1. What happened?
It was June the 16
, 2015, when Donald Junior Trump, a nationwide known American businessman,
formally announced his candidacy for the United States presidential election of 2016. At Trump
Tower in New York City, firstly being introduced by his daughter Ivanca Trump as ,,a man, who
needs no introduction"
, he ascended a small podium in front of the middle-sized croud and after
cross-referencing about ISIS, the foreign policies of China, Japan and Mexico, the current economic
situation of the USA and Obamacare he finally spoke the magic words: ,,I am officially running (...)
for president of the United States"
The annoucement was followed by an endless series of amused comments, articles in the
media and statements from fellow party members regarding Trump and his intentions. Virtually no
established media attributed Trump a chance to win the race for the nomination. The Chicago Tribu-
ne for instance saw no ,,serious chance of winning" for Trump
, along the way The Guardian listed
all the reasons on ,,why Donald Trump won't win the Republican presidential nomination"
many media recognized the fact that Trump in the following months had a good standing in most
polls they doubted that he could affectively transfer his advance in the surveys into long-term elec-
toral successes. Even FiveThirthyEight, a website that is engaged with opinion poll analysis and is
best known for correctly predicting the vote winner of all 50 states in the 2012 presidential election,
climbed on the bandwagon and stated Trump indeed ,,winning the polls"
, but ,,losing the nominati-
". In short: Trump were attributed no serious chances to win the nomination and his ambitions
were mostly seen as a joke.
During the following months, though, the until there unthinkable became a reality. Week af-
ter week and primary after primary he forged ahead to the republican candidates field. Trump was
the candidate, who got more primary votes than any other Republican in the history of USA accu-
mulating 13,4 million votes and consequently relegating Bushs 12,1 million votes in the 2000 pri-
maries to the second place
. As a result Trump officially became the Republican Party's presidential
nominee for the presidential election of 2016.
In the light of this development from the initial commonly shared sight of Trump's candi-
1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_q61B-DyPk [accessed on 30.09.16]
2 http://time.com/3923128/donald-trump-announcement-speech/ [accessed on 30.09.16]
3 http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ [accessed on 30.09.16]
[accessed on 30.09.16]
5 http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/donald-trump-is-winning-the-polls-and-losing-the-nomination/ [accessed on
7 https://www.theatlas.com/charts/HJucYAHE [accessed on 30.09.16]
dacy as a foremost clownish one to his landslide victory of the Republican Party presidential
primaries and within the framework of this essay the following question arises:
Which factors lead to Trumps victories in the Republican Party presidential primaries and the follo-
wing GOP presidential nomination in 2016?
2. Why did it happen?
To understand Trump's victory of the Republican Party presidential primaries to the core an accurate
reflection on the sourrounding field of his former competitors is indispensable. To begin with there
has to be considered the quantity of the other Republican candidates: Starting with Ted Cruz, Sena-
tor of Texas, the former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush, the Senator Marco Rubio of Florida up to
the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich just to name a few all in all and besides Trump there were 16
major candidates for the race. This was a record in the number of presidential candidates for any
political party in American history
. The pattern of this field on its own, in which Trump was not
constrained to be confronted with a compact field of candidates but instead as luck would have it
was located inbetween a shattered group of many contestants, can be seen as one factor that lead to
Additional to the fragmented structure in the aggregate not one of Trumps competitors could
be described as a distuingished appearance
. The former governor Jeb Bush, for example, who in
comparison to the other candidates invested by far the highest amount of money into presidential
ads during his campaign in numbers: 82 million dollars
was mostly perceived as an unflatte-
ring candidate both by the media and the public. Symptomatic for this widely shared viewpoint is
the fact that in 2015 his campaign team missed out on purchasing the website JebBush.com, so that
visitors of the site were redirected to the Trump's campaign website
. Another of Trumps competi-
tors, Senator Marco Rubio, was characterized as a dreary candidate, having one of his most reported
moments during the Republican Party presidential primaries at a debate in New Hampshire in which
he repeated the same line about the in his opinion ongoing attempt Obamas to change the USA in a
negative way for four (!) times
In the first sight all of the above mentioned constellations the internal structure of the field
8 http://time.com/3948922/jim-gilmore-virginia-2016/ [accessed on 30.09.16]
[accessed on 30.09.16]
_r=2 [accessed on 30.09.16]
till-you-see-where-tedcruzforamerica-com-goes/ [accessed on 30.09.16]
12 http://time.com/4210991/marco-rubio-gop-debate-new-hampshire/ [accessed on 30.09.16]
of the Republican candidates and their individual weaknesses are not necesserely implicating an
advantage for Trump, but on closer inspection the interplay of the factors play into the hands of
Trump. Firstly there is the high number of candidates: Trump, long before announcing his participa-
tion in the presidential race and stepping into the political sphere, was already playing a part in the
public sphere. As a businessman, author and co-producer of his own tv-show ,,The Apprentice"
broadcasted on NBC Trump was yet well-known to a broad audience
. In the light of his degree
of popularity the highly fragmented field of republican candidates was fitting perfectly into Trumps
election battle and can be seen as one basic factor for Trumps victories in the primaries and his no-
mination. Secondly to the individual competitors of Trump and their weak points: Trump is infa-
mously noted for his aggressive behaviour towards rivals, previously mainly in the economic field
and in a more tabloid-character like way in his former television appearances. The New York Times
enumerates a total of 258 people, places and things Trump has insulted since his declaration for his
candidacy for president counting only the offences published on his twitter-account
those insults resided many that were directly aimed at the chinks of his political opponents. Trumps
,,specialty" in this connection was his ability for creating as simple as offending name callings: Lyin
´ Ted, low-energy Jeb and little Marco are just three of his many incidences that evolved into largely
recognizable known winged words and with permanent repetition began to assign to the adressed
competitors even if the ascriptions were not slighty tied to (their) real conditions
. The GOP field
that even aside from Trump and his rally could be characterized by a number of prevailingly
weak candidates and it's clash with Trumps ability to pick up on their weak points while meanwhile
escalating himself could be named as another factor that lead to Trump's nomination.
Aside of the internal structure of the candidates field on the GOP side there is also a factor
that could be described as a macro-level explanation for Trump's nomination. With the 2008 electi-
on of Barack Obama as president the Tea Party movement began to arise
. A driven force of the
grassroots movement was the activation of ,,racial fears and resentments"
due to Obamas presiden-
cy as the first black president. One in the movement widespread theory asserts Obama to not being
born in the United States and secretly being a Muslim
. Till the present the Tea Party can be consi-
dered as a influential force in the GOP and among its party-electorate. Altough some of the other
Republican candidates among those Ted Cruz had strong ties to the movement, Trump was the
[accessed on 30.09.16]
14 http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/28/upshot/donald-trump-twitter-insults.html [accessed on 30.09.16]
trumps-winning-strategy-nouns/ [accessed on 30.09.16]
16 Abramowitz, Grand Old Tea Party. Partisan Polarization and the Rise of the Tea Party Movement, p. 197.
18 Abramowitz, Grand Old Tea Party. Partisan Polarization and the Rise of the Tea Party Movement, p. 198.
only one embracing some of the Tea Partys most radical positions by publicly doubting the
authenticity of Obamas birth certificate
and expressing the wish to ban all Muslims from entering
the United States
. In doing so he was securing the backing and votes of this movement.
One generally not in the first place mentioned factor for Trumps victories in the Republican
Party presidential primaries and caucuses and therein lies the core-issue of this essay can be
found in the media coverage of Trump and his election campaign. Before misconceptions arise: The
term of media coverage in the context of this essay refers primer to the US-american media landsca-
pe. In its structure it consists of 1800 television stations, 10.000 daily and weekly newspapers and
15.000 radio stations that emit nonstop information in the United States, in which on the big five
media corporations Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch´s News Corporation, General Electric/NBC
und CBS Corp. control over 90% of the US-market
. The US-american media landscape therefo-
re can be described as a highly privatized and capitalistic one.
From the very first moment of Trumps campaign on beginning with his presidential an-
noucement speech every single one of his actions and comments was registered and reproduced
by and in the media. Indeed, in his annoucement speech Trump claimed that people were being send
from Mexico to the United States while ,,bringing drugs, ... bringing crime"
and being ,,rapists"
This insults dominated the headlines for many days. As it was the very first of Trumps numerous
claims as a political figure it is comprehensible that the media picked up the topic, but instead of de-
picting the ridiculousness of the contention in a critical manner and thereby debunking Trumps
words as what they were absurd and abusive claims the media repeated the event over and over
again in an attention-grabbing way and only hyped it by doing so. Altough this was the first one of
Trump's some say well-thought-out taboo-brakes, all of the numerous following ones took their
course in the same patterns.
At this juncture it is important to mention that the described omnipresence of Trump in the
media is not resulting from a subjective viewpoint or feeling, but can be condensed in hard num-
bers: medianQuant, a company that among other things seeked the media coverage of the Republi-
can candidates and calculates their dollar merit, came to the conclusion that Trump, in the time peri-
od from his annoucement speech to march 2016, got an amount of earned media comments and
news on him or his campaign, for which he had to pay nothing equivalent to nearly 2 billion dol-
19 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/27/donald-trump-cpac_n_6756836.html [accessed on 30.09.16]
foreigners/2016/06/13/c9988e96-317d-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html [accessed on 30.09.16]
21 http://www.bpb.de/internationales/amerika/usa/10707/medien-in-den-usa [accessed on 30.09.16]
22 http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/17/opinions/kohn-donald-trump-announcement/ [accessed on 30.09.16
Excerpt out of 9 pages
- Quote paper
- Dalien Tru (Author), 2016, Trump and the media, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/387033