Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters
It's been more than five years since Donald Trump rode down the golden escalator of his eponymous New York City tower to a crowd containing actors paid to cheer for him. There, he announced his campaign for president. As months passed, it became clear that Trump had a legitimate shot at winning the Republican nomination while running a campaign filled with racist invective and incoherent policy goals. He was not presidential in any sense of the word, and mainstream news outlets struggled to come to terms with that.
Perhaps as a coping mechanism, playing to their own normalcy biases, the press desperately tried to find any glimmer of hope that the Republican frontrunner might not actually be the Trump that was barnstorming the country. Perhaps there was a different Trump beneath the surface. Perhaps, as candidates of the past had, Trump would become more moderate as he moved to win over voters across the political spectrum during the general election.