The collective we keep treating and thinking of Trump as a serious candidate, but he isn't. He's a reality TV star, who has taken his show to a new venue. The problem, as you pointed out last night, is one of anchoring. The media is anchored in the belief Trump is a candidate and not a reality TV star and cant' understand why the electorate judges him by a different set of rules than every other candidate. To the electorate, he isn't a candidate, he is entertainment and they will not judge him like a candidate but instead like a reality TV character.
Watch the Real Housewives of wherever, or Keeping Up with the Karadashians. The more outrageous they are the better; that is what the audience expects. And that is exactly what Trump delivers to his audience: outrage and outrageous behavior. Why does the electorate keep rewarding him for this we ask? It's easy, because it's not the electorate, it's the viewing public and they are entertained.
Back to anchoring. If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And if you are a journalist covering politics Trump looks like a politician and the polls sound like expressions of what the voters will actually do when they enter the caucus or polling booth.
I still believe he is a distraction and will go away, like 90% of illnesses, if we let it.
Not to say he can't do damage. He can, and is. Unfortunately, the other politicians in the contest are anchored in their beliefs as well and don't see he is an act in a show, an interloper on their stage. So they treat him seriously and treat his (frequently contradictory) positions as something to either embrace of run from.
Steven Colbert was interviewed recently and said
“I’m not the first person to say this, but I completely agree that he’s my old character with $10 billion,”
Exactly. But instead of thinking of Trump as a character, they think he's real. He's not. He's been a reality TV star for 10 years and he still is.
Maybe it's wishful thinking on my part, but I continue to believe he won't win any primaries or caucuses. Certainly there are some who would vote for Donald J. Kardashian, but my bet is most of his support is a more akin to a TV rating, and not political support.