Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trump 2012: Publicity Stunt or Serious Contender?

One month ago Donald Trump, a real estate giant and reality television show host, seemed poised to throw his hat into the ring as a contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. On May 16, 2011, much to the surprise of some political insiders, Trump publically announced that he would not seek election to executive office of the United States of America. He cited his passion for business as the reason for his refusal to run, opting to stick to his reality television show Celebrity Apprentice instead. This led some, including U.S. News & World Report’s Peter Roff, to jump to the conclusion that Trump’s consideration to run was just one huge publicity stunt to promote his television show. This argument does have some validity; Celebrity Apprentice’s season finale did conveniently land less than a week away from Trump’s announcement and many doubted if he had enough executive experience and popularity to win the party nomination, much less the general election.

Fast forward exactly one week later to May 23. Trump appeared on the Fox News morning show Fox and Friends to announce that he had no longer ruled out running for president. Trump said he felt that the current 2012 Republican presidential candidates could not beat President Barack Obama and that there was still a possibility that he would run.

Trump’s latest announcement could still be part of an even larger publicity campaign for personal gain. Realistically, it would be hard for him to beat current Republican forerunners Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, who each have a wealth of executive experience as former state governors. His chances against Obama in the general election are even slimmer.

Furthermore, the 2012 primary elections do start around the same time as the next season of Celebrity Apprentice and Trump does love to see his name everywhere. Postponing his decision to run keeps his name in the mouths of political pundits and in the pages of daily newspapers everywhere.

What do you think? Is all this talk about running for president an extenuation of a dubious publicity campaign or does Trump really think he can win?

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