Donald Trump Is ‘Seriously Considering’ Jake Paul’s Fight Invite

Team Trump might also struggle to reach its usual base this year, meaning they’ll need to rely on alternatives. Earlier this week, The Atlantic reported that traffic belonging to the top 10 conservative and right-wing news sites has gone down 40 percent since the last presidential election, in 2020. It was these outlets, like Breitbart, that leveraged the internet to elect Trump in 2016. Now that machine is breaking down.

“The mainstream media is dead. They’re dead. They just haven’t realized it yet,” a former Ramaswamy staffer told me at his caucus night party in January. “If you look at the types of voters that make up the America First movement, they get their news from alternative media. Fox News is just a very small sliver.” Paul, and other creators like him, could fill this void.

Trump’s team is realizing this. Before, right-wing media and Trump’s online fanatics together generated enough buzz that he didn’t need to build these relationships himself. But as the media landscape has changed, so must the campaign. Already last year, the former president appeared on the Nelk Boys’ Full Send podcast, where he was quizzed, of all things, on Ice Spice. He also hosted a dinner for conservative influencers. The fact that the campaign is considering joining forces with Paul marks the next step in their strategy.

It’s not just presidential candidates either. On Tuesday, NBC News reported that House Speaker Mike Johnson, who’s trying not to get fired by his own party, briefed popular conservative influencers and activists on his election integrity bill. Popular social media figures including LibsofTikTok, DC Draino, and End Wokeness were all briefed and, in turn, put out messages in support of the bill.

While Johnson’s briefing was an attempt to create his own viral moment, Trump attending Paul’s fight would be him seizing an opportunity that makes sense for his brand. Trump’s involvement in the bravado of men’s fighting sports has lasted decades. More than a decade ago, he famously participated in a Wrestlemania match with Vince McMahon. Recently, Trump’s been attending more UFC fights and chumming it up with Dana White.

Not only will Paul be hyping up this summer’s fight across his social media accounts, but Netflix will also be livestreaming the match, allowing it to reach the streaming platform’s more than 260 million users. Many digital consultants say political advertising on streaming apps like Netflix will be huge this year. Unlike with a New York Times article or an Instagram post, users are often glued to a movie or show, and some services can force their audiences to watch ads, depending on their subscription tier.

“If I were a political candidate, this would be the time where I’m recognizing Jake Paul has a uniquely large audience and would want to leverage that to benefit me in some way,” Lukito told me.

This is all to say that we live in a world where Jake Paul’s endorsement carries weight in politics. Social platforms are no longer prioritizing news content—they’re fixed on the creator economy. Influencers dominate these feeds, where a majority of US voters read the news, and we should expect more YouTube-style collabs like these, at least through November. Get ready. It’s going to be every day, bro.

The Chatroom

NextGen America, the nonpartisan youth voting organization, announced that it was launching a new Discord bot to register young voters earlier this week. The bot is adorably named VOTE-E, and is built on OpenAI’s GPT-4. It will apparently be able to answer an assortment of voting questions in DMs over Discord.

“There’s a huge problem that outreaches made to the gaming community from the political space haven’t felt really authentic—like ‘Pokémon Go to the polls,’” Grant Wiles, NextGen’s vice president of data, research, and polling, told me over the phone.