertainer. The most entertaining political figure is the winner. And that is Trump. He kills. The rest are dead.
So how can the Democrats defeat The Donald? Like the man in the movie says, you need a machine to beat a machine.
The Democrats should wake up, ditch Hillary (who has all the entertainment of a schoolmarm), and find someone even more entertaining and better TV than The Donald if they expect to win.
My suggestion: Take The Donald at his word and undercut him while you can. Draft Oprah. It's your only chance. Jon Stewart? Good TV but does not really rate big numbers. But Oprah? A ratings titan! And she doesn't seem to be doing much these days.
If you think the Fox GOP debates got viewership wait until you see the Presidential debate between Trump and Oprah. 90% viewership, I bet. The ad spots will go for more than the Superbowl. Battle of the Titans. The Thrillers in Cleveland (or wherever it takes place).
Of course, once the election is over, we'll all have to live with President Trump or President Oprah, But what the heck, move a few cameras into the White House and we'll have a Reality Show that will go on for years.
The country may go to hell in a hand basket, but at least it will be fun to watch.
Like they say in Hollywood: That's Entertainment!