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Donald Trump won't run for President if he doesn't think he can win, says U of M expert Heather LaMarre. (Image courtesy Gage Skidmore.)

A changing hair style might say a lot about presidential ambitions, U of M political communication expert says

April 20, 2011

For TV viewers, Donald Trump may already be the consummate “boss” as the host of “Celebrity Apprentice.” Now, the real estate mogul has placed his sights on higher aspirations: United States President. How serious is Trump and how much do the other contenders need to fear him? A University of Minnesota political communication expert who can provide insight on the intersections of celebrity and politics is:  

Heather LaMarre, assistant professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Liberal Arts

LaMarre says Trump is hard to read. “Most people think this is a publicity stunt, but he did recently ‘convert’ to a pro-life stance and has been aggressively touting his credentials as a businessman,” LaMarre says. “That is a tell-tale sign that he is seriously thinking about base strategy for gaining Republican support.”

Simple non-verbal communication cues might also shed light on Trump’s intentions, LaMarre says. “One could also look for a change in Trump’s hair style. If his famous ‘crazy hair’ suddenly looks more normal, this might be another sign he is serious about this.”

Either way, Trump will be smart about his chances. “He won’t run if he can’t win,” LaMarre says. “He is testing the waters, but if it looks bleak he will claim it was for publicity, even if he is serious. This will be how he saves face. Others will just say, ‘I knew he wasn’t serious.’ This gives him an out, which also gives him a no-lose opportunity to see where this takes him.”

LaMarre's research and teaching interests lie at the crossroads of strategic communication, politics and social psychology. Her most recent research explores the influence of social media and political entertainment on public opinion, attitudes and behaviors. LaMarre’s work has been featured on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, National Public Radio and The Colbert Report.

To interview LaMarre, contact Jeff Falk at (612) 626-1720 or jfalk@umn.edu.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit umn.edu/news. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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