Branding is about buy-in, not the retelling of reality. Branding sells ideas products by selling ideas. Is an Apple computer really worth two or three times more than a PC? If not, why would customers pay two or three times as much? Because of BRANDING! That’s why! When you sell the right image, feelings matter more than facts.
The best example of selling a right-wing image has got to be… Donald Trump. His genius in marketing cannot be underestimated. Early on, back in the 1980s and 1990s, he learned how to add a bit of marble here and a touch of gold there (even when the gold was just bronze) to overcharge for “premium” apartments.
While Trump has always had competitors, his eye for marketing goes far beyond that of his competitors. They too claim that bronze is gold, but it takes a Trump to consistently sell nothing… at a premium price. Twenty years ago, when the Trump Towers opened, he secretly added 10 stories to the floor count, making it seem that floors were higher, and thus worth more.
Of course, that was a younger and less experienced Donald Trump. If he could do it all over again today, I’m confident that the future Ex-President Donald Trump could successfully sell apartments on those non-existent floors. If you think that’s impossible, you just haven’t been exposed to the unique wisdom of Donald Trump. The power of the Donald Trump brand… Trumpism, if you will… shows the power of Branding when you are really, really committed to the Brand!
A natural development in Trumpism was his brilliant “growth through bankruptcy” model. Having gone bankrupt 4 (possibly 6) times, Donald Trump was able to incompetency in business as plucky determinism. His book, “The Art of the Deal” became an early attempt at rebranding perpetual business failure as Entrepreneurial genius. Yes, Donald Trump became America’s greatest Entrepreneur by going bankrupt more often than anyone else.
Trump became the come-back kid who would eventually become President! This is not to say that other bankrupt entrepreneurs never tried their hand at politics. But those individuals usually sold themselves on how they treated their employees and business partners. How they sold their houses and emptied their bank accounts to help the people who helped them build their fortune. People who take responsibility, feel for others and are willing to bear their share of the blame when things go wrong. In other words, “losers”. Identifying and labeling losers is a core part of Trumpist thinking.
Trump, always a winner, was able to offload his financial losses to hundreds of companies and thousands of workers. In a less lawyered up culture, Trump might have been held responsible for the cost of a failed business. What kind of a billionaires doesn’t love making rank and file workers pay their debts. Well, with a little help and a touch of arm twisting by a large legal team! Genius, pure genius… am I right?
Thus Trump built another critical pillar of Trumpism, personal harm reduction. Or, as the mainstream media calls it, “throwing everyone under the bus”. Call it what you will… IT WORKS! I think we can all safely bet that in the final days of the Trump Administration… and beyond… we’re going to see a lot of harm reduction. A LOT.
Another important pillar of Trumpism is “alternative facts”. Trump consultant Kellyanne Conway invented this term early on in the Trump administration. Alternative facts, fake news, and other rallying cries are commonplace in Trumpism. The complex and nuanced language of Trumpism is often difficult to grasp. If “alternative facts” are too difficult to understand, consider other terms… like equivocate, prevaricate, falsify, dissemble, or (in a pinch) good old fashion lies. A simple lie can get you out of some pretty tight spots!
Consider the Birther movement. Birtherism is the belief that Barak Obama was not the legitimate President of the United States, because he was not born in America. Ask any American who was an adult back then, “Who invented Birtherism?”, and the answer was … Donald Trump! President Obama putting his birth certificate on-line before the election did little to stop the growth of the Birthers. That’s one powerful Brand!
But that’s all in the past! What can we expect for the Trump Brand in 2021? Why don’t we put it all together?
The riots are over, the election is settled, and Trump will soon be an ordinary citizen. JUST KIDDING! Trump, and Trumpism, isn’t going anywhere. Maybe Trump will carry or the brand, or maybe Ivanka or Trump Jr will carry on the brand name until 2024. A little sedition and a coup d’état in our capital d’état? NO! A show of patriotism. An incredibly, unrelentingly, massive show of patriotism?
Not buying it? No problem, those MAGA cap-wearing rioters? Trump never met them. In fact… they look like Democratic infiltrators! Of course Trump will testify against them. Over the next 4 years, Trump and his family will work relentlessly to find the Democrats who are responsible for Stealing the election and starting the riot. And imprisoning whoever stole his Twitter account.
Back in 2016, Trump said, “There’s going to be so much winning that you’ll say, ‘Please, please, there’s too much winning, we can’t take it anymore!’ ” Well, I have heard a lot of people say “Please, please stop!”, and “I can’t take it anymore!” So Trump was right again. And isn’t Trump being right more important than anything else for America?