His date with destiny

Knapps

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08, Nov 2016

In 1987, when he was converting his father’s millions into billions, Oprah Winfrey asked him if he would consider running for President. He replied "Probably not." Then he added that if things got “really bad”, he would not rule it out totally. When he finally decided to contest, they first mocked him and then feared him. Win or lose, the 2016 US presidential election has belonged to Donald J Trump.

What captures the spirit of Trump?

Donald Trump did it in 2016. This is the power of positive thinking.

Why has he been able to come this far?

Donald Trump’s success is so abrupt, surprising and illogical that it almost seems lifted out of a storybook. Or, as he says, the elections have been rigged (only this time in his favour).

Dig deeper and you see the real reason.

“I support Donald Trump because he’s different, not part of the normal action in Washington. And I hope that he continues that way.” ~ A Trumpist

  • Such is the frustration among many Americans about the normal way of doing political things in Washington that they see Donald Trump as the straight-talking messiah who calls a spade a spade. Never mind that his slogan “Make America great again” is not clear on details. His voters understand that America is not great right now.

Characteristics of a Trump supporter

  • Did not go to college
  • Went to college but is unable to find a decent livelihood
  • Feels left-out of the political process
  • Wants to wage a war against ‘outsiders’
  • Lives in parts of America with racial tensions
  • Wants ‘someone like him’ as President

The outsider image has helped Trump get away with making casual - some would say unacceptable - remarks against his political opponents because making such remarks makes him more of an outsider!

Trump has been clever in decentralizing his message. There is no one message. He tweaks his messages as per his audience. He gives them what they want. They want a politically incorrect President. They are the 45 per cent of America that resides in the Trump Country.

When did Trump prove all of them all wrong?

When he had just started campaigning, one senior advisor of Hillary Clinton remarked that they should pay a billion dollars to Donald Trump to continue doing what he did. He thought it was funny what Trump was saying and doing.

  • Today, Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States in 2016, having won the most state primaries, caucuses, and delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention. Most opinion polls have predicted the election to be a tight contest between him and Hillary Clinton.

On route to the Election Day, Trump has made many controversial, offensive, or what Hillary calls ‘gross’ remarks.

  • Many of his remarks have been so controversial they helped his campaign garner extensive coverage by the mainstream media, trending topics, and social media.
  • He has referred to Mexicans as “rapists,” mocked the physical appearance of his opponents (though he doesn’t have a body to flatter either), falsely claimed that “thousands” in New Jersey cheered as the World Trade Center fell and, what many said dealt a huge blow to the secular ethics of America, called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

If one adjective is to be ascribed to his campaign, ‘chaotic’ is a good choice. But his campaign has been chaotic by choice.

The Washington Post (an organization he hates) ran a review of Trump’s speeches, interviews and thousands of tweets and retweets over the past six months. Their conclusion was simple - “For the most part, Donald Trump is a disciplined and methodical candidate.”

  • “Trump delivers scores of promises, diatribes and insults at breakneck speed. He attacks a regular cast of villains including undocumented immigrants, Muslims, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, his GOP rivals and the media. He keeps the narrative arc of each controversy alive with an endless stream of statements, an unwillingness to back down even when he has misstated the facts — and a string of attacks against those who criticize him,” writes Washington Post.
  • “All the while, his supporters see a truth-talking problem solver unlike the traditional politicians who have let them down”, it concludes.
  • To be fair to him, only 11% of his tweets were ‘insults’; the remaining 89% were aimed at self-bragging and self-promotion.

Case-in-point: Trump logged nearly 50 insults in one speech in which he described President Obama as representing “us very poorly — very, very poorly — horribly, actually”; Secretary of State John F. Kerry as a “loser”; and the American Dream as “dead.” He did not even spare his Republican rivals, calling Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush as “Choker,” “weak” and “clown” on his way to nomination. He insists on calling Hillary Clinton as ‘crooked Hillary’ and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as a “rapist”.

Where does all the money come from?

As soon as he declared he would run for President, Trump also announced he would self-fund his campaign. He reminded everyone that he is a billionaire - he flaunted it actually.

Donald Trump is a classic real estate mogul, and due to his uncanny ability of making lucrative deals out of dead properties (which he refurbishes), he has amassed a net worth of an estimated $4 billion. His rivals have questioned if he is actually a billionaire, with some suggesting he is bankrupt. On the extreme end, some even say his Presidential campaign is just an attempt to add to his brand and business value.

Here is a breakdown of Trump's businesses and brands under the Trump Organization umbrella.

  • Trump has sold some of the most expensive American properties. New York makes up the bulk of this portfolio with ownership of some of the most expensive and tallest properties in the state. His international properties can be found in Canada, Turkey, Panama, South Korea, the Philippines, India, and Uruguay.
  • Donald Trump loves his surname. The Trump Organization owns hotel properties and also licenses Trump's name to properties around the world. Trump hotels can be found in Illinois, Nevada, Florida, New York and Hawaii. International properties are in Ireland, Panama and Canada, and under construction in many other regions. One of the centrepieces is the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago.
  • The Trump Organization has in recent years created an impressive portfolio of 17 golf courses around the world.
  • The Trump Organization owns a stake in Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc. The IPO of this company (since owned by another company) was instrumental in Trump's comeback from a financial crisis in the mid-1990s.
  • Trump Model Management is a natural extension of Trump's natural interest in beauty pageants, with his production company producing Miss USA pageants and 'Pageant Place.' Trump bought Miss Universe Inc, a rival to the Miss World beauty pageant in 1996, and went on to use it as a way of boosting his own profile and that of his brands. Barrack Obama took a dig at him reminding his audience that Trump has significant exposure to foreign policy, and his foreign policy exposure includes highlights such as meeting with “Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan.” Miss Sweden (2014) retorted that she liked Trump’s leadership skills.
  • Most people do not know that the popular TV shows in which Trump has featured - 'The Apprentice,' 'Pageant Place,' 'The Celebrity Apprentice' and 'The Ultimate Merger,' - are owned by Trump’s own company, Trump Productions.

Trump’s personal financial-disclosure report lists him as a trustee, president, chairman, or member for more than 530 entities.Almost half of these companies listed have Trump's name as part of the company name. Not all of them have been successful; in fact there have been glorious failures such as that of Trump University and Trump Ice (bottled water).

Just as he proved to be a relentless campaigner, Trump is also a tireless businessman. He is more interested in creating brands than in operating companies.

Who had a tough time dealing with the Trump phenomenon?

The honest answer to this would be ‘everyone’. One particular section was particularly made to struggle by the rise of Donald Trump - the media.

The former reality TV star realized long ago that it is indispensable to remain on the front pages of newspapers for the personal brand value to increase.

  • When he was fighting a bitter divorce case with his wife (who had figured out that Trump cheated on her), he made front page news. At the end of the controversy, he was a much more popular figure than he would have been without it. He understood that he must be discussed in the media, and the media is biased towards scandals and negativity.
  • So he gave them what they wanted - the negativity. He played the villain. He dominated the print, electronic and social media.He got so much space on the front page that he crowded out his rivals.
  • And then The Donald declared that the media is unfair and biased. They mentioned even this on the front pages.

Trump has offered them everything that good stories are made of - arrogance, ignorance, overconfidence, an army of believers and a lack of restraint in framing phrases. They all reported on him hoping to enjoy the Trump wave while it lasted. The cartoonists had a new favourite. The leading editors had a new villain. They could not resist predicting why Donald Trump would never be the Republican nominee. Then Trump became the nominee.

He continued talking, they continued reporting. He called the elections ‘rigged’ in a debate. They discussed whether it was really rigged for days. They always fell for it.

Morale of the story: If you want to be President, make the media talk about you. You gain even if they laugh at you. Then you laugh at them.

How does Trump deserve to win?

  • He paid for his own campaign (“every penny” he claims) and - as a rank outsider - ran against the entire political class, facing and eliminating 16 powerful rivals for the Republican nomination. Isn’t that respectable
  • The media have remained arrogantly hostile to Trump, and Trump has fed on that hostility — not just gaining publicity but also ensuring his supporters push for a pro-Trump backlash. Towards the end of his campaign, he launched his own media channel on Facebook. He was playing the media all along while making them feel they are preying on him. Isn’t that creative
  • Most people would crumble under the allegations Trump was subjected to, ranging from financial fraud to sexual assaults. Yet, he kept going with his eyes on the target and away from the temporary distractions. They alleged. He counter-alleged. He moved on. He fought off every allegation with an uncanny calm. No one could stop him from going the distance. Isn’t that inspirational
  • In ways more than many, Donald Trump has epitomized the stereotype of the American dream, where anyone who tries can have a shot at anything he wants. As America votes today, Trump has a tough task defeating Clinton. In fact, they say she has more than a reasonable chance of winning. Yet, we can be assured that Trump will wait till the last vote is counted. The fear is, with his power of positive thinking, he may not concede even after the results are declared.

    But that is what we think. Right now, the only thought in the Trump mind is victory. Total victory.

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