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Roundtable: How Will Trump's Reputation Be Affected By a Presidential Run?

Aaron Steinfeld

Donald TrumpWelcome to the inaugural edition of the Unboxed Thoughts Roundtable.  Are you wondering "what is this, and why am I reading it?" Great question. And the equally great answer? I've violated the email in-box sanctity of the clever, witty and quick professionals at CJP to ask their opinions for a very deep question:

Will Donald Trump's image be affected positively or negatively if he decides to run for president?

Five lucky contestants were brave enough to step up to the soapbox to offer their opinions. The "post-du-jour" highlights the first round of answers to the above question, with round two coming on Monday (get psyched!). Without further adieu...


"Donald Trump is an entertainer who has derived success from his “big” personality. He’s outspoken, and while he’s not always a “controversial” character per se (not counting the past few weeks), he never passes on a chance to be divisive. His Presidential foreplay fits in perfectly with his image. It’s reinforcement of his brand to a TEE. It’s up to individuals to determine what they think of him, but no doubt he’s playing into his “larger than life” persona that has brought him success." ~Jake (@jsd5020)
"I'm really not sure that I am interested in the effect of a presidential run on Donald Trump's image.  I think I am more concerned about the impact of a Trump run on the international opinion of the American political process.

The man is obviously an accomplished businessman.  He has mastered the art of the deal, and there are myriad examples of captains of industry becoming able and excellent elected officials (Mike Bloomberg springs instantly to mind.)  But, with that caveat, I think that Trump is looked at as more of a celebrity/showman than a serious politician, and I am afraid that his candidacy would be more of a distraction than anything else.  Without hearing his platform, I think its safe to say that he could probably build up a fairly strong following based on name recognition alone.  But unlike junior high, being popular or recognizable should not be the primary prerequisite for aspiring to elected office.

Is it uncouth to mention that he has been bankrupt four times, I think?" ~Tom (@trozycki)
"I think Donald Trump’s image will be negatively affected if he decides to run for president. He just doesn’t have the credentials to be taken seriously in a bid for president. It leaves people wondering if it’s some kind of joke or another move to stay in the spotlight." ~Kelsea
"He’s a filthy rich real estate mogul, so he’s actually famous for something other than being famous. Yet he also yearns for a larger spotlight, so he does things like his Apprentice show, throwing his hat into the reality TV ring, and by doing so relegating himself to the level of “celebrity” attention seeker status reserved for "celebutantes," former sports and music stars and other has-beens or never-weres.

If we didn’t live in the society we live in today where we reward the famous for being famous, the reaction to his candidacy might be akin to Doc Brown in “Back to the Future” when he finds out Ronald Reagan is the president in the 80’s.

“Ronald Reagan! The actor? Then who's Vice-President? Jerry Lewis?”

But we do live in a society where being famous only ever seems to be a good thing. At least for those who know how to handle that fame. If he runs, it will just get him more face time and larger exposure. So unless he does or says something incredibly stupid while campaigning odds are running won’t hurt his image.

If he runs and does poorly: So what?  He still has tons of money and influence and he’s still the star of a network TV series.

If he runs and does well (but doesn’t get elected): He positions himself as a bigger player in the politics and the world in general and expands his influence.

If he runs and somehow wins: Then we’ll know that being rich and famous is all it’s cracked up to be.  There will be a lot of beautiful and empty sky scraper apartment buildings littering the countryside that no one can afford to live in. Maybe he’ll even reward Kim Kardashian, for whatever it is she does, and make her Secretary of State. God help us all.

At the end of the day, win, lose or draw his supporters will still support him and those who loathe him will continue to do so. Running for President will not change any of that." ~Rob (@RobBabecki)
"Donald Trump doesn’t think it’s possible to damage his image. There is a reason the “no publicity is bad publicity” school of public relations’ moniker is the Donald Trump School. The Donald’s run won’t hurt him professionally any more than Ross Perot’s ’92 and ’96 runs hurt him. And Perot actually ran—he raised money, campaigned, participated in several of the major debates and even managed to win close to 20% of the popular vote the first time around.  So far, Donald Trump’s campaign has consisted of talking to the ladies of The View about Barack Obama’s lack of a birth certificate and going on rants about the rising power of China. Trump’s willingness to tie himself to the birther conspiracy, something that even Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich won’t touch, proves that this “campaign” is nothing more than the latest one of his  shenanigans. It was either run for President or divorce his third wife. (She did just turn 40!) If Trump doesn’t fire himself from the race soon, the real loser stands to be the Republican Party. Just like Perot’s ’92 run secured a Clinton victory over then President Bush, Donald Trump’s campaign can only hurt the GOP. It’s horrifying enough to hear reports that Mike Huckabee is emerging as a front-runner—now we have to deal with Trump too? Questions about the Donald’s chances are hardly what Republican hopefuls want to face fresh off the launch of their exploratory committees.  David Axelrod must love this sideshow." ~Olivia (@oliviaoffner)

Tune back in Monday for round two of this question. Until then, what do you think? CJP

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