Trump's candidacy is changing the right-of-center media landscape
Donald Trump's candidacy for POTUS has changed the political discussion – not only in the United States, but in other nations such as Canada and the U.K. as well. He has repeatedly said what most of the populace was thinking but was too afraid to speak of because of the tyranny of political correctness imposed on the West over the past several decades.
And during his candidacy, the influence of Trump is becoming increasingly more evident on the right-of-center media landscape. The conservative establishment – both in the USA and elsewhere – simply doesn't know what to do with Trump. When Trump made his now famous call for halting Muslim immigration into the United States until the potential national security risks could be better understood, purported "conservative" leaders in the USA and throughout the West (see, e.g., David Cameron in the U.K., Rona Ambrose in Canada, etc.) referred to his comments as "ridiculous," "racist," and a host of other nonsensical attributions.
The establishment thought their collective hysteria over Trump would cause his supporters to abandon him in favor of more moderate candidates. How wrong they were. The recent polling data shows that Trump's support is generally increasing, not decreasing, following his supposedly controversial remarks, and where he may be losing some support, he is doing so to Ted Cruz – who is best characterized as certainly not a more "moderate" candidate.
The right-of-center establishment is on its heels, both in terms of its failure (to date) to put forward any popular POTUS candidates and in terms of the rich media sphere that has evolved over the past few years. For websites to compete in the top-tier rankings nowadays, they need to be visually appealing, engage effectively on social media, and be current throughout the day. Those sites that aren't meeting these basic criteria are failing.
One needs to look no farther for this anti-establishment momentum than Allen West's website, which has surged up the website popularity rankings since mid-June, having climbed even more rapidly during the first half of 2015. West's site is now ranked #16 among all conservative websites in the USA, sitting just behind National Review as the 827th most popular site in the United States. A remarkable run.
The Conservative Tribune, certainly no establishment website, is now ranked the 118th most popular website in the USA, in third place among right-of-center sites, and ahead of establishment icons such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.
Other establishment sites sliding down the rankings include Investor's Business Daily, the Washington Free Beacon, Reason (for the libertarian "establishment"), The Daily Signal, and The Weekly Standard (Bill Kristol's flagship). The Weekly Standard is now ranked #49 among all conservative media outlets, down from #31 in mid-June and well below where it stood in early 2015.
Conservative voters are increasingly looking away from the establishment pablum as their source of information. How long will this last? If it continues into the GOP convention and general election, the conservative establishment could be in for a big surprise.
Rumblings are also emerging from activists on the left side of the political spectrum that Trump's candidacy is giving attention to the so-called "fringe" websites on the right. Many of these sites are no longer fringe if we use popularity as the metric. Newsweek, a mainstream centrist site if there ever was one, is now ranked #1,624 in the USA. All of the top 27 conservative websites are ranked above it.
Slate is at #177, and Time is at #195 for overall U.S. rankings, both beaten out by the Conservative Tribune and Drudge and the other top six conservative sites. The Daily Beast – where Eleanor Clift screeches when she isn't screeching on the McLaughlin Group – is ranked #226, trailing Breitbart (#204) and Independent Journal Review (#209) by a long shot.
Politico sits at #385 and The Daily Kos is at #369, and both would barely break the conservative top ten. The Atlantic (#267) is essentially equivalent in popularity to TheBlaze (#292), and the latter is no establishment icon.
The New Yorker is floundering at #527, putting it well behind WorldNetDaily (#415). Mother Jones ranks #832, behind Allen West's personal website.
The New Republic (#2,618) is in the company of Newsbusters, the Washington Free Beacon, and American Thinker.
Media Matters (#3,128) isn't popular enough to make the conservative top 40. Harper's Magazine (#17,353) wouldn't come close to breaking into the top 125 ranked conservative websites.
The fringe is now mainstream, in large part due to Trump.