Donald Trump Needs a New Season

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Ashley Parker and Amy Chozick at the New York Times have written a piece on how Donald Trump appears to be slowing down. Here’s one of the quotes they use from me.

“It’s kind of a like a season of TV shows — eventually people burn out on them,” said Erick Erickson, a conservative commentator who runs RedState.com. “We’ve had a season of Trump and the plot hasn’t changed, there’s no new twist, and people are starting to move on to other TV shows.”

Donald Trump needs a new season.

Here’s what I’ve learned in radio. I can have the same monologue two or three days in a row. The people on Tuesday are not necessarily the people on Monday listening. And when I do it again on Wednesday, the people who heard me on Monday or Tuesday who hear it on Wednesday think, “Haven’t I heard this before?” If I then give the same monologue on Thursday and Friday, they all realize it is the same monologue and they change the channel for new material.

The same goes for television. I like the show Arrow. But the show has become exceedingly repetitive. I find I can turn it off and catch back up later. Eventually, I may stop watching. After a few seasons of Downton Abbey, I had enough. Sherlock was the same way as was the Mentalist. The same show can only keep me emotionally invested and hold my attention for so long.

Everyone is like that. Netflix has been studying how long it takes to capture an audience’s attention. They haven’t really talked about the other part of what they studied — how long before a viewer gives up a television show and what are the signs. From my own experience in television and radio, the biggest is repetition followed closely by predictability.

All of these play into Trump. And it is the cost of all that media attention. As I noted earlier, Trump’s surge in the polls came after the explosive media attention. But as he has stayed in the media and people have seen Trump on his own in debates, the audience is seeing the same repetition and predictability. The press is moving on and so too are the viewers. Everybody is ready for a second act, a new season, or something new. That should have been the Trump policy roll out season, but it fell rather flat. In the mean time, viewers have drifted to the Carson network, the Fiorina network, the Cruz network, and the Rubio network.

More from the New York Times:

An analysis by Kalev H. Leetaru, a fellow at George Washington University who studies media and society, found that while Mr. Trump still dominates Republican candidate mentions on network television — nearly 54 percent of all mentions — the blanket coverage started to slowly decline at the end of August and into September. His share of airtime dropped below 40 percent multiple times as candidates like former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, Mr. Carson, Mrs. Fiorina and Mr. Rubio have garnered more attention.…

And Zignal Labs found that as Mr. Trump’s share of media attention declined, both Mr. Carson and Mrs. Fiorina saw their shares increase. “It’s an interesting question of who is losing who,” said Josh Ginsberg, chief executive of Zignal Labs. “Are voters reacting off of conservative media, or is conservative media reacting off of voters?”

Donald Trump’s schtick is wearing thin. The jokes are all the same, becoming lame. Voters want to be entertained by Trump and his entertainment value is declining. Laugh In is not funny when the jokes are the same every week.

About the author

Erick Erickson
By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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