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Donald Trump: Alas, babble on

By Harvey Dzodin ( Updated: 2015-12-15 08:35

Old and new media are Trump's enablers. The media needs to play hardball with Trump and the other candidates but soft ball is all that they can manage. Why? They don't want to risk losing the rating's bonanza that they have helped create by revealing the true nature of Trump and other Republicans. Trump especially paints in broad brush strokes but never finishes with detailed strokes. The media usually gives him a pass. Take Trump's connections with alleged organized crime figure Felix Sater.

The new media has been a game-changer. More information is available than ever before. But nowadays it's not easy to differentiate professional sources of information from amateurs and shills. The less educated the audience is, the more difficult it is for them to distinguish one from the other. And Trump supporters are the least educated of any of the other candidate's supporters.

Also, 21st century social media, like 20th century talk radio, is full of extremist. One can easily mistake that they represent the viewpoint of the masses, rather than a finite number of unhinged lunatics. Although the philosophical models are completely different, one has to wonder if in fact there is isn't some virtue in China's model of internet sovereignty.

Some have compared Trump to Adolph Hitler. It's not a fair comparison at all. There is one example with a very familiar name who was the Trump of his era: Henry Ford. Like Trump, Ford was worshipped by his base as an eccentric billionaire political outsider perceived as a straight-shooter, who was rich enough that he didn't need any financial backing. While Trump is a modern day crusader fighting barbarian Islamists at the gate, Ford ranted about Jews controlling the world.

Ford dropped out along the way but there's no telling what Trump might do. No matter if Trump drops out or not, he has contributed greatly to making the Republican party even more extremist than it was.

This may help insure Hillary Clinton's election but it means that unless the Democrats can retake control of the Senate, something Trump as nominee might unintentionally accomplish, her job will be the biggest challenge of her long political career.

The author is a senior adviser to Tsinghua University and former director and vice-president of ABC Television in New York.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and don't represent views of China Daily website.

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