The Race to the White House: Analyzing Donald Trump’s Campaign Strategy

Donald Trump, needless to say, is a polarizing candidate. This manifests in his opinions and, more prominently, in his campaign strategy. He touts “Make America Great Again,” and treats it as his life’s goal condensed into a campaign slogan. Regardless of one’s personal political views, Trump is, at the very least, interesting; and notably, nearly every step of his campaign is shrouded in controversy.

Trump brazenly attacks his fellow candidates for any reason he sees fit. Recall the infamous “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” criticism, which referenced the physical appearance of fellow Republican candidate Carly Fiorina. Later, he qualified his statement as an attack on her persona.

Either way, Trump’s filter is certainly little to none, inasmuch he often makes remarks that many people have difficulty agreeing with. Even so, Trump remains a leading contender in the field for the Republican nomination, according to USA Today’s 2016 GOP Power Rankings.

This is due, in no small part, to his campaign strategy. Instead of the traditional and standard practices of rhetorically heavy speeches and rehearsed responses at debates which other candidates perform, Trump does as Trump pleases. Undeniably, he bombards social media with petty insults directed at whoever dares oppose him and, furthermore, speaks without restraint during debates. Largely, preliminary voters being polled on the Republican nomination are at least intrigued by him, per a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, where Trump remains in the lead within the poll’s margin of error.

In a move unprecedented for a front runner, he is scheduled to host “Saturday Night Live” for the second time Nov. 7. This figures to be another high energy event centered around Trump drawing even more attention to himself, evidenced by a petition to remove him from the show that has garnered significant attention since his plans to host were announced. Trump hosted SNL for the first time in 2004, where he said, “Nobody’s bigger than me, nobody’s better than me. I’m a ratings machine.”

Trump received just as much hype and press for the CNN Democratic Debate as the Democratic candidates did, adding tens of thousands of viewers. Too, he was trending on Twitter throughout the debate, according to a CNN article about the social media impacts of the debate. Along with fellow candidate Ben Carson, Trump demanded that CNBC change the format for the upcoming Republican debate, and they saw their demands fulfilled.

He continues to be controversial, in addition to constantly seeking to be the center of attention whenever he can be. Trumps appears to be adhering to the adage “All press is good press,” and it seems to be serving him well as a campaign strategy.

By: Parker Brown ’19

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