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The Trump Brand Goes Down-Market

@FromaHarrop

With polls and prayer as a guide, let’s assume that Donald Trump loses the election. What will he do for a next act?

If Act 1 was selling the Trump name, the play’s in trouble. Ticket prices for things named Trump are selling at a deep discount.

Just last month, a deluxe room at the swanky new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., posted a rate of $805 a night but could be had for $445 on Hotels.com. And this was during an International Monetary Fund conference, when every other five-star hotel in the vicinity sold out.

Two restaurateurs who had signed up for the hotel fled after Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists. The day after the hotel opened, the Trump Organization executive overseeing the project quit in disgust.

It’s hard to make gold on a brand name that has turned to sludge. Those able to afford these prime locations are finding it most inconvenient to live, work or play golf under the shadow of a Trump sign.

Who would invite Latin American or Muslim dignitaries to a building named for the man who has smeared their people, not to mention the female half of humanity? And would said dignitaries patronize such properties, especially when they have a world of Trump-free real estate to choose from?

The luxury market has spoken. Bookings at Trump Hotels caved 59 percent in the first half of 2016. And since Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, foot traffic at Trump properties has tripped 17 percent.

In a sage move, the Trump Hotels group is dropping the Trump name for its new line of fancy hotels. They will now be called Scion. “We wanted a name that would be a nod to the Trump family,” CEO Eric Danziger explained in diplomatic fashion.

But the scions named Trump can’t be feeling terribly optimistic. With many women shunning anything associated with Trump, the Ivanka Trump line of clothing and accessories seems headed for the bargain bin.

In a Morning Consult survey, 57 percent of women said they wouldn’t consider buying Ivanka Trump products. A group has even organized a boycott of stores selling Ivanka Trump brand merchandise.

“As the Trump brand goes, so goes the Ivanka brand,” Chad Kawalec, head of the Brand Identity Center, told The Wrap, an entertainment news organization.

Despite Donald’s anti-trade rants, Ivanka procures about 75 percent of her merchandize from foreign factories. We were reminded of this recently when the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 20,000 of her made-in-China scarves for being too flammable.

Concerning her role in developing the Washington hotel, Ivanka does have her defenders, sort of.

“As much as her father makes our skin crawl, we have said that Ivanka knows what she’s doing,” said Jason Clampet, editor of Skift, a travel news company. “The question the brand’s new property raises is whether her smarts outweigh his non-smarts.”

Trump’s name is plastered all over Manhattan, but Donald owns very few of the buildings on which it hangs. Flashing his celebrity, Trump cleverly duped the real owners to pay him license fees to use his name. Many no doubt feel burned at the moment. Should they rename the buildings, they would still own them, not Trump.

A Dubai business consortium has erased the Trump name from its new golf course project. The developer of a troubled hotel complex in Toronto is attempting a similar exorcism.

The most plausible Act 2 for Trump would be some sort of TV network, with his devoted fan base as audience. Worth a try as his affluent consumers decamp for other trademarks. For them, “Trump” and “classy” have parted ways.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached atfharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

IMAGE: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump waves to supporters outside the front door of Trump Tower where he lives in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was on CNN Sunday morning with Jake Tapper on his State of the Union show. In part because Democratic reps, like Republican reps, going on Sunday shows is about this coming election, and in part because newscasters are not particularly deep or creative when it comes to talking about politics, Tapper decided to spend a lot of time trying to get Ocasio-Cortez to attack Joe Biden for their differences of political opinions. Newsflash: Ocasio-Cortez, progressive hero, co-author of the ambitious Green New Deal environmental package, and Vice President Joe Biden aren't exactly on the same page as to how to handle climate change.

More to the point, Tapper asked Ocasio-Cortez whether or not she was bothered by the fact that Biden has not said he would outright ban fracking. The move to ban fracking in states across the country has been a seesaw battle of fossil fuel interests fighting against progressive environmentalism and science. Biden's refusal to provide full-throated support for a ban on fracking is disappointing to many of us on the left, but it isn't surprising. Even more importantly, it is below the most essential first step the progressive movement—and the country for that matter—needs to take: getting rid of Donald Trump and getting rid of the Republican majority in the Senate.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez isn't going to be pulled into a pointless argument about fracking with Jake Tapper. Her position is well-reported. So is Biden's. AOC explains very clearly that this is how politics work in a representative democracy.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: It does not bother me. I believe, and I have a very strong position on fracking. You know, the science is very clear, the methane emissions from fracking are up to 64 times more powerful than CO2 emissions and trapping heat in the air, and just from a perspective of stopping climate change there is a scientific consensus. However, that is my view. Vice President Biden has made very clear that he does not agree with the fracking ban and I consider that, you know—it will be a privilege to lobby him should we win the White House but we need to focus on winning the White House first. I am happy to make my case but I also understand he is in disagreement on that issue.

Tapper wonders whether this will depress the youth vote, a vote that AOC represents more closely than Biden. This, of course, is literally the only reason Trump and his surrogates have been bringing up this difference of positions the last couple of weeks. The hope is that it will depress the more progressive vote, while spooking some more conservative-leaning folks in fossil-fuel heavy states like Pennsylvania and Texas. Ocasio-Cortez points out that the youth vote over the past couple of years has not simply become more sophisticated since 2016, it has brought in more progressive candidates and officials into local elections. The turnout in 2018 showed that, and Ocasio-Cortez believes that this election is very clearly a choice between Donald Trump, someone who is a non-starter of a human being, and Joe Biden.

Tapper then plays a clip of Biden telling reporters that he isn't "getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time," but that he's talking about getting rid of the subsidies the fake free-marketeers enjoy in the fossil fuel industry. While Tapper is hoping that this will illustrate how Biden isn't AOC and the youth vote may be turned off by this statement, she sees it as an important step in the right direction.

REP. OCASIO-CORTEZ: When he says we are eliminating subsidies, I think that is, frankly, an important first step. A lot of folks who like to tout themselves as free market capitalists, while still trying to make sure they get as much government subsidy, and propping up of the fossil fuel industry as possible. ... If you do believe in markets, solar and renewable energies are growing less and less expensive by the day in many areas. They are starting to become less expensive than fossil fuels. When you eliminate government subsidies, it becomes more difficult for fossil fuels to compete in the market. I think while the vice president wants to make sure that he is not doing it by government mandate or regulation. I do believe that we are moving towards that future. I believe that there's a way and that we should push that process along but again, the vice president and my disagreements are, I believe, recorded and that is quite all right.