Donald Trump’s controversial proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States has cost him a fortune in the Middle East. His business relationship with a Dubai-based company called the Landmark Group has soured, and his line of Trump products will no longer be carried in their Lifestyle retail stores.
This, of course, is not the first time Trump’s comments have hurt his bottom line. Right out of the gate, his infamous speech about Mexican immigrants cost him his contract with NBC, his Miss USA pageant broadcast rights, and his association with the Professional Golfers Association of America.
Trump could lose it all and still be in no danger of having to go get a 9-5 job, of course, but a businessman of his status would have to be either foolish or suicidal to douse his empire in gasoline just for the thrill of being on the nightly news for six months straight.
“I have built an amazing company. I’m a very rich person,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly Wednesday night. “I’m self-funding my own campaign, and, frankly, I’m putting up my own money. If I lose some businesses overseas, it doesn’t have any impact on me whatsoever. What I’m doing right now, Bill, is far more important than any single business that I own.”
Trump is putting his reputation and his fortune on the line when he had no mandate to do either. There’s no coming back from this campaign. He can’t weather a defeat in the primaries and then go back to Celebrity Apprentice as if nothing ever happened. Why? Because he’s that desperate to add the presidency to his list of accomplishments? He could have easily leveraged his fame and wealth into a successful Republican bid without even a tenth of the controversy.
The media, the Democrats, and even most of his Republican challengers are cynical. Oh, every time he thinks his poll numbers are in trouble, he says something outrageous to get the spotlight back.
Could it be…is it possible…that he really believes in what he’s saying?
None of them can even entertain the thought, because it’s so antithetical to the way we’ve come to see this dirty business called politics. No, he must just be playing to the racists in the audience. He’s playing them for fools, hoping there are enough uneducated, angry hicks in America to vote a megalomaniacal billionaire into office because he tweaks their insecurities and prejudices.
But to believe that, you have to ignore a lot of evidence to the contrary. A recent poll showed that many of Trump’s supporters would not abandon him under any circumstances. He could say anything and they would still vote for him. Anything? That covers a lot of ground. How many politicians can claim that kind of unconditional support? What is it about Trump that engenders it?
Trump is exciting because he’s like nothing we’ve ever seen. And it should have been obvious after the John McCain comment this summer that he was bulletproof. How many Americans agreed that McCain was not a war hero because he was captured? Even a single person? And it didn’t matter because his supporters sensed there was something different going on.
In a world filled with Paula Deans and Hulk Hogans and Jonah Hills, when was the last time a celebrity simply refused to apologize once the media turned their hateful claws on them? The people are responding to that strength in droves. That’s the kind of strength we need right now, even if the candidate himself is a little rough around the edges.
We aren’t going to save this country if we keep playing the game by THEIR rules. Trump knows this, and he’s willing to sacrifice everything to see it through to the end. If we’re serious about rescuing this country from the clutches of evil, we need to join him in this extraordinary leap of faith. The consequences of failure: Hillary Clinton.
But when it comes right down to it, the consequences of not trying are the same.