The Last Days of Brand X
Trump Airlines (RIP 1992). Trump Vodka (2011). Trump Entertainment Resorts (2014). Trump: The Game (Died twice, 1989 & 2015). Trump Magazine (2009). Trump Steaks (2012). GoTrump.com (2007). Trump University, aka The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (2012). Trump Mortgage (2007).
And the next failed enterprise—the envelope, please—will be Trump 4 President (2016).
I am going out on a limb here and predicting the Going Out of Business Everything Must Go Super Colossal Bankruptcy Sale will be starting after the New Hampshire Primary results are in Tuesday night.
The signs are everywhere.
However, the world’s most successful over-achieving real estate man who dabbles in anything that comes to his hair’s mind, spins it, he lost in Iowa.
The coronation was cancelled the night of the Ioway caucus.
How did a man who was leading in ten straight polls manage to finish second, within a well-coiffured hair of finishing third to the amazing boy senator, Mario the Memorizer?
There are a number of theories:
- The Canadian-American vote went to Cruz.
- The home schooler and bible-thumper Evangelicals decided not to vote for the leading New York sinner in the race. They woke up on caucus day, and smelled the moral degeneracy.
- The polls fooled him. He didn’t realize he was ahead in the polls because they were all aimed at golfers, the retired Republicans who play golf all the time, who thought he might build more golf courses in the cornfields.
I will leave it to the rocket scientists to parse the vote more deeply. It doesn’t matter.
As compelling as Trump’s proto-fascism, xenophobia and bigotry values might be —and there is no denying that DJT is a master at manipulating the fears and anxieties of his public, and is a first- class carnival barker, a Svengali or Rasputin-like figure for the low information Republican base— he wasn’t the kind of leader the folks in Ioway wanted as their president.
Whatever the reasons, he didn’t win. As the Republican icon Coach Vince Lombardi of New Jersey used to say in another competitive sport, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
DJT had been the most ostentatious winner in the field of 17 competing for the coveted GOP nomination. How did he know he was a winner? Just look at the polls, he used to say. Why else would I be winning in the polls if I weren’t a winner?
He is now a loser, a mere mortal like the rest of us.
Ioway was Trump’s Waterloo. And I don’t mean Waterloo, IA. It explains his bizarre behavior.
Did you see his concession speech? Very moving. It also was the shortest in the annals of concession speeches. At least he got to mention the winner’s name, I think.
It is to Trump’s honor that he didn’t demand a recount. But he did charge the Texas senator with fraud. Cruz didn’t win, according to DJT’s analysis on twitter, “he stole it.”
He also argued for a do-over. In politics, they don’t give mulligans or second chances. Iowa is not a celebrity golf game.
All of this is not the behavior of a serious future leader. They know how the game works. You move on. You don’t lie down on the floor like a three year-old and kick your heels in a tantrum because they’re out of strawberry ice cream.
For a candidate whose brand is winning, finishing second is a cataclysmic unsustainable loss. In DJT’s Weltanschauung, politics is not like the Olympics where the silver and bronze also deserve a place on the winner’s platform. What he got out of Iowa was an arrow in his backside.
Trump is a big favorite in the New Hampshire Primary. But that’s what the polls said in Iowa.
Win, place, or show, in his mind he is still on the gold standard.
Here is how I think the last days of the Trump Inversion in American politics will go:
Like most of the candidates, he will win some and lose some primaries. He will stagger to the convention with more arrows in his back than Saint Sebastian.
When the going gets tough, the old American folk saying runs, the tough get going.
Trump cannot live with the altered persona of a well-guarded image of a winner. It would be against everything he stands for to be judged having feats of clay.
In my crystal ball, I see Trump announcing after another defeat or two that he is leaving the race. My worthy opponents are all good people, he will declare, regardless of whatever I said about them in the heat of battle. He is making the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the party and the nation.
By his telling, by throwing in the towel preemptively, he will be quitting while he’s ahead, still undefeated —so what if it was his first race— a true winner in the best Trump tradition.
While making his victory tour, he can spend the rest of campaign in his role as twitter-in-chief, making snarky comments about his worthy adversaries, all of which will make the cable network news shows.
In the end, he will be invited by the grateful establishment leaders to deliver the keynote address at the convention. I will stake my pundit’s license on its being the most entertaining speech in convention history.
Feb. 8, 2016