Trump's reality TV playbook: Seven ways it changed 2016 election

1. Conflict

Perhaps the primary driver in reality shows is the need for drama – and the best source for that is conflict, says political consultant Andrew Ricci, vice president at Levick, a Washington-based consulting firm. “Donald Trump hosted ‘The Apprentice’ for 11 years, a show fraught with emotional meltdowns and crying, with himself as boss in the background running everything,” says Mr. Ricci. “He is master of all that as a result of his experience.”

Nasty and personal fights, an essential in reality programming, have become an almost predictable staple of the Trump campaign as well. Consider the insults he’s hurled at Fox anchor Megyn Kelly and Sen. John McCain.

Extreme policy comments also have served the same purpose. Trump says he will force Mexico to pay for a border wall between the countries. Mexican officials have hotly denied this will ever happen. When Trump says Japan and South Korea should be candidates for nuclear weapons, alarmed officials around the country push back. After Trump suggested women who get abortions should be punished if abortion were illegal, even far-right conservatives criticized him.

2 of 7
of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.