Question: Why does the American media behave like a bunch of groupies with a man who categorically cannot become the next US President? Answer: Boredom.

Let’s get this out of the way first. Whether he genuinely thinks he’s got a chance or not, Donald Trump is not, I repeat, NOT a serious candidate for president. He can’t be, because if he were to actually end up winning the Republican nomination, all our worst fears about the absurdity of American elections would be confirmed once and for all.

This is a man who wants to completely eliminate income tax (9 per cent of the government’s revenue) whilst spending trillions of dollars on a giant concrete wall along the border with Mexico; a nation, by the way, who he wants to charge $100,000 for ‘every person they send over’. Oh, and Mexico would apparently pay for that wall too, because why wouldn’t they want to cover the expenses of something the cost of which eclipses their total GDP and acts as a literal barrier to their own interests? Pundits have compared Donald Trump’s anti-establishment flavour to that of Nigel Farage and UKIP in Britain, but – whatever you may think about Farage – at least the man exhibits some sense of rationalism behind a comprehensive policy plank. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is all showman, no substance.

This is why it’s a problem that he is leading the polls. And, at a stage this early in the election cycle, his lead can only be attributed to the fact that the media is giving him a 24/7 spotlight free of charge. Pretty much every major paper and news outlet in America – be it a left-wing broadsheet or a conservative shock jock – is covering Trump’s campaign and his ensuing shenanigans, with his sensationalist style providing perfect headline material for a primary season that typically fails to engage with the majority of voters who consider the whole affair to be a dull precursor to the real election. But in their coverage of Donald Trump, the media is boosting the name recognition (currently the main factor in determining opinion polls during the early stages of the primary) of a mogul who, like Katie Hopkins or Kanye West, feeds off of all the attention and coverage he can get, be it positive or scathingly critical.

Donald Trump calls Mexicans ‘rapists’. Donald Trump dominates the news for the following week. Donald Trump refuses to call John McCain a war hero. Donald Trump dominates the news again. Donald Trump says all kinds of crazy stuff in the debates. Donald Trump becomes the centre of attention for the rest of the week. You see the pattern emerging?

Donald Trump’s popularity rises no matter how controversial his actions or words may be, as people read the news and find him to be an entertaining foil to the usual parade of establishment candidates. Heck, Huffington Post has placed Donald Trump-related news under their ‘entertainment’ section, probably in an attempt to trivialise the candidate, but in reality introducing him to a whole new audience who are usually more interested in keeping up with the Kardashians. This kind of approach creates a viscous cycle whereby the media covers Donald Trump since he’s popular among readers, but in doing so continues to boost the candidate’s popularity. It needs to end now.

It is almost undoubtedly true that the media is largely to blame for the spiralling popularity that continues to boost Donald Trump’s joke of a campaign. The press knows, deep down, that this man cannot and should not be president yet continues to give him more attention than any of the other candidates, many of whom have an actual policy platform they wish to promote. The media needs to stop giving this man the time of day and start devoting their publicity power to the people that not only have a reasonable shot at becoming president, but are actually qualified for the job too.