A blog from The Drum's editor, Stephen Lepitak, covering reaction to events in media, social media, marketing, advertising and communications in general.
The self-perpetuating Donald Trump presidential marketing theory
Watching the first presidential debate live on Twitter last night, it was hard to remember a more polarised pair duking it out to become commander in chief – one was a former first lady with a successful political career of her own, the other a Manhattan property magnate who has confounded the world and his own party in still being very much in the race for the White House.
However, there was a moment where Donald Trump spoke about the "great" business he had built, going on to mention the hotel that he is building in Washington, next to the White House, stating that he would get there one way or another, which felt out of place. Then I remembered the theory that has gone around for sometime now – it's an elaborate one but Trump does seem to continue to play into it.
What is that theory? Well – some believe that Trump doesn't actually want to be President.
'Nonsense!' you might state. Why has he gone to all of the effort of the last couple of years if he didn't want to win?
Well, he is a showman, that is for certain. And while campaigning he has been given the biggest stage on Earth to mention his many, many business investments and build his own brand. He is first and foremost a businessman – not a politician.
"We're just opening up, on Pennsylvania Avenue, right next to the White House. So if I don't get there one way, I will get to Pennsylvania Avenue another. We're opening the old post office, under budget, ahead of schedule, saved tremendous money, a year ahead of schedule, and that's what this country should be doing," were his words. A blatant advert if ever there was one. No doubt many went straight to Google to find out more about the business too.
But, even if Hillary does win out, Trump cannot lose. For all the headlines and the crowds of fans he now has on his side, the Trump empire is likely to boom in the short term. And why wouldn't he want to be there to enjoy the moment in the sun? He doesn't need to be spending time with foreign diplomats and negotiating with people from countries he has no personal investment in.
While unlikely, the theory does actually hold water and if it is true, and he does become the next American president, then God help us all. And good luck to him. He'll certainly need it.
Stephen Lepitak is editor of The Drum
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