Donald Trump has destroyed his brand

The odds of a Trump supporter staying in a Trump hotel are slim to none.

Donald Trump, a world-class narcissist with no interests beyond self-promotion and money, in all likelihood entered the presidential race as a promotional gimmick. That’s what former advisers suggest, at any rate.

It’s the only thing Trump has ever been good at – self-promotion, that is. His actual real-estate business cratered, as the 1995 tax returns show. A string of businesses (vodka, airlines, mortgage brokerage, football team) all failed. But through it all, Trump’s insatiable desire for publicity and expertise in media manipulation – from exaggerating his wealth to assuming the identity of a PR man – fuelled his image and generated a certain level of wealth (less than advertised, but still).

Not only will Trump lose the 2016 election, but also his brand – such as it is now – is that of a creepy old man, a bigot, a misogynist. His pre-debate stunt parading accusers of Bill Clinton only confirmed his reputation as a tawdry manipulator of women, someone lacking an ounce of common decency. As he blustered and rambled, stalked and hovered over Hillary Clinton he reminded us that he’s no genius business mogul. He’s a loser, a phony and a jerk.

Think about this. Who would want a “degree” from Trump University? Who thinks he will seem classy and sophisticated staying in a Trump hotel? What developer is going to want to put Trump’s name on his building?

Sure, there will be the less-educated, poor white men who admire Trump and maybe buy his books (when they come out in paperback), but these are not his core customers, his hotel guests, his business partners or his bankers. If doing business with Trump now earns you a slew of awful publicity (e.g. women boycotting, Hispanics picketing), why would you do business with the country’s most infamous sleazebag? His name has long been associated with crass excess and garish taste, a poor man’s version of how the rich live. Now his name is synonymous with gross lechery.

Then there is some legal karma. Given Trump’s now well-advertised treatment of women, his reputation as a con man and his well-documented refusal to pay contractors, one can imagine that rather than instituting a raft of lawsuits, he is going to be on the receiving end of many suits from aggrieved women, employees, business partners and customers. The settlement value of those cases goes up as the potential for monstrous jury verdicts looms over Trump’s head. The man who abused litigation is about to spend a whole lot of time with lawyers figuring out how to stave off litigation, meritorious or not.

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