Donald Trump, Our Reality TV Candidate


Love him, or hate him, Mr. Trump is the perfect reality-television star. In the various guilty-pleasure/train-wreck formats of reality TV, casting agents are looking for larger than life personalities, who speak their mind and don’t shy away from conflict. They reveal their character through conflict, and the bigger the character, the deeper the conflict, the better the show. In the Donald, “they”, or maybe I should say, “we” have hit the jackpot.

Mr. Trump has built his campaign around an entertaining TV persona. He’s uncomplicated and authentic and you can understand his whole personality from a 15-second sound bite. He is king at self-promotion; think of the Kardashian clan on steroids. His buildings are big and gold, shouting TRUMP in all caps. He has absolute confidence, even in his most wrongheaded opinions and sticks with them, comfortable that his wealth provides evidence for his intelligence.

Political campaigns have their own brand of conflict, but it’s often too subtle for a broad audience. Mr. Trump has cut through all out. His insults have become his signature move. Even when he says he’s holding back – as when he said of Senator Rand Paul, “I never attacked him on his looks” – he still gets a jab in there somewhere: “Believe me, there is plenty of subject matter.”

Reality television has always been focused on the trapping of wealth, from the Real Housewives to the Kardashians and Vanderpumps. They live out peoples’ aspirations, and their mistakes shrink the divide between their lives and ours. Mr. Trump connects with an audience as a sort of rich guy they would be if only they had the money.

Reality shows thrive on big stakes and there’s nothing bigger than the leadership of the number one country in the world. The Donald makes us feel that the future of our country is in peril. But not to worry too much, he’s planning on making “America great again”.

It might be entertaining to watch things in this country implode under his leadership, but one of the great pleasures of reality television is being able to turn it off when you’ve had enough.




Tag along as I share musings on everything from family to business, which will hopefully inspire you and stir the mind. I am happy that you are along for the journey. Here’s to Living Lively!


  • Sheila
    February 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Great blog Jennifer. Very insightful! You missed your calling as a political pundit!

    As the primaries go on, I find myself vacillating between visions of the founding fathers, brilliant, non-politicians, hard working people who had built something and were now moving an idea forward to build a great nation; and pre-war Germany, cheering on a leader who promised to make the fatherland great again. I wish I knew which reality show I was in! Does anyone else feel that way?

  • David Casuto
    February 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Great article! You should submit this as an op-ed piece for the Chronicle /sfgate….

  • Mary Toboni
    February 25, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    You are right Jennifer……Reality TV hit the jackpot! Let’s hope we din’t!

  • Jennifer
    February 25, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    I totally agree with you! It’s all so confusing and unsettling! We’ll have to see how it all pans out. In the meantime, sit back and watch the show.

  • Jennifer
    February 25, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks David! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Jennifer
    February 25, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    It’s amazing how this election is going! Sort of like watching a run-away-train-wreck.