By By Michael Margavitch, Columnist
Possibly throwing his hat into the ring as a 2012 Republican Presidential candidate is property billionaire Donald J. Trump. The 64-year-old host of NBC reality hits The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice is already readying what seems to be a campaign as he trash-talks not only President Barack Obama, but other Republican frontrunners like former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Trump is currently leading the polls in regard to Republican candidates -- but even if he does run and win, will it be worth his while?
Currently, The Trump makes $6 million a season for The Apprentice. It is his biggest asset at this point, as the real estate market is tanking and a few of his casinos are going bankrupt. If he were to make the decision to run, NBC would have to cancel one of their few hits. It is not fair to give any Presidential candidate more screen time than another, and would be seen as an unfair endorsement.
The pre-campaign that Trump is carrying out already seems to be hurting Trump's program. Before he made the talk show rounds, this season of The Celebrity Apprentice was averaging a healthy (for NBC) total viewership of over nine million viewers. Suppositions about President Obama not really being from Hawaii, threats to take oil from Middle Eastern countries, and criticisms of Mitt Romney as "a small-business man" may have increased poll numbers, but rating for the reality show have hit a season low of 7.5 million viewers as of Sunday April 17. Many attribute this slide to Trump's recent outspokenness.
Trump would have to leave all of his ventures behind as well as spend a great amount of money for his campaign. If he loses as a candidate, he will have to rebuild his business empire with less money in his pocket. If, by some miracle, Trump did become our president, he would receive a measly $400,000 a year for his troubles, less than seven percent of what he would make for doing much less work on his show alone. Is it really worth it?
The biggest question is, "Is Trump really considering running in the first place?" He has been known for publicity stunts before to attract attention to the Trump brand. The biggest hint that he is not completely serious about this career option is that he is rumored to announce his decision on the Celebrity Apprentice finale. If this rumor is true, then the campaign is obviously just a ratings ploy and we will not have to worry about President Trump, Vice President Ivanka and Secretary of State Donald Jr. any time soon.