The Trump Paradox: Supporters Take Him Seriously, Reporters Take Him Literally

Trump’s supporters take much of what he says seriously, but not literally. The reverse is true of the press and his opponents: they don’t take the Republican nominee seriously, but they take his rhetoric to be literal.

By Michael MarksSeptember 26, 2016 12:44 pm| ,

Deciphering Donald Trump has dominated the 2016 presidential election. Is his appeal what he says or how he says it? Do his grand plans and promises offer clues to a future Trump doctrine or are they reality TV bluster?

Salena Zito, columnist at the New York Post and a political journalist, wrote in The Atlantic about the Trump paradox.

Trump’s supporters take much of what he says seriously, but not literally. The reverse is true of the press and his opponents: they don’t take the Republican nominee seriously, but they take his rhetoric to be literal.

Zito says she was trying to understand how voters think completely differently from the press.

“The problem is, again, that we as political journalists are looking at it from a completely different lens,” she says. “Some voters may not particularly love Donald Trump, what they like about him is that he is disruptive and he puts the political class on their head. … If he says something absolutely ridiculous, completely untrue, they look at that like something they would do.”

What you’ll hear in this segment: 

– How this dynamic creates a “double standard” for Hillary Clinton

– Why this is an explanation, rather than a justification, for how Trump has conducted his campaign

– What Trump himself said about her thesis