A friend of mine is an immigration attorney. She personally abhors Donald Trump’s positions on deporting undocumented immigrants and building a border wall, but she’ll be the first to admit there’s been a silver lining to his victory: Her office phone has been ringing off the hook. She’s not the only anti-Trumpist to encounter a startling business bump over the past few weeks. Therapists in deep-blue enclaves can’t keep up with the demand for counseling from despondent Hillary voters. Journalists openly fret about a coming assault on press freedoms, but publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post have reported a surge in subscriptions. And Wall Street banks, which wanted nothing to do with Trump during the campaign, have been delighted by an unexpected—and record-breaking—market rally.
Who else stands to profit mightily from a Trump presidency? Trump himself, of course. He pledged this week to leave his businesses “in total” to focus on running the country. But with his name emblazoned above the door and his children possibly steering the ship, some still worry that the Trump Organization will become a magnet for ill-gotten profits and corruption. I, for one, think it would be not only proper but also savvy for Trump to distance himself now. After all, it’s far from certain that the value of his businesses will soar while he’s in the Oval Of fice. Brands depend on consistency for success, and Trump Inc., which has long stood for gilded luxury and decadence, is already struggling with the contradictions inherent in his populist run. The inconsistencies will only grow as Trump begins to govern. What happens to Trump the Brand when his name comes to be associated with, say, a trade war with China or bungled Medicare reform? Trump Inc.’s fortunes, of course, could grow without Trump at the helm. And the president-elect could then enjoy his windfall while ducking suspicion; if its fortunes fell, he could dodge blame. How’s that for a silver lining?