What is the real reason Donald Trump is running for president?
One fascinating possibility posited by Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine: Trump wants to create a “mini-media conglomerate.”
Chait opines that Trump’s consistently irrational actions belie the concept that he has any real interest in serving as president; noting Politico reported of Trump’s cursory efforts to contact donors, despite the fact that his campaign is in arrears.
It is entirely possible that Trump is simply in way over his head — he wants to be president but doesn’t know how to go about it, and he trusts his own instincts far too much. The alternate possibility is that he has a different motive. In this scenario, Trump is not completely incompetent, but is shrewdly, or at least rationally, following a plan to enrich or otherwise gratify himself.
Chait cites a Vanity Fair piece by Sarah Ellison that reveals Trump has been discussing founding a media venture that would cater to his supporters. She wrote, “According to several people briefed on the discussions, the presumptive Republican nominee is examining the opportunity presented by the ‘audience’ currently supporting him. He has also discussed the possibility of launching a ‘mini-media conglomerate’ outside of his existing TV-production business, Trump Productions LLC.” Ellison continues:
He has, according to one of these people, enlisted the consultation of his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who owns the The New York Observer. Trump’s rationale, according to this person, is that, “win or lose, we are onto something here. We’ve triggered a base of the population that hasn’t had a voice in a long time.” … Trump, this person close to the matter suggests, has become irked by his ability to create revenue for other media organizations without being able to take a cut himself.
Sensing that Trump has an intuitive understanding of his followers, Chait writes that Trump grasps that his supporters are part of a culture that “wallows within its own imaginary world, in which Barack Obama is a foreign-born agent of anti-American interests, global warming is a lie concocted by greedy scientists or perhaps the Chinese, and hordes of foreigners are rendering the United States unrecognizable.”
Chait concludes that Trump has seen how his candidacy and the attendant publicity have benefited the media; he writes, “Trump may have figured out that there’s no reason he should work for them when he can cut out the middleman.”