Does New York even like Donald Trump?

Welcome home Donald Trump. Now, you get to face the voters who know you best.

It's the electorate who remembers how you studied for two years at Fordham University in the Bronx before you transferred to Wharton. Somehow, you forget to mention that on the campaign trail when gloating over your brilliant Ivy League pedigree.

You will also have to face the local media who have covered your projects, scandals and failures going back to the 1970s. You can't fudge the facts with them.


U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at an airplane hangar in Rochester, New York.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at an airplane hangar in Rochester, New York.

Friends from other states are always asking me what New Yorkers think of Trump. Is he respected? Do they like him? Do they think he would make a good president?

Social science is nothing more than aggregated opinions, and as every opinionated New Yorker will tell you – your views don't represent mine. Still, you can get a general sense of how locals feel about issues by listening to their conversations.

I work inside a six-floor building in midtown Manhattan that is home to tech start-ups and professional service industries, alike. When the conversation turns to Trump at the water cooler, it usually begins and ends with laughter.

What are those voters in other states thinking?

In New York City, Trump is genuinely viewed as a shallow thinker who speaks without a filter. He started his life on third base with his father's money and thinks he hit a home run. This arrogance alienates most self-made New Yorkers who came here from another place without the help of money or connections.

Trump's isolationist views also don't play well in a city that is multi-cultural and inter-dependent on other economies. His populist ideas are not pragmatic in a world that is never black and white, especially in New York City where people from different religions and ethnicities cram into a small subway car every morning despite their differences.

I got my haircut on Friday and asked my barber who is from Russia what he thought of Trump. As the local NY-1 News played over our conversation, my barber admitted he doesn't know much about politics, but he said Trump scares him. He said Trump is a smart businessman, but he reminds him of the leaders back in the old Soviet Union days, and he doesn't want to go back to that.



Like every other community, New Yorkers draw much of their knowledge from their local papers – the New York Times, NY Daily News and NY Post.

The Times has a record for in-depth reporting and their reporters and editors have pressed Trump for specifics on his plans. But rather than give more details, Trump played victim, complaining on Twitter that the New York Times coverage wasn't fair to him.

But most New Yorkers don't read the Times on a daily basis. They read the New York Daily News, which is the most popular tabloid in New York City based on readership.

That paper has covered Trump like he is a circus act. Several cover photos depicted Trump as a clown with the headlines: "Clown Runs For Prez," "Dawn of the Brain Dead" and "Dead Clown Walking." And when Sarah Palin endorsed Trump for President, the Daily News had a field day with the headline, "I'm With Stupid."


Of course, this doesn't mean Trump will lose New York. He will win big, but that's not because New Yorkers like him.

When the other leading GOP candidate, Ted Cruz, criticizes New Yorkers for their liberal values, you can write off their votes. Apparently, Cruz – the son of a preacher – conveniently forgot the scripture that says don't judge others, lest you be judged.

And when Cruz came looking for votes last week in the Bronx, the Daily News led its front page coverage with the headline: "Take the F U Train Ted." It was a thought that most New Yorkers already had.

It's kind of like what Sen. Lindsey Graham said when he described his feelings for having to choose between Trump and Cruz; he said it was like choosing between being shot or being poisoned.

Most New Yorkers will tell you they prefer a shot of vodka to either of these candidates. We'll pass on the poison.



Commentary by Mark Macias, head of Macias PR, a global public-relations firm, that has run media and branding campaigns for politicians, tech start-ups, financial firms, nonprofits and companies. He's also author of the book, "Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media." Follow him on Twitter @markmacias.

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