Donald Trump, Breather of Oxygen

Trump sucks all the oxygen out of the room. How will he use it?

Anyone who can read this article is well aware that oxygen is a requirement for human life.  If we find ourselves in a situation in where there is a shortage of oxygen, we will quickly lose strength, pass out, and eventually die.

Because it's a much rarer circumstance, we may not be as familiar with the dangers of too much oxygen.  Over the years, though, medical personnel have learned the hard way that an oxygen tent can all too quickly become a raging, all-consuming inferno.

Political Oxygen

The same holds true in politics.  Occasionally you hear someone say that a loud-talking candidate "takes all the oxygen out of the room."  This means that he is skilled at getting and keeping the attention of the media, and with them donors and voters.

Of course, there are only so many news-minutes and newspaper pages per day; an article covering Politician A is an article not covering Politician B.  If one candidate consumes all the oxygen there's nothing left for anybody else.

.  Every presidential candidate knows that in order to get elected, you first must get noticed.  However, this isn't just a skill for politics.  Hollywood stars, pop singers, celebrities of every sort, and web sites like Google are masters of garnering eyeballs.

Over the years, it's taken more and more effort to catch the jaded eyes of modern Americans, which is why so many modern celebrities make a habit of being outrageous and shocking.  So it makes sense that actors and other celebrities can make it big in politics, Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger being merely the most famous.

But the mainstream media has learned that, just as with oxygen tents, too much political oxygen can cause a campaign to self-combust.  Over the years, such coulda-woulda-shoulda presidents as Edmund Muskie, Howard Dean, Sarah Palin, and Herman Cain have shot up in the polls - and then just as quickly shot back down again when they blew up under the spotlight.

Famous people self-destructing  makes magnificent news copy and grips the attention of the fickle public, so journalists like to bring about these spectacular events.  You don't run for President without being pretty full of yourself already.  When suddenly you're on the front cover of every newspaper and every TV screen, it takes inhuman self-discipline not to think you're some kind of god - and we all know what happens to people who allow themselves to succumb to that sort of hubris.

It's blatantly obvious that the media is using exactly this approach with Donald Trump.  For the past month or more, it's been all Trump, all day, every day.  Even here at Scragged, we note, The Donald has received a headline article each and every week; the last candidate to receive this honor was Barack Obama and we know where he ended up.

What's the effect on the other candidates?  Let's let The Donald himself explain:

I couldn’t care less about Lindsey Graham. He’s registered at, I think, zero in the polls.

And neither can anyone else.  In fact, a recent ABC News / Washngton Post poll shows Trump as having nearly double the support of his closest competitor, Scott Walker - and vastly more than the rest.

Which raises the question: Are the media simply setting up Trump in order to tear him down later, while in the meantime using Trump as a brush to tar all Republicans as racists/bigots/greedy/stingy/etc.?

Of course they are.  But, just possibly, they've miscalculated: From his performance thus far, Trump has demonstrated an amazing ability to speak truths in a stunningly blunt, even rude way, so as to make the elites and media go nuts - at the same time as vast numbers of ordinary Americans are shouting, "Finally, somebody famous gets it!"

Truth Will Out?

Our national elites, whether they be political, media, entertainment, academic, or financial, live in highly insulated worlds these days.  We can't help but recall Pauline Kael, once a noted New York-based film critic but now only remembered for relating her shock that Nixon beat George McGovern in 1972:

How could Nixon have won? Nobody I know voted for him!

As a card-carrying member of the Manhattan elite, Ms. Kael was probably telling the truth - and yet Nixon beat McGovern in every single state save Massachusetts (plus DC).  Our elites have only gotten more politically exclusive since 1972.

So when the media mandarins expresses their shock and horror that Trump might characterize illegals as criminals, they may well be doing so secure in the knowledge that literally every single person they know feels the same way.  It's entirely possible that they are completely unaware that, actually, the overwhelming majority of Americans are angry at the ongoing invasion of their nation, and that, while we all recognize that not every last illegal, Mexican or otherwise, is an ax murderer, nevertheless the concept of the rule of law still commands allegiance.

This is borne out by the fact that the more strongly the media expresses revulsion at Trump's pontifications, the higher he rises in the polls.  Illegal immigrants are the bottom of the barrel?  Right on!  John McCain isn't the world's best exemplar of a winner?  Dern tootin'!  The media is mostly frauds and liars?  Normal people have known this for years.

So long as what the media believes to be true is in fact false, they'll continue to believe that trumpeting the "falsehoods" of Trump will turn America against him.  And so long as Trump continues to say what everyone down here on the ground knows to be true... he'll continue to gain ground.

Just possibly, Donald Trump will consume all the media oxygen provided, but instead of self-combusting, he'll breathe raging fireballs of truth right back at the media, all the way to the White House.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

I look at Trump as good for politics. Newt was like that, but Trump has taken trashing the PC crowd to new heights. Win or lose, Trump has brought ideas into the discussion that we need to talk about and he has done it fearlessly. While others fear backlash through their donors, Trump plows forward. The media finds themselves bewildered and confused. They can't seem to control this man or force him to back down on anything. But their long knives are out, and the lies are beginning to be spun. I don't know if Trump can survive, but win or lose, he can't do worse than Obama has done.

July 27, 2015 11:15 AM

'Political elites' are not the only people who only see the people around themselves. The echo chamber does get very loud indeed! So loud you can't hear anything those who disagree with you might say.

"The overwhelming majority of Americans are angry at the ongoing invasion of their nation" : False

There is no 'overwhelming' opinion on it. As with most issues its a thin line between the two sides. But the majority of people believe in a pathway to legal status according to the polls I was able to find.

Rude and immature behavior may get a lot of cheers from those who already agree with you but it doesn't work so well when you're trying to negotiate with a hostile independent state. I, for one, do not care to have a president that is more likely to tell a foreign leader that his mother smells of elder berries then he is to try to work towards some accord. Trump gives every appearance of being an arrogant, pompous, and selfish man with no respect for anyone but himself and his yes men.

That is not a man I would care to have as a president.

July 27, 2015 9:22 PM

jonyfries you are amazing. You actually Read Scragged? Any yet you build strawmen and assume we will swallow your slight of hand?
"But the majority of people believe in a pathway to legal status according to the polls I was able to find."
Where did Trump ever imply that he was against a pathway to legal status? NEVER. Strawman demolished.
When a person tells a blatant lie to your face, you would have him smile and be quiet? Neither Trump nor Gingrich tolerate that, and most of this "echo chamber" applaud someone who is willing to tell the truth. The term echo chamber was coined by the liberals with their secret talking points memos to get everyone saying the same thing.Your "Trump gives every appearance of being an arrogant, pompous, and selfish man with no respect for anyone but himself and his yes men." has every appearance of being one of those talking points.
How ever did you stumble into Scragged? You really don't belong here. It is for independent thinkers. Well I guess you could be one of those paid bloggers the Democrats hire to be trolls...

July 27, 2015 11:09 PM

The reason Trump is acting the way he does is because he wrote the book on making a deal. His deal with the American public is that he is beholding to no one on this earth and cannot be bought off. He calls a spade a spade and the American public love it and will vote for him. The media will flip on him because they have no backbone. That is not to say they won't try to drown him in ink but will soon discover that they are the ones that are looking foolish, not Trump.

July 27, 2015 11:55 PM

As far as Trump's "rudeness" goes I recall another "rude" president that the press pilloried for saying that the USSR was an "Evil Nation". They called him a cowboy and naive in political matters. That single statement of calling a spade a spade, lead to the demise of the second strongest nation on earth. They let up their iron grip on their people just to prove to the world they were not an "evil nation" and the people successfully revolted and the iron curtain fell.

July 28, 2015 7:55 AM

Rudeness is subjective in politics since it depends on what you view as political correct/incorrect. I don't care if someone is rude; I care if they are HONEST. Often, someone who is honest has to be rude in the face of such widespread failure. Trump is definitely a blowhard, without question, but he is also being extremely honest about a number of things and that has value.

July 28, 2015 8:08 AM


Very well stated. You nailed it on the head the way Trump is acting. I hope your analysis goes viral. Bassboat

July 28, 2015 6:25 PM

@SparkyVA - I've actually read most scragged articles and have been around here for quite some time. I used to be more active in posting, back when scragged was more libertarian. I certainly didn't tow the line in any way but always enjoyed the debates that came out of it.

I would like to point out the irony of your post SparkyVA "You really don't belong here. It is for independent thinkers." - you seem to be saying that because I don't think the same way you do. Paid blogger? Not so much, if you look back in the history of Scragged you will see many posts from me which don't exactly follow a pro-democratic line. Also your attacks upon my character are an interesting way to try to claim that I use straw man arguments.

I was not talking about Trump when I stated that there is a very loud echo chamber here at Scragged. I was responding directly to "the overwhelming majority of Americans are angry at the ongoing invasion of their nation." I some how don't think that line indicates that the writer believes that there is a strong number of people in America who support a pathway to legal status. There is not an 'overwhelming majority of americans' who are 'angry at the ongoing invasion of their nation.' - Now on to the actually interesting comments from people who can disagree with me without resorting to personal insults...

There is a drastic difference between Trump's truth as you see it and that of Reagan. Reagan was diplomatic while stating what he believed, not nice exactly but also diplomatic. Trump is not. I would appreciate a much harder stand with China, for example, which Trump seems to agree with strongly. However, everything that I have seen Trump say on the matter seems to think that America can force China to be good if we just had a strong leader who would tell them to do as we want or else. Such beliefs are naive to say the least and can only truly be believed by a person that is used to surrounding themselves with yes men. You cannot order a foreign power to do as you want.

Not to mention that Trump, were he to become president, would have to work with the people that he is regularly insulting with personal, not in any way related to politics, derogatory comments. Do you think that the republicans he's mocking will want to work with him while he's in office? Do you think he will woo democrats to work with him through insults? I find both of those things unlikely.

It is not what Trump is saying so much but rather how he is saying it that makes him a terrible leader. I do agree lfon, honesty is an important and rare commodity in politics. Ron Paul had it and it got him no where on the national scene, unfortunately, perhaps because he spoke the truth without rolling in the mud.

However, I don't think its too much to ask for a leader that will both speak the truth - Social Security is going broke - China is not our friend - without resorting to middle school playground insults.

July 28, 2015 11:00 PM

jonyfries, you're right about a number of things. As much as I enjoy the fire in his belly, it has troubled me from day one how quickly Trump lashes out with (sometimes childish) retorts about those that disagree with him. That kind of quick reflex can sometimes manifest itself as rejection of principles or quick turning of his own beliefs and promises.

I've been following Scragged for a long time as well. I used to be a lot more conservative. I am libertarian now and supported Ron Paul in the last go 'round.

National politics has, in its entirety, become a joke to me. I don't believe that anyone elected will make a difference either way. The amorphous blob of bureaucracy is directing policy. The sitting President may have his hand on the rudder, but he isn't moving it. The river is too strong; the rudder moves with the current.

July 29, 2015 9:34 AM

First, jonyfries,you have indeed followed us for a long time, and I for one am glad to have you here even though we don't always agree. It is always good to hear differing points of view so long as they are respectfully put, which you always do.

To your point about immigration, I started to write an answer, but thought it would be better as an article.

Scragged is more libertarian than anything else, though it often is manifested in unusual ways. I think a fuller explanation also deserves its own article.

July 29, 2015 11:03 AM

jonyfries : A Strawman argument is one where you imply that the opponent has a position that he hasn't actually taken, show that the position is wrong and therefor tar the opponent with being wrong on the issue. That is exactly what you did on the pathway to citizenship issue. As Trump would say: you lied to further your agenda. That is your character - live with it.

You continue with these silly arguments claiming to be an independent thinker while parroting the Liberal and Rino talking points. Say something intelligent to prove that you are alive. Again Echo Chamber is a term invented by the Libs to win their arguments - "everyone knows..." and "settled science..." are common terms to let you know the libs are at it again.

The point of this blog and others like it is to discuss issues from a conservative point of view to help us see the various weaknesses in the opponents armor and give us ways to counter their arguments. You want to classify that as an Echo Chamber? Sounds like the Libs got to you.

Now you are backing up because I mentioned Reagan's similarity with Trump, and your excuse is "well Reagan is different". Splitting hairs. Gingrich was defeated because the Press painted him as unfriendly and he couldn't raise the money required. You are doing the same thing the press did to Newt.

But the libertarian party also can't raise money so Rand Paul is toast. Libertarians (party members) are so live and let live that they never are passionate enough to part with their cash, or they are so non-competitive in life that they never have any cash to give (I have a son like that).

Suggest you learn to negotiate. Read Trump's book or any other like it. You assume Trump as we say is "poisoning the well". Not so. Obama has called his opponents all kinds of ugly names, and the negotiations go on. In politics, strong language has it's place and is a tool used by those who aren't cowards. It doesn't seem to poison the well. It tends to back the other person off of his position if done properly. Romney had Obama defenseless on the Benghazi affair in his debate. But because Romney was a nice guy, he wouldn't go for the kill, and the Reporterette had to come to Obama's rescue. Trump would have immediately told the Reporterette to back off - that she was out of line. Your kind of milk-toast candidate would again succumb to the power of the press. I would love to see Trump and Hillary face off. He would demolish her with the "criminal" charge he has already leveled.

July 29, 2015 11:20 AM

@lfon the river is indeed too strong lfon - that in many ways sums up my disengagement from politics. Both from a bureaucratic stand point and the vitriol and hate that I see from both sides. I enjoy well met exchange of ideas, even, and perhaps especially, with those that I strongly disagree with. That is not something I see much these days in the general public discourse.

@Petrarch I look forward to your article on immigration! That was always one of the areas where I disagreed with you most but they are always very good to read!

@SparkyVA - sigh - I never said that Trump didn't agree with a pathway to citizenship, I don't know if he has made any direct statement on that or not. I stated that the article strongly implied that Americans in general see illegal immigrants as highly unwelcome and would like them deported and certainly not legalized. This implication, from the article, is not correct according to the polls that I was able to find. With people, like yourself, accusing people that disagree with you of being democratic plants and other unfavorable accusations, it is understandable that people who disagree with your idea of 'free thinking' might not feel very welcome here. And, as such, might decide that they shouldn't post here. This would ensure that people who agree with everything else being said here are the only ones posting. Then you get an echo chamber effect. As with liberals who surround themselves with only liberals (an accusation made within the article) conservatives who only surround themselves with conservatives are likely to experience the echo chamber effect. Hense, if everyone you see and talk to believe that all illegal immigrants should be deported then you will end up believing that most people in the nation believe as you do.

I said that a statement in the article appears to not be factual based on polls (I cited my source, if you think that source is inaccurate then cite a source that shows that my source is inaccurate.)

I don't think there is anything wrong with having a conservative (or liberal, or marxist, or libertarian) website to discuss your ideas. I think it is a problem when people (of any belief set) start to believe that many or most people think like them simply because they have surrounded themselves with people like themselves. I also think it is valuable to have people interacting with the website who disagree with its central beliefs as it will allow you to debate more effectively.

Stating unpleasant things that are relevant to the the political discourse in a straight forward manner is commendable, as scragged has done on a number of occasions earning them accusations of racism which (at least within the articles written) were not warranted and I defended scragged in those cases. This is how I see Reagan handling things, how I see Ron Paul handling things. However, throwing out personal insults unrelated to the politics or the situation at hand is not useful to anyone.

Who can destroy the other person more is not interesting to me and certainly would not make me interested in voting for either party. The debate I would like to see is a debate where every statement is fact checked, in real time by people from both sides to ensure a factual debate.

It appears to me that your interest is in 'winning' regardless of how that occurs. I do not have any interest in that since I do not belong to, or agree with, any of the parties. I take what I like from each group on a per topic manner. What I am interested in an open and honest debate where people get to hear the truth about whats happening in and to our society and then having the people voting because they both understand and believe in what they're voting for.

July 29, 2015 10:05 PM

""The overwhelming majority of Americans are angry at the ongoing invasion of their nation" : False" that is a quote from Trump. Your next sentence attacks that in a side-wise manner - strawman style. That you are now denying that is good. I caused you to back off of your position which was my purpose.
Now to the problem of you being so wishy-washy. It has nothing to do with destroying a person as you tried to do with Trump. (You said I could never vote for someone so devise). It has to do with you being willing to accept the same old same old. Things are wrong with this country that we tried to fix 250 years ago, and they are back.
The King overrides the Congress much like King Richard did with Parliament. The laws are applied unequally or even ignored for those in political favor. You are persecuted for speaking your mind. The government is corrupt, the economy stinks, and our elected officials for the most part care not for the people who elected them. And you want to be an observer, sit back and watch. Do the words sunshine patriot and summer warrior mean anything to you? I don't care about your hurt feelings nor politeness or political correctness. I care about the country. And you Sir are a coward.

July 30, 2015 1:21 AM

""The overwhelming majority of Americans are angry at the ongoing invasion of their nation" : False" that is a quote from Trump.

Not so far as I am aware. That's my sentence. To the best of my knowledge, Trump has not made any public statements concerning the desirability of a path to citizenship. He's mostly stuck to ideas that few sane people would easily oppose, like aggressively deporting criminals and stopping the ongoing flow across the border.

What a font for article ideas this thread is! That's one reason why I so value the free exchange of ideas. SparkyVA, in regards to your most recent post, I'm working on another article addressing your points.

July 30, 2015 7:49 AM

Ad hominem attacks seem to be the central point of your posts SparkyVA - I still haven't changed any position. I started by stating that Scragged has issues with echo chambers (as do pretty much every news source or opinion website). I maintain that position. I made a statement about Scragged then I made a separate statement about Trump --- for his use of personal attacks but I can certainly see why you believe that behavior is entirely appropriate for him to engage in given your own style of 'debate.'

I do my best to encourage the people around me to stop believing that people who disagree with them are evil. I encourage people to listen to those who disagree. I attempt to always be the voice of reasoned discourse, to help people around me understand those who are different and believe differently. I do not find that cowardly. I believe it is far easier to lash out at those who disagree, to reject without reflection ideas that are different than yours then it is to calmly listen and debate and be willing to change ones idea as new arguments are presented and new life experiences learned. No I don't care who wins, all of the options available will make America worse in some way. I do not try to influence the elections, I seek to influence how the electorate, at least in my little world, views politics. So that hopefully in the future better options will appear. People that are willing to hear out those who disagree with them with out resorting to the three usual beliefs:

1) They are uninformed
2) They are stupid
3) They are evil

It is right an proper to disagree with other people. It is right and proper to debate strongly and to not work with people who disagree with you. It is proper, it is not useful, to badger those who disagree with you until they submit.

July 30, 2015 7:35 PM

I was attacking your positions and your unwillingness to act on clear issues. You are full of excuses. We are in a war of ideas, and you want to be "reasonable". We are losing the country because you and others like you have been so castrated by the libs that you place niceness above liberty. That is why you don't like Trump and never understood Reagan's firmness with opposing his enemies (the Communists) at every turn. Read any book on negotiation and become educated in the modern politics. You are fighting this war using the last war's tactics. The Dem's have changed the rules. Get with it.

July 30, 2015 8:43 PM

You seem be as castrated and I see you as a raging bull wanting so much to make America better but instead destroying it to attempt to get what you hope to achieve. You are correct that I do not fight with the current weapons of this war raging around me. I seek to remove others from the war as well.

War will only lead to devastation of all sides. My goal isn't to get America to have laws that match my idea of what is best. My goal is to return to the ideal of an educated and informed electorate. If they make decisions that do not agree with me, so be it. It takes a great amount of arrogance to believe one is right about everything and I do not harbor that delusions about myself. If people are informed about the issues, understand the long term consequences of their decisions, and decide how to vote based on a careful reflection of what will be best for America then I will be happy.

The process in America today is broken, because discourse and understanding are replaced by attacks on character and outright lies.

No I don't care who wins. I care how the process occurs.

July 31, 2015 8:29 AM

But you are ignorant of how the process works and that is why you are still campaigning in the 1990's style - lets be nice and not say anything mean about the opposition. Lets let the opposition spin lies and hope the people will recognize the lies. It doesn't work. You have to call them on the lies in most unpleasant ways. You still haven't read the book on Deal-making. You obviously don't follow True the Vote, and you are too wishy-washy to get your hands dirty in a campaign knocking on doors and talking to real people. Try the website Center for self Governance for how to take back control. Get with it and stop being nice Charlie Brown. Here is another personal attack: you are a sucker for the left's political machine!

July 31, 2015 12:34 PM

Everything in this article is correct except "media" is plural, and I'm used to hearing "the Media are:".

August 17, 2015 10:33 AM
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