Donald Trump’s public image and the familiarity he has among Americans is largely due to the strength of his name-brand, his childish insistence on writing his name in ostentatious letters on everything he touches – golf courses, hotels, clothing for the wealthy – you name it, he’s named it. It is the primary source of his wealth and a key component of his identity as a political candidate, due to the fact that voters mistake his wealth for competence or business acumen, rather than simply participating in an economic system specifically engineered for the wealthy to get wealthier, which he has exploited to make his name-brand worth some $3 billion.
But as he soars in the polls, consumer confidence in his brand has been plummeting, especially among his megawealthy peers. For such a “successful businessman,” it turns out that alienating every single major demographic group that is not blue-collar white males is very bad for business. His lowbrow rabble-rousing demagoguery is also souring his reputation among those few Americans who could actually afford to purchase Trump products, as noted by POLITICO:
A December survey of American consumer opinion, fielded by the BAV Consulting division of advertising and marketing giant Young & Rubicam (and the largest and longest running study of brands in the world), found that since Donald Trump’s run for president, the Trump brand has lost the confidence of the people who can afford to stay at one of his hotels, play at one of his country clubs or purchase a home in one of his developments. It is also rapidly losing its association with the gilded traits Trump has long promoted as the essence of his business.
The signs have been there ever since Trump’s presidential announcement speech, where he infamously referred to Mexican immigrants as “drug dealers and rapists.” The backlash began almost instantly, when the Univision television network backed out of a 5-year, $13.5 million contract to air Trump’s Miss Universe and Miss USA beauty pageants. NBC fired him as host of the Celebrity Apprentice, another gig which netted him a significant paycheck.
More recently, his partners in the Middle East have begun cutting ties over his stated desire to ban Muslims from entering the United States. The Dubai retail powerhouse Landmark Group has stopped selling Trump’s products in over 195 stores from Libya to Pakistan, and his name has been removed from a Dubai golf course development that is part of a $6 billion dollar mammoth luxury construction project. The British Parliament is actually debating whether or not to ban him from the United Kingdom; he was stripped of a ceremonial ambassadorship to Scotland, Trump’s attempt to shut down a wind farm that would somehow impede his plans to build yet another luxury golf course was thrown out of court.
This new poll appears to indicate that Donald Trump has somehow managed to alienate members of his own – the few oligarchs and obscenely wealthy Americans who have come to dominate our political system. He has run his brand through the muck and all he has to show for it is a lead in the polls in two states that are dominated by blue-collar white men. We’ll see how that translates in states that are not so ethnically heterogeneous. When his campaign eventually fizzles out, we’ll be able to content ourselves that with luck, his career as a businessman might be over as well.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.