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by P. David Gardner

As the carny-like sideshow that has become Donald Trump's 2016 Presidential bid continues to unfold like an onion left to rot in the field, one might be tempted to consider that Trump is not really a sincere contender for The Leather Throne.

Indeed, many serious news organizations have now placed coverage of Trump's stump at a lower level, relegating it to "not the front page" unless something really newsworthy happens.

Yet many so-called news web sites will continue to put Trump's antics on their front pages. That clickbait is just so alluring because it assures them of more views and, more hopefully, some real income.

The Huffington Post even made it a big deal to announce that it was going to continue coverage of Trump's bid, but on its Entertainment and not Political pages. It's the rough equivalent of "Look at meeeee! Aren't I smart and cool for doing this (and letting you all know about it at the same time, thereby gaining me some sweet karma points)?"

And Trump's competitors for the Republican primary have reacted to his often outrageous antics, trying desperately to distance themselves, as if mere association irrevocably taints their own chances for election to the highest office in all the land.

But I personally believe that it would be a grave mistake indeed to ignore Trump in the vast and ever expanding field that is the Republican race for President. One thing he is not is a buffoon. He is a smart man, though he may not seem to act the part when he's stumping, and should not be dismissed outright. To do so would be a potentially dangerous move because of his wide appeal to a growing segment of the population.

There are at least three theories surrounding Trump's bid for the White House. What you choose to believe is up to you, of course, but consider these, if you will.

Theory 1: Trump was planted by the Democrats to keep people from voting Republican. Though for the life of me, I cannot see this as a viable Democratic tactic that anyone in the party would take seriously.

Theory 2: Trump was planted by the Republicans (perhaps even Karl Rove or Dick Cheney, or perhaps the Koch brothers themselves) to make even the most radical serious Republican contender appear "normal" by comparison, thus assuring folks on the edge that you'd better vote for one of them, lest Trump turn the White House into a looney bin. This theory seems to me to be quite likely.

Theory 3: Trump seriously believes that he has a shot, fueled by his pulsating megalomania and urgent need for staying in the media spotlight. And to me, this theory holds the most creedence, which makes his run all the more dangerous, as it brings out all the racists and haters to the fore.

The question remains: Is Donald Trump a "shiny" distraction, or a deadly serious issue with which to contend? His antics do appeal to some demographic in the nation, as recent polls show, and many people appear to believe the things he is espousing and align themselves with him.

One thing's for sure, I don't want to let the "media" decide that for me.

P. David Gardner is a long time writer and reporter, as well as a graphic designer and photographer. And he creates terrific web sites too. For more details, see pauldavidgarder.com.