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Has a top Trump ever been so unwanted?


As Innesco’s resident American citizen, how can I ignore a historical event that happens every four years? Moreover, how can I avoid this election – an entirely baffling, unprecedented and, frankly, embarrassing series of months that erupted yesterday as Donald J. Trump became the 45th President-Elect of the United States of America.

I’ve never been a very politically charged person, but I find the rhetoric used in politics and its power to influence absolutely fascinating. As a graduate in Communications and Media studies, every presidential election – especially those from the Kennedy/Nixon 1960 campaign onwards – are captivating case studies in the American psyche, the power of persuasion and the influence communication and media have during these events. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and both candidates had highs and lows on the campaign trail, but this is more of my thoughts on how Trump used language to capture the majority of America’s votes and how this will influence the US nad UK retail and property sectors.

Donald Trump used the same campaign tactic as Obama – hope & change. He preached to “Make America Great Again” but never defined how this would happen because it’s more powerful for people to project their hopes and struggles on to Trump. This is what happened with many voters these past months – they filled in the blank the Trump campaign left for them with Donald Trump playing the white knight by solving their challenges and easing their fears.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton did not employ a slogan and the ones that she did were centred around her – “I’m With Her”, “I’m Ready for Hillary Clinton”, “She…”. Therefore, by voting Hillary you get Hillary. This isn’t the most successful campaign as she has a reputation (not seen by everyone, but a reputation nonetheless) of being disliked and untrustworthy in America. She needed to sell an ideal, not herself.

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I’m not saying it’s justified – I don’t think it is, but from a communication and persuasion perspective, this is how I see it. It’s America and there are far more rural parts of the country than large cities. Many things, especially media, are aimed at the lowest common denominator and that’s what Trump did. Trump needed to aim for the rural, largely uneducated portions of the country for a few reasons –

  1. It’s a numbers game. A majority of the country is rural or suburban
  2. The educated elites would see the many cracks in his debates and find it hard to rally behind him
  3. It is easier to employ fear tactics on less travelled, cultured portions of the population

With the election said and done, how will President Trump (when will that feel natural?) influence the global retail and property market? Honestly, I don’t know. There are always uncertainties in large-scale national elections or votes – just like with Brexit – but I think this election has been more unsettling as we were rarely privy to Trump’s trade policy and when we were it was not kind to retailers.

The National Retail Federation is worried as Trump has relayed mixed messages regarding hiss trade policy for retailers. Previously, Trump has threatened to apply drastic tariffs to items made overseas, would increase prices for consumers, as well as have a negative impact on American department stores as most of their products are made in low-cost countries. On the other hand, there is speculation that Trump’s administration is in favour of reducing the regulatory burden on retailers and reverse the rigorous labour laws implemented during Obama’s presidency.

Moreover, the US retail and leisure sectors could be affected by Trump’s radical immigration reforms. If passed, Trump’s immigration plan would deport 5 -10 million undocumented immigrants – a fundamental demographic of low-end consumers and low-wage workers from the country. Regarding this concern, analysts at Morgan Stanley wrote, “We see Trump’s immigration policy as the biggest risk, largely because of the significant impact that deportation could have on consumer demand and labour.”

Answers aren’t any clearer across the Atlantic as retail and property authorities suspect the uncertainty surrounding US trade policies could drive investors to the UK. Leaders ranging from Walter Boettcher, Chief Economist at Colliers International, Naomi Heaton, CEO of London Central Portfolio, Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy at the British Property Federation and Johnny Caddick, CEO residential developer Moda Living have all commented that the UK could be seen as a safe-haven for international trade and investment. Having said that, Elisabeth Troni, head of EMEA research at Cushman & Wakefield, brings us back to earth, stating, “It’s temporary there: Trump will only be in for four years, whereas if you leave the EU, you leave the EU,” – meaning Brexit will have a more substantial impact on the UK investment.

 

One conclusion we can reach is that no one has a solid grasp on what the next four years hold.

 

Written by: Taylore Hunt, Account Manager

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