29 Mar Resilience of the Trump Brand
Although I see and hear the acrimony from the “Never Trumpers” daily on the media, I usually don’t experience it firsthand because most of my friends and relatives who voted for Hillary or Bernie and now continue to oppose our President, do not push this on me. They are polite and considerate about our differences, and in general we shy away from confrontation on political matters to avoid insulting each other, I guess.
But last night, I attended a meeting of writers, and for the first time since the election, I was witness to this contentious phenomenon. For the first time since I selected “Donald Trump” in the voting booth, I felt assaulted. In truth, I felt like the “enemy” was advancing on me, and I wondered if I was alone in this, because if there were Trump supporters in the group, they remained mostly silent. Unless I couldn’t hear them over the laughter.
I can’t say I was completely surprised, but instead of getting angry, I decided to become analytical about it. Context: a member of the group was reading an excerpt from a book he was writing. One of the characters in the novel was the President of the United States. It could have been anyone and a member of the group asked if the character was modeled on our current President, Donald J. Trump. That’s when it all started.
The attacks were not about issues or policies these anti-Trump folks may have disagreed with. The “Never Trumpers” were lashing out against Trump’s hair! They felt compelled to make a mockery of the way he spoke! I guess they needed to hit below the belt to make a point, although I am not sure what point was being made. As I reflect on it, I think they unwittingly descended to a very low level of confrontation for reasons that escape me. As an offer of literary critique, one person said the dialogue must be “dumbed down” to properly represent the way Trump spoke. There was laughter. Is it okay because they are just joking?
I spoke up because that’s what I do, and I asked, “Are you all ‘Never Trumpers’?” I added “Maybe I joined the wrong group.” There was some retreat from the fray that was not particularly apologetic, and my memory doesn’t serve me well as to how the discussion evolved from that point except for the fact that the denigration was also turned on former President Bush.
This morning, I recount this for my readers because as I reflect on this interaction among a diverse group of strangers, who I encountered because of our common love of the written word, I have developed a new wrinkle in my admiration for my President and his team. I find myself examining the effect of all of this vitriol and constant public ridicule on the Trump brand.
Despite the fact that many in our society feel that business people “don’t build” their companies, I think Trump did build it, and that the Trump brand is still strong, to the dismay of his “enemies.” I actually think it is being built on the backs of those who hurt only themselves and their own image when they sink to the level of personal ridicule when discussing or joking about the 45th President of the United States, their President. Mr. Trump represents all of us, not just the “deplorables” in our society. Yet, out of the mouths of those who appear to be upstanding people in every other way, comes unveiled personal contempt for a leader who has been in office less than 100 days!
What is to become of the Trump brand, under these circumstances? Ironically, I think it will grow and become stronger under the leadership of the Trump family primarily because of its resilience. Any brand that can withstand this kind of constant and daily pummeling must be one that has enduring value to those served by the brand. The intangibles that follow this brand like “action not words,” “results not appearances” takes aim at the old adage that perception is more important than reality. There is a significant representation of the American people who are tired of fake everything, whether the deception comes from the media, politicians, or business leaders. They want results.
At long last, we have someone in the Oval that wants to keep it real. He talks directly to the American people and all he asks is for support for the programs and improvements he promised to those who voted for him. If adversity either kills you or makes you stronger, Mr. Trump and his brand will become legendary.
To the “Never Trumpers” out there in my midst, I hope the next time you attack I’ll have more to say.