It is well known that Donald Trump is a controversial figure in American politics. This controversy means Trump is a hot commodity for advertisements and television. Plenty of people want to hear what he has to say: some because they like what he’s saying, and just as many, if not more, because they want to make fun of him.
Either way, the strategy works. For instance, Trump’s stint as host of Saturday Night Live brought 9.3 million viewers. This is SNL’s highest rating since a December 2013 episode hosted by Jimmy Fallon, featuring Justin Timberlake. Trump sells, and everyone from NBC to Trump himself knows it.
Despite the sense it makes from a business perspective, there are objections against Trump’s newfound hosting gig.
Many people feel that someone who is widely considered to be insensitive, full of himself, and even an outright racist, shouldn’t be receiving so much of the political spotlight. Many think Trump is pulling attention away from more legitimate Republican candidates. Many consider his presidential candidacy embarrassing on an international level.
These are all valid complaints, but they don’t validate personal attacks. Such complaints show larger problems with the American political system, if anything.
However, Trump’s hosting SNL is realistically going to have little or no impact on Trump’s campaign.
Trump isn’t the first presidential candidate to be on SNL. President Obama appeared on the show in 2007, as did John McCain in 2008. Hillary Clinton appeared in a skit in October. Trump himself has hosted the show before in 2004, to advertise for The Apprentice.
The show itself wasn’t exactly praising him, either. Though SNL isn’t in the business of defacing their hosts, they did add in jokes at the politician’s expense, such as a Mexican ambassador walking into Trump’s oval office to give him “the check for the wall.”
Perhaps I think too little of the American voting population, but Donald Trump isn’t going to gain any votes as a result of hosting SNL. Yes, there’s something to be said for candidates endearing themselves to the American public. Given the consistently low voter turnout in the US, however, Donald Trump dancing in a skit making fun of Hotline Bling isn’t going to get people to the polls who weren’t going to go already.