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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Trump, the serial bankrupter

Should we take Donald Trump seriously as a candidate for President? By that I mean, should the media take him seriously? Yes. Nearly no one in the media wants to, but recently there was a poll of Republicans in North Carolina indicating that Trump has more support among Republicans here than any other candidate. The numbers might shock the pundits who live in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington — the numbers were a shock to me, too — but reality is what it is. If that many people see Trump as a candidate, he is a candidate.

Trump isn't stupid. To the contrary, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton. I read his book The Art of the Deal from 2004 and found it superb. Are his opinions bizarre? Definitely. He soiled himself again Saturday by disparaging the heroism and captivity of Sen. John McCain. Keep your eye on the forest not the tree! Trump has maneuvered himself into a win-win position. If he says ridiculous things that attract attention, he gets publicity for his self-made personal brand that will have value long after 2016 — so long as he doesn't go too far. If he acts like a serious candidate, then his stature and power within the Republican Party increases. Clever.

No, my complaint about Trump is that he's a serial bankrupter. Four times his corporations have gone under. It's true that in some of these bankruptcies his personal finances took a hit, although he has never had to file personal bankruptcy. But I'd like to see a three-strikes law applied to CEOs whose companies go bankrupt. Having been through a large corporate bankruptcy myself, I know the damage they cause. Apparently the free market is not capable of (or interested in) holding serial bankrupters accountable. I've run into them before, besides Trump, and I believe they'd be well-served by two years in Butner alongside Bernie Madoff. A similar sentence seems to have done wonders for Martha Stewart who's been an acolyte since her release.