Think of Donald Trump before The Apprentice. He was a New York real estate developer who also owned casinos and golf courses and a big house in Florida. He was mostly known in the New York area but due to his outsize personality and relentless self promotion was becoming a national name. His name was known, but not anywhere near as much as it would need to be for him to run for President. This combination of fame and chutzpah got him a deal with NBC for the Apprentice and that was a game changer.
The initial years of the Apprentice featured a group of very bright business people competing to get a job running one of the Donald's companies. In the show some of the nation's best and brightest we awed to be in Trump's presence. Trump was their business deity, who's every word would be taken as gospel. Trump would dispense rewards and the ultimate punishment.. You're Fired!! All of the contestants not only wanted to work for Trump, they wanted to be Trump. As the seasons wore on, it became celebrities that were vying for Trump's approval, so the American people saw even celebrities bowing to Trump.
This show was beamed in to millions of homes every week. So the image of Trump the wise business savant was growing around the nation. What he said was right and and what he disagreed with was wrong. He was not questioned. Donald Trump knew the right way to get things done, just ask any contestant on the show. Never on the show were his business failures discussed nor how he treated tenants and others in his way, even as these problems continued during the show's run. The Donald's actions were right and his values unquestioned.
So millions of Americans are seeing this idealized and idolized version of Donald Trump every week on television. He has gone from someone known to someone TV shows as universally admired. Not only does he have the show but he also starts Trump University, further adding to the respect associated with his name and his own celebrity grew. What better position could a person who wanted to run for President be in? Thanks to The Apprentice Trump was not only a true household name but one looked up to as the smartest guy in the room. This image has been drilled into the American psyche by years of his TV show. So he campaigns and people are thrilled to see him. He says outrageous things and people believe him. He says he can get things done that no other candidate can, who will doubt him? His reputation from the show has allowed him to do things like questioning John McCain's heroism and not be hurt by it. This would have been fatal to most other candidates. Yes, there are other reasons people are flocking to Trump but the Apprentice gave him the reputation as someone who could do no wrong. This a good foundation for a Presidential campaign, shatters all the old rules of campaigns, and makes Trump a tough opponent to take down. However, this reputation and his personality should worry us if he wins. The voters need to consider that.