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No Is Not Enough
Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need
- Read in 15 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 9 key ideas
No Is Not Enough (2017) offers a critical account of Trump’s first months in the Oval Office, reflecting on how he got there and what we should expect from him. At the heart of this account is not only an unmasking of Trump’s routine shock tactics, but also advice on how we can resist and forge a better tomorrow.
Key idea 1 of 9
Donald Trump is a brand and treats the presidency like any other opportunity.
When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, it came as a shock to many, but it was especially soul-crushing to those who’d devoted much of their life to promoting women’s rights or fighting climate change. It felt as though years of hard work were, in a single night, going up in a puff of smoke.
If you care about gender equality or the environment, you probably want to resist Trump, and to resist him it helps to know how he operates – and this requires understanding the world of branding.
By the mid-1980s, there was a popular new trend in business: the secret to success was all about building and selling brands rather than products.
Companies like Nike, Apple and Starbucks all became superbrands, which means their value is determined more by what their brands represent than by the actual products they offer. Prior to the eighties, a person wouldn’t spend $250 on a pair of sneakers. But then the Nike superbrand sold people on the idea of “Just Do It” and the dream of playing ball like Michael Jordan.
At this point, the quality of the sneakers and how they were manufactured was far less important than the image represented by the brand. This image became the key to the company’s success, allowing it to do away with responsible business practices, like paying factory workers a living wage. Instead, this work could be outsourced to countries where cheap labor was available at a fraction of the cost.
This is the kind of business ethics with which Trump is intimately familiar, since he himself is a brand.
Trump’s primary business is real estate, including hotels, casinos and condominiums, all of which are heavily branded with the letters T-R-U-M-P. Eventually, he began to lease his name to other property owners around the world, and then to various products, like Trump Steaks. And this kind of branding, through the licensing of his name to various places and products, has become his main source of revenue.
So what does the Trump brand stand for? Wealth, luxurious pomposity, and Donald Trump’s own philosophy: once you're rich, you can do whatever you want.