Will Trump Reboot The Apprentice, Fizzle Like Sarah Palin or Both?

Trump Biggest Loser by Rick McKee, Counterpoint, and Sarah Palin in Marilyn pose by Riber Hansson, Sydsvenskan, Sweden
Trump Biggest Loser by Rick McKee, Counterpoint, and Sarah Palin in Marilyn pose by Riber Hansson, Sydsvenskan, Sweden

These burning questions were hotly debated yesterday on MSNBC in the wake of new reporting by The Daily Beast that Donald Trump has been thinking about resurrecting his former NBC hit TV series The Apprentice or The Celebrity Apprentice in his post-presidency.

TDB reports:

In the past two weeks, the people familiar with the matter note, Trump has casually slipped into conversation lines such as, “How would you like to see The Apprentice come back?” and “Remember The Apprentice?” The president has also bragged about how much of a ratings draw and money-maker the series was for him …

Three things to note about this story. One — the admission is further proof (along with Melania shipping their White House belongings off to Mar-a-Lago) that despite Trump’s public whining and lying about the election being stolen from him, he knows he’s being evicted in 32 days. Two — the show could provide sorely needed cash to cover more than $400 million in loans coming due, and pay legal fees involving the dozens of lawsuits filed against him and a buffet of federal and state criminal probes in which he’s a target. Three — it would be Trump’s best ROI, giving him the money, spotlight and adulation he craves with minimal effort and imagination, all hallmarks of this megalomaniac and accidental president.


So where does Sarah Palin fit into all of this?

Marketing expert and friend-of-the-show Donny Deutsch wandered into that territory on yesterday’s airing of Deadline Whitehouse with Nicolle Wallace. Deutsch, Wallace and political analyst Jason Johnson were kicking around the question of how popular Trump will be in his post-presidency, and Deutsch wondered if Trump might just fizzle like Sarah Palin did after she and John McCain’s Republican ticket lost to President Barrack Obama and then Vice President (and soon to be president!) Joe Biden in 2008.

Deutsch recalled how Palin remained wildly popular among the GOP base and had a successful two-year stretch of turning out audiences for speaking engagements and even a one-season reality TV show. But then her star faded following the 2010 midterm elections, Deutsch observed, inferring that by then Palin was branded as simply a loser whose lunch at the trough of fame had long ended.

Since the election Deutsch’s mug of eggnog has been notably half-full when discussing the lasting effects of Trumpism. “There is something that happens when you lose, and what happens to power after that point … and people are looking back (at Trump) and going, maybe that didn’t feel so good,” Deutsch told the crew of Morning Joe two weeks after the race was called for Biden.” None of the one-term presidents have historically gone on to have lasting impact, he added.

Johnson’s view, however, was much more bleak on Wallace’s program yesterday, saying he thinks there will be more and serious “violence in the streets” as Trump prepares to leave office. Johnson referenced last weekend’s pro-Trump march in Washington D.C. when white supremacist/chauvinists Proud Boys stabbed counter-protestors, vandalized churches and clashed with police.

Proud Boys by Randall Enos, Easton, CT
Proud Boys by Randall Enos, Easton, CT

Johnson and Deutsch may both be right. More blood may be spilled as we transition into a new normal, and then Trump may blessedly fade into irrelevancy as a loser one-term president whose MAGA movement churned out foot soldiers of stupidity.

But regarding a possible reboot of The Apprentice, Johnson did have one thought. “At this point I don’t know if he could resell Apprentice unless it’s going to be on Russian TV, because no one in America wants to work for this guy. ”


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Olive is the founder and editor of Cartoon State, a progressive blog that explores the drollery of U.S. politics in the age of Trumpism.