JP Observer: You saw it here: Trump is not very popular

In the 19 states that have held popular vote primaries for both parties so far this year, calculation of the raw numbers published on the New York Times website reveals that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has earned 19.9 percent of the total votes cast. Here in Boston he got 16.6 percent, 16.9 in Massachusetts. (The numbers were calculated before the March 22 contests.)

Despite how he and major media puff up his primary numbers, the demagogue is not “winning” by most common sense standards. He hasn’t achieved even half of the Republican votes in any primary.

Every week, Trump’s outrageous behavior escalates. Hardly a day goes by that television and newspapers don’t report on a new Trump brouhaha or inflammatory statement.

As commentators point out, Trump is frightening. The idea of having him as president is so appalling, people talk about moving to Canada if he is elected, and Canadians have invited us there.

Many people react to this election news by expressing dismay about the state of our country, wondering how a racist, narcissistic, authoritarian like Trump could be so popular.

That any voters support him at all is a concern, but his regard hasn’t reached the nightmare proportions media would like us to think. If this election proceeds through Nov. 8 as it has so far, worried people can leave their suitcases in the closet and their passports on file.

Feeling afraid during this election season is appropriate for more fundamental reasons than having a right-wing crackpot in the race.

The country may be humiliated and made to suffer through a divisive Trump candidacy in the final election. Although all the Republican candidates so far this year are extremely conservative and unacceptable, Trump’s irrational conduct has made him the worst.

Trump, or any candidate who only gets a plurality or small majority of votes in a crowded primary field, should not automatically be given the nomination at a party convention.

routed… takes three states… winning sweeping victories… resounding triumph… takes home major victories… wins big… sweeping nearly every demographic… commands support…

These are quotes just from the New York Times and CBS News outlets describing Trump’s primary performances. Most major media, like them, have not only given Trump an extraordinary amount of coverage, but they have also greatly exaggerated his success so far.

Most journalists have failed to put the primaries in their complete, factual context. These news people are either incompetent, or, more likely, driven by the hot desire for ratings and readers that scaring the public with Trump brings.

Speaking on a panel in San Francisco on Feb. 29, according to the LA Times, CBS CEO Les Moonves said Trump’s campaign “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS” and, “The money’s rolling in, this is fun… it’s a terrible thing to say, but bring it on, Donald, go ahead, keep going.”

“If it bleeds, it leads,” is the old saying in bad journalism. Media need to stop irresponsibly inflating Trump’s popularity to get attention.

[Sandra Storey is founder and former publisher and editor of the Jamaica Plain Gazette.]




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