One thing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump likes to do is brag about himself any chance he gets. Whether it’s his supposed wealth, his polling numbers, the size of a crowd or how many votes he received during the GOP primary (though he always fails to mention that more people actually voted against him than for him), Trump absolutely loves to talk about himself.
That’s why it was absolutely hilarious that he said he’s actually a very “humble person” during a recent interview on 60 Minutes.
Though, to be fair, his braggadocious attitude and arrogance are a big reason why he’s been so appealing to millions of Republican voters. They want a brash, loudmouthed blowhard who tells them what they want to hear, even though almost nothing he tells them is actually true.
So, following his big speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention, I was not at all surprised to see him send out a tweet bragging about the night, and the TV viewership numbers:
One of the best produced, including the incredible stage & set, in the history of conventions. Great unity! Big T.V. ratings! @KarlRove
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2016
Except, the viewership wasn’t exactly “big.”
Around 29.9 million people watched the final night of the RNC. Admittedly, that is a lot of people focused on a political event. So, technically that’s a fairly large number. However, I always emphasize how much context matters, especially in politics. When you factor in context (matching up Thursday night’s TV viewership against the final nights of the presidential conventions from the past two elections) Trump’s number ranks dead last.
CNN’s Dylan Byers sent out this tweet Friday afternoon:
DNC '12 (final night): 35.7m
RNC '12 (final night): 30.3m
DNC '08 (final night): 38.4m
RNC '08 (final night): 38.9m https://t.co/8t39U34Qn0
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) July 22, 2016
Not only does Trump’s big night rank dead last among all four of those conventions, but it doesn’t even come close to three of them. Hell, he couldn’t even beat Mitt Romney’s viewership and he was an absolutely bland and boring candidate who nobody really cared about. Meanwhile, President Obama and John McCain’s numbers from 2008 crushed his.
Is this a big deal?
Actually, kind of.
While Trump’s campaign has undoubtedly been successful, there are still a lot of questions concerning how much support he really has. It’s one thing to pander to a base of supporters during a primary election — that’s the easy part. The truth is, no matter who the Republican candidate is, they’re always going to have most of “the base” supporting them out of party loyalty. So, the fact that he’s really gotten “the base” excited is great when it came to the primary, but isn’t going to matter all that much when it comes to the general election. If a candidate wants to win the general election, they’re going to need to appeal to a much broader range of voters. That’s why the viewership totals from Thursday night should worry Republicans and the Trump campaign.
While it could have just been a “fluke,” it could also be a sign that his appeal (as some have speculated) is very limited and a lot of people are starting to get “Trump fatigue,” losing interest in hearing whatever idiocy he has to say.
I guess we’ll all find out this November how much of Donald Trump’s candidacy was media-driven hype and how much of it was real.
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