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Myra Adams


September 3, 2013 - 4:06 pm

Trump 5


Imagine if the 2016 presidential election was held today and the candidates were Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, for whom would you cast your vote?

While preparing to write this piece I emailed that question to a family member who is male, thirty- two years old, lives in California and works for an internet company that everyone knows. His immediate response was:

Are you kidding me?  I would vote for Charles Manson over Donald Trump.

Despite the fact that Donald Trump is one of the most polarizing personalities in America, all signs point to the real possibility that “The Donald” is flirting with running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

I equate this happening with a slow motion train wreck — you know you should turn away but you just keep staring.

And “staring” is what crowds of conservative Republicans did this past summer when “The Donald” spoke at two highly political grassroots events along with a host of other 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls.

Let’s review the calendar and then analyze what it means.

In Washington D.C. on June 14th, (The Donald’s 67th birthday) he was the keynote dinner speaker at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority Conference” attended by 1,800 Christian conservatives. (Not exactly where one would expect Trump to spend his birthday evening unless he was totally serious about wooing this influential “family values” crowd.)

His second appearance was on August 10th at the evangelical Christian Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. (The called it “the most impressive political event that will take place in Iowa this year.”)

There is only one possible explanation for Trump to be in Ames, Iowa in August, 2013 – that’s right, he loves fresh corn on the cob!  But also he was invited to make his first-ever political visit to the first caucus state, where again he was the keynote speaker taking the podium after rising GOP star, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and former Senator Rick Santorum — the 2012 GOP Iowa caucus winner.

So why does ANY of this matter?

First, Trump’s appearance at both these events was meant to curry favor with a sliver of the most conservative/activist primary voting block within the Republican Party 29 months before the 2016 presidential primaries.

Therefore, other than Trump officially declaring his candidacy, could there be any better proof that Trump is seriously courting the GOP primary base in hopes of running for and winning the Republican presidential nomination?

Second, at these pre-2016 political “beauty pageants” (pun definitely intended because Trump owns the Miss Universe and Miss USA beauty pageants) Donald Trump was “the man to watch.”  But the major reason both event organizers asked Trump to be the keynote speaker was that they knew colorful sound-bites from Trump’s speeches would echo around cable news channels for at least one 24-hour news cycle; thus lifting these normally ignored gatherings into the national limelight.

From now on, I will refer to The Donald’s ability to attract political media attention as the “Trump Effect” bringing us to the first of five reasons why a Donald Trump candidacy could actually be a positive development for the Republican Party in 2016.

  • Trump brings celebrity pop culture to the GOP

Like it or not, Republicans must face the indisputable fact that we are living in an age where “celebrity” and politics have become permanently intertwined. This unfortunate development places the GOP at an extreme disadvantage since the party suffers from a severe shortage of pop culture star-power.

Clint Eastwood’s empty chair on stage at the 2012 RNC Convention was a symbol of this problem. Parenthetically, while I was watching Eastwood’s performance at the convention hall I was actually praying that what I was seeing live was playing out much better on TV. Unfortunately that prayer was not answered.

So enter Donald Trump an A-list, pop culture icon with 98% national name recognition and a personal global brand that people either love or hate. And due to the Trump Effect he is capable of filling that star-power void with as much media attention as the Republican Party can possibly tolerate.

For example, this past May, Mark Winter, spokesman for a local Novi, Michigan Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner where Trump was the headline speaker, said it was the highest turnout the event has ever seen, even compared to other Lincoln Day dinners across the country.  “Love (Trump) or hate him, people want to see him,” said Winter. “I think there’s an entertainment factor that’s different than having somebody stand up and just spout political views.”

The good news for the GOP is that a portion of the media spotlight aimed at Trump will spill over to some of the lesser known candidates thus increasing national exposure for the entire 2016 bench.

  • Trump is not afraid to call it like he sees it

This past March at the prestigious, annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in Washington D.C., Trump was a keynote speaker (of course). He generated enthusiastic applause and the Trump Effect worked in overdrive with this comment:

“We’re run by either very foolish or very stupid people.  What’s going on in this country is unbelievable. Our country is a total mess, a total and complete mess, and what we need is leadership.”

Then recently on August 20th, Trump made the following statement to Greta Van Susteren on the Fox News Channel:

“China is just laughing at how stupid our leadership is. They can’t believe they’re getting away — I deal with many people from China. I’ve made fantastic deals with people from China. They cannot believe how stupid our leadership is.”

These kind of statements spoken with old-fashioned American bravado are not ravings of a mad man, but powerful rallying cries aimed at the Republican base and the media responds like cats to catnip.

Then, all the attention and media buzz generated by Trump’s brash statements end up showering him with more keynote speaking invitations at Republican grassroots conservative events. That in turn fuels the Trump Effect creating more momentum that will influence his decision about an actual run for the nomination. (As opposed to just a “publicity run” meant to beef up Trump’s television ratings and bolster his personal brand which many believe are his real motives.)

  • Trump’s “kick ass” and “can do” winning attitude is appealing to the Republican base

Even though Trump is widely perceived to be a narcissistic egomaniac his “kick ass, get the job done, winning attitude” appeals to many Americans, but especially the Republican base who generally believe that our nation is on the path to permanent decline.

There is no doubt that Trump is perceived as a winner and voters like winners. The Trump name stands for national and international business success but also American achievement through hard work and marketing savvy.

Therefore, IF Donald Trump properly positions himself as the “American fixer” standing on his track record of national/ international management experience and job creation/ investment expertise — coupled with realistic policy plans about how to restore our national economy and standing in the world, THEN candidate Trump’s message and persona COULD become a key asset to the sagging, old, tired and toxic GOP brand.

Moreover, Trump’s enthusiasm and economic message might even attract single women, young voters and minorities who have all been driven away from the Republican Party.

  • Trump would not have to waste all his time fundraising

While attending Iowa’s, Family Leadership Summit, Donald Trump granted a widely reported interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl on This Week during which he discussed funding his own campaign if he decided to run. Karl offered that presidential campaigns can cost $500 million (actually a billion dollars is more accurate) and Trump said, “I’d be willing to spend that kind of money. I’d spend whatever it took.”

In the era of big campaign money the concept of self-funding might actually appeal to voters of both parties. Then Trump could make the case that he is not beholden to any person, or special interest group. More important, not having to spend all his time fundraising would free him up to work on developing bi- partisan and private sector solutions to our nation’s numerous problems.

  • Trump describes what it will take to run against Hillary Clinton

CNN reported that in his Iowa keynote speech Trump said the following:

“Somebody is going to have to emerge who is really smart and really tough,” he said. “Because Obama should have been beaten. Hillary is going to be tougher to beat. And the Republicans have to do what’s right. If they don’t pick the right person, and I mean, it has to be the perfect person, they are going to get dropped in the 2016 election.”

Also in that aforementioned keynote speech at the May Lincoln Day Dinner attended by a record breaking 2,300 faithful in Novi, Michigan, Trump predicted that Hillary Clinton would be the Democrat nominee and warned that if Republicans “don’t pick the right person, it will be a landslide.”

It sure sounds as if Trump is describing himself as the one who is capable of defeating Hillary, but still it is unrealistic to believe that a traditional Republican Party would nominate someone an unpredictable as Donald Trump to be its standard bearer in 2016.

However, after his early courting of the conservative base, it looks as if Donald Trump is laying the groundwork for a serious run. His ability to attract crowds of activist primary voters feeds his political ego, keeps him on the GOP speaking circuit and most important, in the national media spotlight with a political message.

Finally, a few months back I was discussing a possible Trump candidacy with a friend who is a well known political consultant. When I asked him what he thought about Donald Trump running in 2016 he said, “Trump has nothing except money and a big mouth.”

That may be true, but in our current political landscape where celebrity and pop culture rules the day, money and a big mouth can get you very far especially now when the Republican party is in desperate need of some strong leadership and a very big voice.

Myra Adams is a media producer, writer, and political observer who served on the McCain Ad Council during the 2008 McCain campaign, and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team. Her columns have appeared on PJ Media, National Review, The Daily Beast, The Daily Caller, RedState, BizPacReview and Liberty Unyielding. . Myra's web site contributes all profits to Christian charity. Follow Myra on Twitter @MyraKAdams

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All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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I'd go back to voting libertarian. Yes, he has a kick ass attitude that is sorely needed in the GOP, but they don't need shallow, celebrity pop culture. Is he angling for the Miley Cyrus endorsement?

Everything he's done in his life has been about him. We've already got a president like that. No thanks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hey rbj:
Part of what I am saying in the piece is the GOP needs to figure out how to use pop culture to our advantage. The Democrats certainly have and it works for them. Just because pop culture is shallow does not mean we can not ignore it because pop culture influences voters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

1. Trump is still beholden to old legacy media based on his pageant and Apprentice work. Would contradict with any attempts of the GOP to cast NBC et al on the sidelines for the next set of primary debates.

2. Trump, based on excerpts from recent books and opinions on immigration, would be anemetha to minorities (the "bling" black crowd, by way of rappers and boxers, may be an exception). He would actually scare Jews, whom have gradually been identifying more as republicans/conservatives (Romney came close to 40% which may not mean much votes, but could translate into campaign $$$).

3. Trump may just be a "heel", a paid villain that will glide the path for Hillary.

F it, stick to competancy and attitude - go with Scott Walker. Or go with Rand Paul and random Latino, and have the hovels of California, Florida and the southwest voting for that Paul Martinez, Paul Sandoval or Paul Cruz guy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I tweeted last year that I had no intention of ever voting for Trump, but I did want to hear what his toupee has to say.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is my strong recommendation that Republican and "family values" groups STOP inviting Trump to be their keynote speaker. The GOP is feeding Trump's political ego by showering him with speaking engagements and the media attention he then receives stems from this "platform of credibility" that these GOP events provide. This piece is trying to address that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'd much rather see a Mr. T as the nominee than Trump.

The difference is they are good self-promoters that didn't inherit a lot of money. Donald Trump is a phony.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Donald Trump is the Republican Alec Baldwin but the Democrats are smart enough not to nominate Baldwin for anything. . . yet. I know our lack of glitzy media star power is frustrating but we can't compete with the other side on that level because we just don't have their superficiality. I see Rudy Giuliani as our perfect candidate. Tough and smart. He cleaned up NYC after Dinkins demoralized it and he can clean up America after Obama. He has both domestic and foreign policy credibility. And a debate between Rudy and Hillary would be a magical media event. I think he has our sort of "star" power.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hilliary Clinton or Donald Trump??

God help us!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Nothing funny about The Death of a Nation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Trump as President of the U.S.? Why not just put a pangolin in the oval office?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I am NOT supporting Trump for President but merely making some observations based on several grassroots conservative events, media reaction and Trump's "courting" behavior.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let's see. Trump's most famous tag line is YOU'RE FIRED. Last election the dems ran ad after ad of people who had been FIRED by Mitt Romney. Or they accused him of it, truthfully or not.

Then old Mitt was talking Jobs, jobs, jobs to people who are perfectly comfortable having other people support them. So the old strategy of getting the economy rolling and providing good jobs doesn't seem to work anymore.

So, to most Americans, Trump is just your garden variety, heartless, soulless, rich fat cat who fires people on a whim. And just like Mitt, they feel that he doesn't relate to them.

Trump's fame is more of a notoriety.

I'm not seeing this train leaving the station.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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