Playing the Trump Card

The Trends Journal was the first and only publication in the world to forecast that business mogul and reality TV star Donald J. Trump would win the 2016 presidential race.

In the May 2016 Trends Journal, we forecast:

“Barring an ongoing barrage of self-inflicted wounds, despite his bluster, missteps, misquotes and numerous distortions of truth and facts, and despite the general media/political consensus that he has no chance of winning, we contend Trump is an odds-on favorite at this time.”

And in our July 2016 Trends Journal, we wrote:
“While Clinton and Trump swap leads in a season of volatile polls, we maintain our forecast that absent a wildcard event or his self-imposed destruction, Trump, a proven reality-show champion, will win the White House.”

While other media, political pundits, academics and, most especially, pollsters overwhelmingly were forecasting a Hillary Clinton victory, the Trends Research Institute tracked, documented and analyzed the underlying campaign dynamics that ultimately would bring Trump to the White House.

Our forecast for Trump’s road to victory, in part, had been attributed to the rising populist sentiment that had been sweeping through Europe the past three years and had hit US shores.

We understood the depth of the anti-big business, anti-mainstream media, anti-big government, anti-globalization and anti-multinationalism fight the silent majority was waging. And so did Trump.

The Trump campaign seized upon this powerful and rising backlash from the middle class by promising to rein in Wall Street and big government and “Make America Great Again.” He took advantage of an evolving social dynamic and played it his way. There were no rules to follow.

Simply, Trump played the Trump Card.


Our ongoing analysis pinpointed numerous turning-point moments when the campaign tide changed to Trump’s advantage. How did he triumph in each? He played the Trump Card.

Unlike the vast majority of media, pundits and insiders who missed those Trump Card moments by observing events through legacy-thinking, political- or media-biased lenses, we understood why the country was ready for the Trump Card play. And we meticulously tracked how Trump used it to seal his political future.

Trump Card tactics 1.0: To reach your goals, and if your objective is to become tops in the field that you want to excel in — whether it’s professional or business, whether it’s selling a product or services, whether it’s advancing a career, whether it’s being a teacher or an expert in a given field — consider playing the Trump Card:

There are no rules.

If you believe in your heart that what you offer is far superior to the competition, you play the Trump Card. If you have a cause, a purpose, a set of aims you believe are just and worthy, you play the Trump Card.

And that means that you take out the top.

If you believe you’re better, you have more to offer, you take out the top. When you do, you don’t have a lot of competition as you advance your efforts.
And there’s no better example than the first GOP presidential debate. During that forum, a turning point was passed.

Trump took out Jeb Bush, the heir-apparent for the GOP nomination.
No one saw the Trump Card coming. No one saw its long-term implications.
We did. We wrote about it, spoke about it and analyzed it relentlessly.

People forget that the 2016 presidential campaign was gearing up to be one of the most boring that anyone could have anticipated. It was going to be a Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton race. To the White House. That’s a fact. It was a given.

But during the first GOP debate in August 2015, Trump relentlessly attacked Bush. And most notably, in a moment of seemingly gentile, polite engagement, Trump, placing his hand on Bush’s shoulder, let him, the nation and the world know: Bush is weak. He has no energy. He has no ideas. He’s just more of the same. In effect, Trump emasculated him in front of the world.

Trump took out the top.

And what does Trump do next? He took out the next top guy. And then the guy after him and the guy after him. He kept taking out the top.


The packed field of Trump’s GOP campaign opponents stayed on theme. Evil Russia. Evil Iran. Evil North Korea. The global threat of Islam. Strengthen our relationship with Israel. The horrors of Planned Parenthood.

Collectively and individually, Trump’s Republican competitors talked tough on building the military and going after global threats with more military might. They vehemently supported pro-life positions, then hypocritically championed mass-murder wars.

While Trump also played some of these themes, his message was decidedly different than his political challengers: “I am a businessman.” America first. Start rebuilding our country before we build other nations. It was a message that carried him to primary wins and the GOP nomination.


In early October, a mere five weeks before the election, the “Access Hollywood” tape, which captured Trump bragging about how he plays himself on women, surfaced. The broad-based consensus, especially from his own party’s leadership, was: There’s no way Trump survives this one. And he’ll likely take down the party as well.

Under the headline “Ryan abandons Trump as Republicans lose hope,” a Financial Times story had this passage:

“I think he knows it’s over for Trump and congressional Republicans need to separate from him,” said Vin Weber, a former top Republican congressman who is close to Mr. Ryan.” (11 October 2016.)

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, in making his “women should be championed” statement, disavowed Trump. A day later, he uninvited him to a fall festival in Wisconsin that Trump was to attend.

While framing the sex tape as “locker room banter,” Trump again went after the top. In a series of Tweets and public comments, Trump slammed Ryan and, at the same time, reminded voters why the “swamp needs to be drained”:

“Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting (the) Republican nominee.
“Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.”

He again played the Trump Card. He took out the top.

Throughout the campaign, he used ridicule, personal attacks, lies, deceptions and a litany of in-the-moment, improvised street-wise attack tactics to take them down — and keep them down.


When playing the Trump Card, you call out the competition. You do it by name. And you label the competition: “Crooked Hillary Clinton.” “Little Marco Rubio.” “Lying Ted Cruz.” “Weak Paul Ryan.” (Of course, we’re not suggesting using this type of language; we’re demonstrating how it was used.)

He called them all a name. He put a label on them.

But he kept alive his campaign’s underlying theme: Enough!

As we wrote in the Fall 2016 Trends Journal:

“… despite tepid support from the Republican Party and no support from many of its leaders, Trump’s win — which swept a vast majority of Republicans into the House and maintained a majority in the Senate, as evidenced by his high negativity ratings — was more about the message than the messenger.”

Trump won. Ryan caved. The Republican Party lost. There is no GOP. It’s the Trump Party, and Republicans are merely guests attendin
g the party. They are no longer the hosts of their own party.

The message — Trump’s message — won.

As Trump narrowed the field of competitors — taking out one top dog at a time — he also targeted the media. Crowds cheered when he attacked the media as liars, fools and lapdogs for Candidate Clinton and the established powers.

What percentage of people held the mainstream media in high regard even before Trump went after them? According to Pew Research Center data, 6 percent. He saw a weakness and exploited it to his advantage.

As the data prove, trust in the media is at a historic low. However, it still has a lot a power and influence. Indeed, it was that power and influence that heavily promoted Trump in earlier stages of the race for the White House. In fact, it is estimated that he received $5 billion in free media coverage. Back in 2015, The New York Times had it at $2 billion.

In playing the Trump Card, you attack them and use them. (We don’t support or advocate playing your Trump Card in this manner.)

So what does Candidate Trump do in attacking the media? He takes out the top: The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC and on and on.

Trump made it clear: Incompetent, dishonest, corporate-agenda-driven media outlets are part of the same tired, failed establishment that both political parties have been part of — and were unwilling to change.

He played the Trump Card on the media. Why hold a press conference, be interviewed or allow media access to the West Wing? Trump has Twitter. Trump has the message. He changed the rules. He made his own.


Not only did Trump take out his own party, his political opponents and the mainstream media, he defeated virtually every pillar of the status quo — the same status quo that holds itself in such high regard, while the vast silent majority holds it in such low regard.

Pro-Clinton Hollywood and the entertainment empire, which so vehemently opposed Trump, lost to the Trump Card. Every one of them lost.

From Meryl Streep to Robert De Niro, from Beyonce to Bruce Springsteen, from Jay Z to Bon Jovi — they all fought hard for Clinton. And they all lost.
Silicon Valley?

The vast riches of the world’s tech-start-up mecca, led by Google’s Eric Schmidt, poured millions into backing Clinton. The collective tech-powered brain trust of the valley was no match for Trump’s Twitter power:

“Its almost unanimous support of Hillary Clinton, and masterminding of the digital, high-tech backbone of her campaign, was ransacked by Donald Trump’s anti-immigration, anti-globalization and pro-working families messaging.

Old fashioned-style rallies and Twitter barrages outmaneuvered the elite upperclassmen of Silicon Valley’s deep pockets and collective brainpower… another resounding example of how the valley’s ego and legacy stand stronger than its track record of innovation and success.” (Trends Monthly, December 2016.)

They were played by the Trump Card. And they lost.

From the same tired cycle of endless movie sequels, to canned, emotionless, formulated music, to political hypocrisy, to elitism ruling and controlling the outcomes of our democratic processes, The Old Guard died in 2016.
And the Trump Card was born.


A new window has opened.

It’s all different now. Trump proved it can change.

Agree or disagree with him, hate him or love him, respect or despise him — whether he heals wounds or makes them worse, the rise of Trump has shown a path to change.

The excuse that you’re powerless to make change has been wiped away.
Think of all those billionaires who put their money, energies and loyalties behind the status-quo candidate. That was not just a bad bet; it demonstrated, as Trump did, how ready the nation and world were for something new.

Indeed, “Make It New” is the Trends Research Institute’s Top Trend for 2017:
“In elections worldwide, culminating with undisputed reality-show champion Donald Trump’s victory in America’s Presidential Reality Show®, the old guard was defeated. From Brexit to Trump, to populist movements sweeping across Europe, the worldwide hunger to ‘Make It New’ scored resounding victories.

“Sweeping the gamut from political ideologies and financial systems at the top, down to the lowest depths of pop culture, across the media spectrum and throughout entrenched institutions, it’s clear: The substance, style and sound of what was once established, familiar and mainstream are dead and dying.” (Trends Monthly, December 2016.)


Whether it’s in entertainment, music, style, retail, services, health, technology or any number of fields, industries and creative endeavors, a window has opened for you, your business, your family and your community.

Take advantage of this opportunity in your own style, celebrating your own uniqueness and talents. We’re not telling you what to do or how to do it. We are showing how it was done.

Trends are born, they mature, grow old and die. The “Make It New” trend was just born. There’s no disputing the facts. Whether we or you like it or not, it does not change how it was done. It does not change what the implications are to you.
In this new environment, if you’re going to make sneakers and stamp “Made with pride in America” on them, you take out the top. You start running your ads in Oregon and going after Phil Knight, Nike’s CEO. You play the Trump Card in your own words and own way. Look at what a sellout to America Phil Knight and Nike are.

Nike uses slave labor in foreign countries to make its product. It pays slave-labor wages as it takes manufacturing and jobs away from the US.

There was a time just two generations ago when you could have a job and make a middle-class income. Why? We were making what we were buying. We were a more self-sustaining economy, less dependent on exploiting foreign labor and materials.
The trend that we can make what we need, and don’t need foreign countries to make it for us, is back again.

The window is open. Take out the top. Knight and myriad other CEOs making their products in cheap-labor countries and becoming billionaires at the expense of middle-class jobs here are prime targets.

Play the Trump Card. The new president cleared the field for you. “Made with Pride in America” is in again and it will become bigger than the “buy local” trend that has become accepted as a smart way to do business because it supports the community and high quality.

Made and sold and bought in America is in again.


This strengthening trend toward Make It New is not just about Trump’s victory. Across the globe, as we’ve noted, an emerging resurgence in nationalistic and individual values is coming to the forefront:

“It’s grander than Presidential Reality Show champion Donald Trump’s promise to ‘Make America Great Again.’ It’s bigger than France’s presidential primary victor, François Fillon, who promises to restore ‘respect,’ ‘pride’ and ‘French values.’ It’s bigger than the Austrian, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, German, British, etc., political movements whose foundations are built on bringing back times long gone by, when their countries and cultures expressed treasured values in arts, culture, innovation and tradition.” (Trends Monthly, December 2016.)

From the inner chambers of governments worldwide to Hollywood, and from the loudest rappers and biggest rock stars to the corporate media elites, what dominated both culturally and economically is shedding its influence

Even Silicon Valley, once the global bastion of technology innovation, is losing its glow. It’s one of our Top Trends for 2017, “Rust Belt 2.0.” The valley, steeped in arrogance and elitism, and stuck in an exceptionalism mindset, is losing ground to other countries and other communities across the US.

It’s part of larger trend:

“From media to entertainment, and throughout the retail landscape to the high-tech world, the merger/acquisition trend has consolidated the nation into a one-stop listening, thinking and shopping nation.

Silicon Valley has shown the world that technological innovation will drive this century’s economy. But now that it is well-fed, it’s losing its edge to hungrier locales — across the US and across the globe.

“Moreover, new technology means new discoveries don’t need a lab and don’t need to be produced in surroundings where like-minded tech innovators are within handshake distance.” (Trends Journal, Winter 2016.)

If technology is your passion and skill, play the Trump Card. Go after the top. Go after the competition. Make room for your innovation.

People are tired of what is. They want what can be. And if you believe you can create it, the future is in your hands.

Trump put his future in nobody’s hands. Again, love him, hate him, wish he wasn’t there or wish he was, he created his own future.

You cannot deny his courage. For good or bad, for positive or negative, for ego or narcissism, for better or worse, he’s a man of action.

“One man of courage makes a majority.” — Andrew Jackson.    TJ

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