Wrapping Our Heads Around the Trump Effect

“If you get good ratings … then you’re gonna be on all the time, even if you have nothing to say.”

By Rhonda FanningSeptember 15, 2015 9:21 am,

An estimated 20,000 people packed into the American Airlines Center last night to see The Donald live in Dallas, Texas.

Politico reported that tickets sold out so fast, scalpers were selling pairs of passes online for $200.

But there was one line that seemed to go right over the heads of the producers picking the sound bites. As the talking heads furrow their brows to explain how Donald Trump is “winning” – as he puts it – and as political analysts twist to account for the Trump effect, the candidate himself, nailed it last night.

He says that on TV, it’s “all Trump, all the time.”

“Their ratings are through the roof. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t put me on, I’ll be honest with you,” Trump says. “It’s a very simple formula in entertainment and television, if you get good ratings…then you’re gonna be on all the time, even if you have nothing to say.”

Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha, professor and chair of the University of North Texas Political Science Department, tells the Standard tells the Standard whether Trump’s comment has merit.

He says that the relationship between TV and presidential politics is “highly interrelated.” 

Eshbaugh-Soha explains the cyclical effect polling has this early in the presidential race.

“If you rise in the polls, you’re gonna get that news coverage,” he says. “Unless you do something to minimize your standing, you’re going to continue to get news coverage, which further perpetuates your strong poll numbers.”

Eshbaugh-Soha says Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are examples along with Trump.