POLITICS

Harry Reid airport? In Las Vegas? "No way, Jose"

Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) smiles during an interview with Reuters in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. August 25, 2016.

Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) smiles during an interview with Reuters in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. August 25, 2016.  (REUTERS/David Becker)

Did you hear the joke about clueless Nevada Democrats who want to rename the Las Vegas airport "Harry Reid Airport"?

Well the joke might be on Las Vegas tourism. Because this story is no joke. Unfortunately, it's all too real.

I am a branding, marketing and promotion expert. I’ve used branding techniques to build several million dollar businesses and successful careers in a dozen fields. I lecture on “Branding- American Style” all over the globe.

What’s the greatest brand in the world? Las Vegas. The brand name “Las Vegas” says fun, fame, glitz, glamour, gambling, golf, sex, shopping, sunshine and striking it rich -- all in one!

No other brand in the world does that.

No matter where I go in the world, when I say I’m from Las Vegas…the reaction is amazing and instantaneous. Whomever I’m talking to smiles, laughs, and screams “Vegas baby! You live there? WOW. Lucky you!” 

Just the mention of those two magic words makes everyone in the world stop like I’m in one of those old E.F. Hutton television commercials. Those two magic words are “Las Vegas.” Not “Harry Reid.” 

Outside America no one has any idea who former Nevada Democratic Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid is.

Inside America even 90 percent of Democrats haven’t a clue who Harry Reid is.

Don’t believe me? Just watch those “man in the street” polls taken on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC.

Last year, Kimmel asked people on Hollywood Blvd. who Joe Biden was. You know, the vice president of the United States for eight consecutive years. No one knew. Biden was anonymous to typical Americans. 

So, trust me, even most Democrats (outside Nevada) haven’t a clue who Harry Reid is. 

But I guarantee you most of the 62 million Trump voters know the name. Republicans outside Nevada despise Harry Reid. He is public enemy number one.

This is a reality. It doesn’t matter if you like him, or think he “brought home the bacon” for Nevada. This is about branding and growing Vegas tourism, not your partisan beliefs.

To Republicans nationally, Harry Reid is the vicious politician who carried Obama’s water for eight years; who shoved ObamaCare down our throats; who fought for open borders and illegal immigration; who made sure we all were taxed and regulated to death.

To every Republican I know Harry Reid is the devil personified. To many Republicans, he is also a symbol of corruption and hyper-partisanship in Washington, D.C.

By the way, I hate to break this to Democrats, but tourists are upscale. People on welfare and food stamps don’t tend to travel much. They certainly can't afford to travel to Las Vegas. Vegas has become a very expensive tourist destination with world class five star hotels and the finest restaurants in the world. 

Add in expensive spas, shows and golf courses. Nothing is cheap in Vegas anymore.

The tourists visiting Vegas have to have money. More importantly, a huge percentage of conventioneers are upscale business executives. That means a large majority of Vegas tourists voted for Trump. Like it, or not, the typical Vegas visitor and especially conventioneer, is a Republican.

Now think about this for a moment. Sixty-two million people think Harry Reid is the devil. And most of the rest have never heard of him. And Nevada Democrats in our state legislature want to rename our airport after him.

Yes, you heard me -- they want to rename McCarran International Airport as “Harry Reid Airport.”

Hell of a branding idea.

Nevada's Democrat state senators and assemblymen all have one thing in common -- none of them has ever run a successful business. They know nothing about branding, or in this case, about destroying a brand with a name that inspires anger and negativity.

Harry Reid’s name on our airport would be the worst branding disaster in business history. It would be an albatross to Vegas tourism.

His name makes 62 million Republicans want to vomit, or throw stones, or both.

Every time the pilot announces “We are beginning our descent into Harry Reid Airport” passengers will gag. Is that the first reaction you want a Vegas visitor to have?

We are the tourist capital of the world. The number one rule of tourism is to keep politics out of it. Or have you noticed any Hilton, Hyatt or Marriott hotels named after Republicans or Democrats? Our airport shouldn’t remind anyone of partisan politics.

The truth is McCarran is a poor choice too. Who the heck is Pat McCarran? The answer is...he was Nevada's U.S. Senator a long time ago. His name means nothing to over 40 million tourists a year- many of them international travelers. 

So, let's use this as a teachable moment (as former President Obama used to say). This branding expert has two good ideas. First, let’s kill this ridiculous partisan idea of equating Vegas tourism with Harry Reid. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. 

Secondly, let’s get rid of the name McCarran too. Remember the famous business advice "KISS: keep it simple, stupid." Let’s keep it simple for Vegas visitors and at the same time, accentuate the greatest brand in the world. Let's rename our airport…

Las Vegas International Airport.

Wayne Allyn Root is a CEO, business owner, conservative commentator and best-selling conservative author. He is host of the nationally-syndicated “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show.” For more, visit his website: www.ROOTforAmerica.com.