Guest Editorial: Trump, Republican car wreck

Arizona Republic
Nov. 10

Hyped by protesters before it happened and widely panned by critics afterward, Donald Trump’s appearance on Saturday Night Live was a ratings success.

Guest Editorial

Who knew it took the same attributes to top the charts for SNL and the Republican primary?

Conventional wisdom suggests the two have different audiences, after all Tina Fey's parody of Sarah Palin had more Democrats laughing than Republicans.

But the complaints from those who lobbied unsuccessfully before the show to have Trump uninvited because of culturally insensitive remarks echo past complaints that SNL itself slights women and minorities.

What Trump brought was celebrity. That’s a universal pass key in today’s America, and it may be what ingratiated him to GOP primary voters.

Perhaps SNL, which does not draw the kind of audiences it once did, and the GOP, which is continually pummeled for being stuck in the 20th century, share the hope that Trump will provide a lift.

For SNL, he delivered the audience bump.

But the show itself suffered from “lack of strong material” and was “awkwardly unfunny to watch,” according to Entertainment Weekly. The New York Post review said it was “light on laughs” and “so bad it looked like SNL was trying to sabotage Trump.” The New York Times said the material was “cringe-worthy.”

New audience members tuning in to see Trump might be unlikely to return as regular viewers. There’s a parallel here for the GOP to consider.

GOP primary voters who see the flash of something new in Trump should take a critic's look behind the big talk and bold promises. Trump also suffers from a lack of strong material.

Like late-night comedy, he can be entertaining to watch. Celebrity, like an automobile accident, is something that Americans can’t resist rubber necking to see.

But after you drive by, you’re glad you weren’t involved in the collision.

Trump’s like that: a mess that America eventually will be glad to have passed by. In the meantime, he attracts plenty of gawkers.