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."