-- There were signs along the way. Trump lawn signs. Lots of them.
As I rode my bicycle along nearly 1,000 miles of rural roadways this past election cycle, I kept a rough tally of the yard signs I spotted along the way. Trump trounced Clinton in that count even if the polls rarely showed him ahead during the final months of the campaign.
During the campaign, Trump's name was no longer reserved for luxury hotels, golf courses and casinos. It was emblazoned on signs dotting the yards of thousands of average-sized houses across the country. For just $15 per sign, homeowners could showcase their association with his brand.
While Trump never developed the “ground game” touted by Clinton’s team, he mastered the "name game” -- getting his name posted on more property than his rival.
Some Trump supporters weren't satisfied with the flimsy 18-by-24 plastic yard signs and instead built custom billboards in their front yards. Signs too big to be plucked by any neighbors.
But as Trump signage grew in the countryside, there were moves to scrap it in many cities. Amid reports of lackluster occupancy rates at Trump hotels this election cycle, the company announced that its new hotels would not bear the Trump name, replacing it with “Scion.” Hundreds of tenants in Manhattan signed an online petition titled “Dump the TRUMP Name” in hopes that the emblazoned gold letters would be removed from their apartment buildings.
After a lifetime of attaching his name to city skyscrapers, Trump found far more support in the states where he never purchased property. He lost nearly every single county where buildings bore his name, but won the Midwest and South in part by seeding new signs on farms and small towns.
I counted about 20 Trump lawn signs to every one Clinton sign as I pedaled through the countrysides of crucial swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
One family in New Jersey jokingly told me they suspected Trump was behind the thievery of six of their Trump lawn signs since his campaign reaped the financial benefit after they spent $90 to replace them.
That's small change compared to the $75 million that Trump sometimes charges for the use of his name. Over the next four years, homeowners across the country will learn whether they really got a deal on those Trump signs.
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