I just watched Donald Trump’s victory speech/press conference after he won primaries in Mississippi and my home state of Michigan. Were it not for the constant reciting of poll numbers, I would’ve sworn it was an infomercial for Ron Popiel’s latest invention: The Trumpinator 5000!
Honestly, I know many of you are fans of Trump, but I just don’t get it. He is a brand, not a businessman. And we may never know just how good of a brand he is because he won’t release his taxes, even from years not under alleged audit.
Trump Steaks are alive and well, according to Donald. As proof, he offered a pile of vacuum sealed meat. That is meaningless, of course, since Trump Steaks are not available for purchase anywhere on the planet because the product was discontinued.
You can still get something called “Trump Steaks” at Trump resorts, but that’s just a dish named after him on his menus, like “Chicken Alice” in the Brady Bunch. The “Trump Steaks” for purchase, which were only ever sold in the Sharper Image catalog, no longer exist. Sorry, those of you sick of having to drive to two separate locations to buy your massage chairs and dinner meats.
I grilled a couple of steaks tonight for me and my wife. I bought them at Costco, but when I brought them home, I put them in Ziploc bags and christened them “Hunter Steaks.” They were the best, classiest chunks of cow ever. Scoff all you want, but Hunter Steaks are as real as Trump Steaks.
Then there was Trump Water. Originally called Trump Ice and launched in the heyday of Celebrity Apprentice, it was bottled water with Donald’s picture on it. Guess that was supposed to make it classy or something. Turns out people didn’t want classy water, or at least water bottles with Donald’s face on it.
Now Trump Water is available only at Trump resorts around the world. Much like “Trump Steaks,” the company is gone, but the label remains. I’ve stayed in plenty of hotels that slap their company logo on the bottled water you find in your room. This is hardly a testament to business acumen.
In fact, if you want to feed your inner narcissist, there are companies out there where you can print custom water bottle labels with your name on them. If you want to live like an insecure billionaire, it’s just a click away.
As for Trump Wine, another Trump Brand Product featured at his press conference, I’ve had some and it’s not bad. That could be because Donald purchased a good winery, or it could be because he does not drink, so he had no input on quality control. Either way, it’s decent stuff.
What is bad, though, is a top contender to lead a major party’s presidential ticket felt the need to reduce himself to a Price Is Right model to show off “products” because Mitt Romney pointed out how they’ve failed. But then, Trump should be expected to be protective of his brand given that’s all he cares about.
Sure, he loves those buildings with his name on them, at least the ones he owns as opposed to those he licenses his name to. But you’d have to pretty much pump asbestos into the air-conditioning system to lose money on Manhattan real estate you own.
So what did we learn from Trump’s post-primary press conference aside from he gets to call meat whatever he wants and can print labels for water bottles? Well, he’s leading in the polls and former Cincinnati Red and New York Yankee Paul O’Neill is apparently a member at his golf resort. That’s about it.
Oh, and everything will be great again…somehow.
He’s going to revitalize the auto industry…somehow. He’s going to bring jobs back from China…somehow.
Trump seems to be under the impression the president runs companies and he will get various industries “better deals” with whatever entity they’re currently losing to.
Trump spends a lot of time sounding like a Democrat when it comes to companies moving jobs overseas. What he never addresses, maybe because he doesn’t know, is the tax and regulatory scheme in the United States that makes it advantageous for companies to ship their manufacturing arms to another country.
It’s not cheap to outsource, and it’s not simply cheap labor that attracts them. The cost of doing business, of complying with regulations and the monstrous tax code, is higher than the cost of resetting supply lines, building or renovating facilities, training new staff, shipping products back into the U.S. and the PR disaster associated with outsourcing. Companies don’t leave as much as they are chased; it’s Atlas shrugging on a company-by-company basis.
This remains unaddressed by Trump, as does nearly every other policy issue facing the country.
But a lot of GOP primary voters, especially in states where independents and Democrats can vote, don’t seem to care.
They don’t have to, of course, people can cast their ballot for whomever they want for whatever reason they want. But it’s important to remember we aren’t on Let’s Make A Deal. When Wayne Brady (or Monty Hall, depending on how old you are) offers to trade the new kitchen set you just won for what’s behind curtain number 3, you don’t have any business complaining when you take it and find out you’ve just won a goat.
Not that Donald Trump is a goat; you know what you’re getting with a goat. Donald Trump remains, eight months into his campaign, a mystery. And voters seem content to follow that mystery to…who knows?
But fear not, Trump fans. If it turns out you wake up Jan. 20, 2017, with a President Trump who, once it comes time to govern, doesn’t live up to what you’d projected him to be, you can always drown your sorrows with Trump Vodka. Of course, you’ll have to pay collector prices for it. Not because it’s super-classy, but because it went out of business a few years ago.