Just over four years ago, I wrote a piece for The Huffington Post entitled Donald Trump Is Going To Be Elected President.
While everyone else (pretty much) was saying that Hillary had it in the bag, I felt that Trump would win because he understood TV in a way that Hillary did not.
And Donald Trump is great TV.
He knows how to entertain.
He understands ratings.
Hillary Clinton is crap TV.
She may be smarter, better prepared, a better politician. It won’t matter. She is terrible entertainment.
That’s just how it is. Depressing, but true.
He is Kim Kardashian. She is Judy Woodruff.
Who gets better ratings?
Four years later, Donald Trump remains great TV.
The problem for Trump is that four years later, TV is not what it used to be.
It has been eclipsed by the digital world. The stars of Instagram, YouTube and TikTok (for as long as it survives) far outpace tired old Reality TV shows.
The future belongs to the candidate who is great digital entertainment, which is different from hosting your own Reality TV show.
You could see the difference in the two party conventions. Biden’s was Digital; Trump’s was Analog. Biden’s was IGTV. Trump’s was The Miss Universe Contest.
Trump’s act is old. Tired. Very 1980's.
Biden’s convention, or whoever produced it, was very online digital and hip.
Whether Biden is hip, I tend to doubt.
And that is where the “COULD win” part comes into play. If it’s a pure head to head between Biden and Trump, then probably Trump takes it. But if Biden can occupy the high digital ground, a place that Donald Trump does not begin to comprehend, as his Apprentice-like GOP Convention Show clearly demonstrated (Flags! Songs! Girls! Fireworks Galore!!!), then Biden wins.
But how does Biden do that?
Not by making yet another video of himself talking. Very analog.
What made the Democratic Convention do very digital was that it was not really about Biden. It was a compendium of “America” online, (to coin a phrase). It was not about Biden, it was about us.
And what, after all, is Instagram… Or Facebook… Or TikTok about. They are about… US.
All of us.
So how could Biden do this?
There are more than 260 million smartphones in America. That’s 260 million TV production studios ready to go.
If the Democrats were able to replicate their brilliant digital convention on a daily basis, that is, to fire up say 20 or 30 million Americans across the country to make small videos about why they are voting for Biden (or against Trump — trust me, 30 million is a very conservative number), and then get those people to perpetually upload those videos for the next 60 days, flooding the blogosphere, Biden would bury Trump.
The Miss Universe Content vs. Instagram.
Trump may have been able to put together a rally (in pre-Covid days) and get 20,000 people to show up. What is that compared with 20 million people online — each with their own voice?
Biden could do this. And win.
All the pieces are already in place.
All he has to do is turn it on.