Make Trump great again
What’s Donald Trump to do if, as the latest polls suggest, he fails to win the White House next month? The U.S. presidential hopeful has removed what he called the “shackles” of toeing the Republican line and gone after critics in his own party. But the real-estate mogul’s campaign may be damaging his businesses and narrowing down his financial options.
Trump was well known to voters long before he became a candidate. His name is emblazoned on hotels and skyscrapers in New York, Florida, Chicago, Las Vegas and, most recently, Washington, D.C. His luxury properties and golf courses cater to a more affluent crowd than is the norm among his political supporters, who largely don’t have college degrees and don’t live in cities.
Before he announced his candidacy, the Trump name added up to 37 percent to the value of a venture, according to research by Brand Keys. His reputation has, however, been notably sullied since the release on Friday of a 2005 recording in which he bragged that his celebrity meant he could do anything he wanted with women, including groping them. In financial terms alone, his brand value fell by eight percentage points in real estate and six percentage points in country clubs and golf courses, according to Brand Keys.
Other comments demeaning Muslims and Hispanics have also taken their toll. Visitors to Trump-branded businesses in the United States have fallen by 14 percent over the year through July, Foursquare said in August. The Republican nominee’s strategy since the release of the recording suggests he won’t let up with his bombast. On Tuesday, Trump said on Twitter that “the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”
The reality-TV star can still bank on his fame. Ratings for the first presidential debate hit a record 84 million viewers, though viewership dropped off a bit for the second face-off. His rallies attract thousands of die-hard fans. But if his traditional businesses are suffering because of his divisive campaign – something the candidate would surely deny – he may need new ideas.
One that’s doing the rounds is the possibility of parlaying his presidential run and populist views into a news network. He already has former Fox News executive Roger Ailes as an adviser. If Trump fails to become president, he could still hope to be a winner with Trump TV.