Monday, January 11, 2016

The Post-presidential race Trump Brand (again)

As I said last month, I am really interested to see how the Trump brand will fair after this election is over. I'm assuming, of course, that Trump won't become the 45th President (I still think that's a safe assumption, despite his persistent lead in the national GOP polls), which means that after this is all over, he will need to do something next.

I don't see how he can go back to his life before his presidential campaign. The Trump brand is just not what it was before. The public no longer associates him with business success, but rather with his divisive political campaign. He won't be able to do another show like "the Apprentice" because every time he says "you're fired" it won't be about how the candidate didn't meet Trumps alleged high standards, but rather about his or her ethnic or religious background, or fealty to Trump's political beliefs.

He won't be able to go back to being just another business leader either. A building with Trump's name on it doesn't mean the same thing it meant a year ago. His anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican comments are going to hurt his ability to do business abroad. Already one building project in Scotland has become a political football in the debate over whether Trump should be banned from the UK. People who don't like Trump's politics don't want to be in his buildings and, at least in some circles, there is going to be a stigma against doing business with Trump because of what happened in this campaign. I think his career as a real estate mogul--at least the very public version of that role he has played for the past few decades--is basically over.

After the campaign the only thing left for Trump will be to become a Bill O'Reilly-type figure. He could do well at it too! He's a natural loud mouth and he has a loyal core audience. Maybe that's good enough for Trump. But I wonder if he realizes that his presidential vanity project has permanently changed his career track.