Trump's Vanishing Entertainment Value

Oh, maybe something interesting will happen during the Last Presidential Debate. After all, those two have 90 minutes to fill. Mainly, it’s up to Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton has become the straight man in this campaign.

And it might be that Donald Trump’s trick bag is just about empty.

David Sable, the CEO of Young & Rubicam, and Will Johnson, president of Y&R-owned BAV Consulting, co-authored a piece on the CNN Website that suggests that the Trump campaign has become “a sputtering machine burdened with a leader who is becoming the one thing Trump never was before -- boring.”

Y&R and BAV follow the Trump brand closely. They say the public is losing its fascination for Trump. “Because he has sought to appeal to voters mainly as an unconventional choice, Trump has depended far more on personality than gravitas to sell himself,” they write. “But it is becoming clear that the public is no longer intrigued by him.”

Their data say consumers who say Trump is “distinctive” are down 10%, “fun” down 13%, “trendy” down 17% or “stylish,” down 21%.

They add, among swing voters, “Trump is 17% less fun, a whopping 37% less ‘dynamic’ and 30.6% less distinctive that he was just 90 days ago. This same cohort found Trump to be 31% less ‘unique.’ “

His name is so tarnished, they say, he may have to rebrand his hotels and other properties. Suddenly, he owns declasse hotels. No! The Donald? 

You may wonder what “fun” has to do with politics. I don’t. We seem to enjoy a good laugh from our politicians, and Trump has made his backers laugh with his outrageous, awful statements that have entertaining shock value. No politician has ever caused so many spit takes.

But Don Rickles with goofy hair has just gotten old. . I’ve mentioned this before. It’s not that “the shrill is gone” or that what he says is any less depressing and un-American. It’s just that we’ve heard it before and it’s not a message that sounds better over time.

Joel Espelien at The Diffusion Group has added his marvelous two-cents to the discussion. He  wonders what, if anything, the decline in NFL viewership this year has to do with our collective fascination with the campaign. Have Trump and Clinton and shouting partisans on CNN become a better blood sport than an actual sport in which athletes are--medically but heroically --rendered senseless?  

He mentions Thomas H. Davenport and John C. Beck’s 2002 book, The Attention Economy, in which they argued that in a information and media-saturated world, everybody suffers from attention deficit disorder.

Trump seems to be a poster boy for ADD, which may explain how he hops from slur to new slur so easily, and meanders into outer space answering even the most direct questions. But looked at it from that perspective, Trump, too, is just another topic, and we’ve gotten bored. 

Even Clinton feels this way, Espelien points out. A few days ago, she told a San Francisco audience how numbing Trump’s act has become.

"It makes you want to turn off the news. It makes you want to unplug the Internet or just look at cat GIFs,” she said. “Believe me, I get it. In the last few weeks I've watched a lot of cats do a lot of weird and interesting things."
6 comments about " Trump's Vanishing Entertainment Value".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 19, 2016 at 1:16 p.m.

    So why are Clinton and Trump tied in the latest polls (Rasmussen and LA Times)? Maybe the CNN website is not the authoritative voice on Trump.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 19, 2016 at 1:59 p.m.

    People's attention spans have been getting shorter and shorter, about the size of a flea. Even KK is giving second thoughts about the media that made her KK. Kitties are cute, soft, need human care and attention and provide a lot of love. So do doggies, BTW. Not so much for the rodents carrying the bubonic plague.

  3. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development, October 19, 2016 at 3:15 p.m.

    As my father used to say in his vaudeville act, "I doubt it, but I don't think so." Me, I hope you're right but I'm with my dad on this one. I think if anything Trump's antics are more the definition of "defining deviancy down" in the sense that they no longer really shock the average person. His first bunch of comments, particularly on McCain and making fun of the handicap of the print reporter, should have left him in the ash heap but, alas, they were just the beginning. Thankfully it will all be over soon.

  4. Peter Harvey from Inrtelli-global, October 19, 2016 at 7:19 p.m.

    I'll eat my laptop if Trump comes out ahead tonight. Even so, Let's all welcome president Hillary. When you see her big smile just remember:

    1) "Where is the GD flag? I want the GD f'ng flag up every morning at sunrise".

    Hillary to staff at the Arkansas Governor's mansion on Labor Day 1991. From the book "Inside the White House" by Ronald Kessler, p. 244

    (2)“F... off!  It's enough I have to see you s__t-kickers every day! I'm not going to talk to you, too!  Just do your GD job and keep your mouthshut."Hillary to her State Trooper bodyguards after one of them greeted her with "Good Morning." From the book "America Evil" by Christopher Anderson, p.90

    (8) "Come on Bill, put your d--k up! You can't f... her here!!"

    Hillary to Gov. Bill Clinton when she spots him talking with an attractive female. From the book "Inside the White House" by Ronald Kessler, p. 243

  5. Chuck Lantz from, network replied, October 19, 2016 at 10:13 p.m.

    Douglas: I can't speak with any authority on the LA Times polls, but I can about Rasmussen's "polling." Their reputation as a reliable polling entity, based on their extremely flawed methodology, is - to use Donald Trump's favorite term - a disaster.

    Have they been accurate at times? Yes, but a popular broken watch meme comes to mind.

  6. Chuck Lantz from, network replied, October 19, 2016 at 10:21 p.m.

    "Eight quotes from different books. Her actual words."

    Which are they? ... Quotes from different books, or her actual words? There is - way too often - a very big difference between the two.

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