Experts say President Trump is damaging his party and its candidates’ election prospects
By Susan Milligan – Trump is regarded as a master brander in the commercial arena, building real estate and entertainment businesses heavily attached to his name. More like a Martha Stewart than, say, a Kraft Foods, Trump personifies the product he is selling. And when Trump – now suffering from historically low approval ratings in the low-to-mid 30s – struggles, so does the GOP brand he effectively took over when he became the party’s presidential nominee and then commander-in-chief, political and branding specialists say.
“When you’ve got a brand that is tied to a personality, it can be incredibly strong and incredibly vulnerable. It is tied to a human being, and that human being’s actions and people’s feelings about it, as opposed to the performance of a standardized product or service,” says Jason Karpf, a marketing and public relations consultant based in Minnesota. What Trump is attempting now, Karpf says, is what I known in the marketing world as a “brand extension,” this one, into the political world. But the effort has been sloppy at best and offensive at worst, experts say, threatening to do serious damage to the GOP brand as a whole.
And perhaps most troubling for the GOP, there have been ominous signs that suburban voters are moving away from Trump’s party.
Those are ominous signs for Republicans, whose party is being branded by an outsider president who prefers provocative remarks about sexual harassment complainants, protesting NFL players and white supremacist demonstrators to the blue-chip GOP agenda of smaller government and lower taxes. more>