So, I was a teensy bit unkind to the gilded one. His prickly sycophants were infuriated.
They filled my email inbox with messages maligning the America-hating, politically correct, degenerate, sure-as-hell-lying liberal media.
They dismissed my idiot opinions as utterly inconsequential. After 1,075,373 Florida votes for Donald Trump giving him another 66 Republican delegates, it’s a hard lesson to deny.
Apparently, Florida’s cadre of newspaper columnists had little influence over the state’s pigheaded electorate. None of us found much to recommend about Trump leading up to the election. (Other than that his candidacy offered a strictly professional excuse to peruse Mrs. Trump’s online photo galleries.) It didn’t matter. The Florida Republican primary exposed us opinion makers as so many misnomers, spitting into a populist windstorm.
Newspaper editorial boards proved no more influential. The Miami Herald, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and Pensacola News Journal endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio — good for a piddling 27 percent of the primary vote.
Those editorial pages not embracing Rubio made up for it by whacking Trump. The day before the election, the Tampa Bay Times railed about his “campaign of fear and hate.”
Voters didn’t care. Just as they ignored investigative stories about the low-down tactics employed by Trump University or the misleading sales pitch that misled condo buyers into investing into the (now defunct) Trump Tower on Fort Lauderdale Beach. They paid no attention to news stories exposing how the fervent anti-immigration candidate has hired foreign workers at his fancy Palm Beach County resort.
Nor did voters care that his public utterances have scored an extraordinary number of “false” findings on the PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter.
It wasn’t just the tough press coverage that proved irrelevant to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight number-crunching site, Marco Rubio had enjoyed a 30-to-1 advantage over Trump in endorsements from governors, members of Congress and political leaders. Didn’t matter that Mitt Romney and other Republican Party honchos criticized Trump. Nor that his enemies’ super PACS bought up ad time just to hammer him. “Nobody has ever, ever in the history of politics received the kind of negative advertising that I have,” Trump told reporters Tuesday evening.
His followers seem to be immune to critical coverage, even from the right-wing media. (RedState called Trump a “gilded toad.” And the National Review devoted its January issue to “anyone but Trump.”) Because in the age of Facebook and Twitter, his followers, like any of us, can simply insulate themselves from unwanted news and commentary. In the digital age, we can wallow in only what we want to know.
Not that Trump hasn’t had his influential supporters. He scarfed up endorsements from Ben Carson, Sarah Palin and Chris Christie, though Gov. Christie’s endorsement inspired six New Jersey newspapers to immediately call for his resignation.
Trump also had his celeb endorsers. Who knew that Mike Tyson, Dennis Rodman, Charlie Sheen, Kid Rock and reality-star-turned-conspiracy-theorist Tila Tequila had so much political juice.
Hell of a lot more than me, anyway.