Donald Trump has done it again. By "it," I don't mean he's done anything consequential. I don't mean he's elevated the debate. I don't even mean he's announced anything worth reporting.
What's he's done with his five million dollar dare to President Obama to treat him like a worthwhile conversationalist is again established himself as a national joke. What he's also done is manage to steal the spotlight for a few more minutes - his expertise.
He's also again proven that he should be an object of ridicule, not respect, and anyone who wants to be taken seriously shouldn't take him too seriously. That includes Mitt Romney, who held a press conference to broadcast Trump's endorsement of his presidential campaign.
Trump's crusade against the president has been a racist, delusional blunder that should cause outrage. Nobody should want to stand near someone who has lashed out with such bigoted and unfounded accusations. But we've stopped being inflamed because most of us have realized he just doesn't matter. So instead, in spite of ourselves, we laugh him off.
And laughing at Donald Trump might be the most important way to respond.
I'd say we should ignore him, but it's nearly impossible. He knows how to play the media game, so he'll find his way into our inboxes, twitter feeds, water cooler prattle and dinner-time conversations. As Azi Paybarah wrote in Salon, it's hard for journalists to break the habit when their bosses need to chase ratings. Trump sells, so outlets keep stocking him.
If we can't ignore him, should we protest him? Should we write earnest letters about him? Should we call on his employers (that's right - he's not his own boss -- just ask his television executives) to drop him?
Sure, we should do some of that…but honestly, we shouldn't let him any more power than he already has. We shouldn't expend our energy fighting a clown -- it will only fuel his passion. And we're not going to do a better job convincing the world that he's a waste than Trump will do himself.
So if we can't ignore him, and don't want to succumb to outrage, there's always mockery. If editors and publishers keep him in the headlines, if Twitter keeps him in our virtual space, then let's make sure it's in ways that laugh him off as the joke he's made himself. You can't push someone out of social media; the more you push, the more you add to their presence. But you can make them such a butt of mockery that they wish they stayed offline in the first place.
Today, Trump has helped that campaign by giving fodder to every comedian, late-night host, Twitter user, videographer and radio host who wants to take on this challenge.
To everyone else: just stay clear. You gain nothing by being near Donald Trump, and you only make yourself a butt of the same joke. And that may be hardest of all for the man currently running to become president, and now has to spend some of his time running away from his celebrity albatross.