BY RACHAEL BLANDAU – OPINIONS EDITOR
In September, Donald Trump committed a campaign sin: he punked the media.
With an announcement that Trump would be having a news conference to divulge “big news,” the media watched an empty podium for an hour as the candidate arrived late for his press conference. Then, when he finally arrived, he spent over twenty minutes promoting his new hotel, before nonchalantly denying that he was a “birther” and claiming that President Obama was indeed born in the United States. Using what has become an easy tactic to boost his various business ventures, Trump used the media in hopes of drawing viewers and supporters to buy his products.
But this time, the media caught on.
While the candidate tried to use his constant barrage of controversy as a way to save money on commercials, the media blacked out coverage of anything resembling an infomercial. Yet, the media’s sudden realization that Donald Trump had been using them for publicity came too late – too late to keep him from becoming the Republican candidate, and too late to realize that they had been giving Trump free advertising all along.
With every scandal wrought by the Trump campaign throughout the election, the media attention increased, and his infamy rose. While typical politicians would lay low through the fallout of his frequent scandals, Trump has done the exact opposite – he used them to his advantage. For the purposes of the election, he claimed that with every off-color comment, he was against the “PC culture” that the media perpetuates. For his business ventures, he twisted the narrative and made himself seem like the victim, for which the only balm was to sell his products.
His supporters admire his “honesty,” even if they do not agree with some of his comments, and they search to help any way they can – if buying Ivanka’s clothing or renting a hotel room helps the campaign, they will do just that. However, although his supporters are more fervent than ever in the wake of his scandals, including the Access Hollywood video that featured Trump and Billy Bush being crude towards women, the rest of the nation grows more skeptical.
Travel Weekly recently reported that 46 percent of their travel agents were asked not to book Trump hotels by their clients because they couldn’t stomach contributing to his wealth. Protesters also lined the streets outside of the grand opening of his new Washington D.C. hotel. His daughter Ivanka’s clothing line has begun to suffer from his treatment of women, even though Ivanka herself advocated closing the gender pay gap at the Republican National Convention. For women, it is not about Ivanka herself, but about her last name – having the name “Trump” on their clothing would appear to show support for a man who claims he will fight for women in the midst of his misogyny.
Foursquare has been calculating the amount of foot traffic Trump businesses have received since the announcement of his presidential run. Looking at how many visitors visited Trump’s golf courses, hotels, casinos, and more showed a 17 percent decrease in visitors during the primaries. Numbers have only dwindled since then, especially in “blue states” that usually vote Democratic and contain most of his businesses, such as New Jersey’s Atlantic City casinos.
What does this mean? Even though the businessman has suffered from a decline in profits before – he has declared corporate bankruptcy six times – he has never seen all of his businesses decline at once, and certainly never from such a blow to his personal reputation. The man behind the opulent hotel room could cause former customers to take their business elsewhere.
For an election that seemed to be a no-lose situation, with Donald Trump either increasing his wealth through free advertising, or becoming the most powerful man in the country, the narrative has now flipped. Instead, he is looking at a major loss in revenue, a tarnished reputation, and more enemies than he even had before. The attention towards his business empire has turned negative and could account for an extreme loss in revenue. So, although the media gave too much attention to the lewd former reality star before and propelled him within inches of the White House, they – and America- have woken up. The future doesn’t look so bright for the Trump Empire.