a reply to: theantediluvian
The rise of Mr. Trump began coming clear to me ages ago when I first focused in the the nature of branding. That the quality of a product was far less
important than the trust of an image, of the brand. This was with Mr. Reagan. The brand was Boraxo. But not just Boraxo, it was a combination of
Reaganboraxo and the people emptied the shelves. This did not go unnoticed by American industry.
Some people I guess think that Mr. Reagan decided to run for president but this is not the case. He was shopped for by The National Association of
Manufacturers. The American people had had a bad taste in their mouths from the turn of the previous century brought about by the monopolies and
tycoons of the 1800s that had stretched on up into the 1970s and American industry had battled that 'bad' image for decades.
They had invented all sorts of images to assuage that dislike with friendly faces like Tony the Tiger and Ronald McDonald and the Stay Puff and the
Green Giant, ho ho ho . And not surprising, these images were aimed at children, children who would develop a trust for the friendly images that would
carry with them through out their lives, with little assessment of the quality of the product.
What big business needed was a face that would not only brand with one single product, but more, with big business as a whole, and Mr. Reagan became
their guy. His fatherly smile, his ambling gate reminded people of 'grandpa' and enough of us trusted that image, that brand so that with him
presenting for them they deregulated the guidelines that had controlled the wealth accumulation of the captains of industry for over half a century.
We know now how that has played out. But back to Mr. Trump.
The image of Big Business, the brand, had come out of the closet. Coupled with the meme that government bureaucracy and ineptness served the public
inefficiently, the meme that Big Business was more efficient gained stature. That in the world of capitalist competition, efficiency ruled, that a
company that was not totally efficient would go out of business. The idea of Darwin's survival of the fittest had transformed into the Social
Darwinism we see today. That if a company survives the field of competition, they must be the best and so on.
Anyway, from my vantage point it seemed that the next logical step in the overthrow of the American people would be to remove the 'smiling spokesman'
that had been Mr. Reagan, and replace him with the face of a real live businessman. A real live rootin tootin capitalist. And up rose Ross Perot in 92
Daddy Bush was not that popular a VP. Mr. Reagan' charm did not wash off on him enough to win him a second term. Ross Perot stepped in to try to avoid
the populist Clinton and delivered the straight big business message. Trust business because we are honest and efficient. Trust us because we have
proven our leadership in the business world. But Mr. Perot lacked one essential thing, a brand. Voters did not know what he had been successful at
other than that he had gotten rich. His second run in 96 was almost a complete joke because Mr. Clinton had ridden the wave of emerging high tech and
business was thriving.
After Mr. Perot, Mr. Forbes jumped in. Mr. Forbes was also a pusher of the capitalist marketplace. But his only brand was as a publisher and most
specifically of a magazine aimed at business people. He had no brand that was easily recognizable to the general public like corn flakes or
So along comes Trump University. The company offered courses in real estate, asset management, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation.(wiki) WEALTH
CREATION. Very little substance here. Nothing on how to create a product, only how to push it and capitalize on it. Vacuous. But what was clear was
the branding. That Mr. Trump was tossing spare money at various places that mostly gained him more of a famous brand. That the university is now
proving nothing but a sham from day one is no surprise.
But then the genius stroke came forth. Mr. Trump, unlike Mr. Reagan who had been pushed to the forefront of the American consciousness as a spokesman
for big business, Mr. Trump WAS big business. He was the personification of capitalism. And the grand stroke was "The Apprentice"
Staring and produced by Mr. Trump himself, this series promoted his image, his brand as Mr. I am the Boss. In the face of insecure economic times, of
American workers being laid off left and right, he could say "You're Fired" and be loved for it. He adopted the 'fictional' persona of the BOSS and it
stuck. He had his brand, a brand that Messers Perot and Forbes had failed to achieve. He had become the personification of a friendly capitalist,
ruthless, efficient and successful. (Never mind all the failures)
It is no surprise that he chose the Republican Party to make his bid. It's brand after all is that of the party of big business.
Now I'm not saying that Mr. Trump is in anyone else' s pocket or that he is a front man for the powers that be. That was Mr. Reagan's role. What I am
saying is that Mr. Trump IS the powers that be. Not this nefarious secret cabal of tightly knit world controllers that it is now fashionable to
perceive them as, rather, that the powers that be are the big winners in the capitalist system. Messers Perot and Forbes were winners but lacked one
major ingredient. Stardom. Mr. Reagan was proof enough that the rocket to control was celebrity stardom and Mr. Trump understands this like no other.