Is Trump’s Run for Presidency a Publicity Stunt?

Does Donald Trump want to be elected president of the United States? He is not running like a candidate who does. Not only has he continued his insults, he is doing nothing to raise cash, and a considerable amount of the money he is spending goes to pay for events at Trump properties. Yes, he is spending a lot of his own money, but he is getting part of it back by spending it at businesses he owns and is gaining invaluable publicity in the process.

Donald Trump made a lot of stumbles in the past week: Lambasting an Indiana-born judge hearing a fraud case against Trump University for his Mexican heritage, firing his campaign manager, and attempting gain political advantage from the tragic massacre in Orlando, Florida. Viewed from a political standpoint, all of these actions seem to be gross blunders, but viewed from a business standpoint, perhaps they are not.

Why is Donald Trump doing things that no intelligent presidential candidate would do. Trump supporters claim that it is just “Trump being Trump.” Are they claiming that being Trump means doing stupid things? Or, could it be that Trump is not that stupid and does not really care about winning the election? Could it be that Donald Trump’s whole campaign is designed to generate invaluable free publicity for the Trump brand? Trump may be a lousy politician, but he is a marketing genus, and he seems to have duped the press into giving his businesses and products loads of free publicity.

A good portion of the money that Donald Trump spends on his campaign ends up back in his own bank account. Federal records indicate that he has channeled almost one-fifth of his campaign expenditures to companies he owns. The Huffington Post claims that Donald Trump’s campaign paid his own enterprises more than a million dollars in May of this year alone. So, his out-of-pocket expenses for financing his own campaign are not as large as they appear at first blush. I suspect that Donald Trump views the  outlays that do not end up in his own pocket as business advertising expenses.

Here are just a few examples of Donald Trump paying himself. Donald Trump’s campaign has paid $420 thousand to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida and $4.6 million to his the airline he owns, TAG Air. He has also used campaign speeches to promote such products as Trump vodka (no longer available) and even Trump steaks. He promotes Trump-branded neckties, shirts, and even suits, which are all manufactured in low-wage countries such as China, Mexico, and Bangladesh. That would not be quite as large a sin if he were not constantly preaching against American companies that have their manufacturing done abroad.

Donald Trump fills his campaign “speeches” with promos for Trump-labeled products. He even plans to invite the press covering his campaign to a tour of one of his golf courses in Scotland. He has used his appearances on talk shows to apply pressure on the courts hearing the fraud case against his defunct Trump University.

Win or lose, Donald Trump will emerge from his presidential campaign financially better off than he was when he started thanks to all of the free publicity he has managed to generate for Trump properties and products by leading the press around by the nose.