The insightful blog of Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert cartoons like the one above) was just referred to me by John Hultquist (many thanks). Scott has blogged for more than a year on the Trump phenomenon, and his posts provide needed perspective for those who succumbed to the media brainwashing during the campaign to defeat him.
Now that Trump will be President, many people (both those pleased Hillary lost and those wanting her to win) need to step back and take a more reasoned look at the man. Think of it as a course in Trump Appreciation. Think of the studies in Art or Music Appreciation we took as youngsters needing a context to understand what we were hearing or seeing.
The directory of Scott’s posts (here) is very informative, as suggested by these insightful observations popping up here and there:
The Two Candidates
But something is different this year. This year we don’t have an election between two candidates that offer roughly the same outcome. This time we have a swamp-draining outsider looking to institute term limits. And this outsider has been successfully branded by his opponent as the second-coming of Hitler.
Ironically, we have the two “worst” candidates of all time, according to their favorability ratings. But those two worst candidates have given us two of the best (clearest) choices we have ever had as a country.
Sure, both candidates are flawed, but both have the capability to deliver on their main propositions. Clinton probably can give you a third term of Obama(ish) and Trump probably can drain at least some of the swamp. If you step back from the negativity of the election for a moment, you can be grateful that our Republic served up these two options. That’s how it is supposed to work.
Contrasting Leadership Styles
Clinton’s message is that we are “stronger together.” That’s true, but the message is not about you. It’s about the power of a group. And in this context, unfortunately, the “stronger together” theme has mostly served to embolden Clinton’s supporters to bully Trump supporters because there is safety in numbers. Clinton also talks about her place in history as perhaps the first woman president. But that is more about Clinton, and history, than you.
Yes, Trump is a bully, but he’s offering to provide that service on behalf of the country. When leaders do it, we call it leadership. (Think LBJ or Steve Jobs.) Trump isn’t encouraging his supporters to bully Clinton supporters. But Clinton has painted Trump and his supporters as Nazi-like deplorables, and that creates moral cover for the bullying you see all over the country against Trump supporters. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to bully a Nazi, would it? That’s the dangerous situation Clinton has created.
While Obama is out talking about his legacy, and Clinton is out talking about making history as the first woman president, Trump (the narcissist) asks for the American people’s help in draining the swamp and making America great again. That’s one heckuva contrast to end on.
Why Trump Surprised
The social bullying coming from Clinton’s supporters guaranteed that lots of Trump supporters were in hiding. That created the potential for a surprise result, so long as the race was close.
The business model of the news industry guarantees lots of “scandals” on a regular schedule. Small things get inflated to big things, and I assumed there would be plenty of them. Trump has the skill to overcome medium-sized scandals and bumps in the road.
Last year, when many observers were saying Trump was a stupid, under-informed clown, I was saying he was a Master Persuader. Pundits said he ignored facts because he didn’t know them or because he was a liar. I said he ignored facts because facts are useless for persuasion. Trump could learn lots of facts if he wanted to do so. But he knew it was a waste of time.
Readers of this blog might recall that months ago I predicted that Trump would soften his immigration proposals. That’s because I saw him from the start as a Master Persuader, not a crazy person, and not a common flip-flopper.
In my opinion, Trump might be the safest president we have ever had. He can lead the dark parts of his base toward the light (as Nixon went to China) and he has no incentive for war. Claims about his “temperament” are mostly about his penchant for insults, and that isn’t a mortal danger to anyone.
The Presidential Trump
Economies are driven by psychology. If you expect things to go well tomorrow, you invest today, which causes things to go well tomorrow, as long as others are doing the same. The best kind of president for managing the psychology of citizens – and therefore the economy – is a trained persuader. You can call that persuader a con man, a snake oil salesman, a carnival barker, or full of shit. It’s all persuasion. And Trump simply does it better than I have ever seen anyone do it.
Most of the job of president is persuasion. Presidents don’t need to understand policy minutia. They need to listen to experts and then help sell the best expert solutions to the public. Trump sells better than anyone you have ever seen, even if you haven’t personally bought into him yet. You can’t deny his persuasion talents that have gotten him this far.
Clinton’s team of cognitive scientists and professional persuaders did a terrific job of framing Trump as scary. The illusion will wear off – albeit slowly – as you observe Trump going about the job of President and taking it seriously. You can expect him to adjust his tone and language going forward. You can expect foreign leaders to say they can work with him. You can expect him to focus on unifying an exhausted and nervous country. And you can expect him to succeed in doing so. (He’s persuasive.) Watch as Trump turns to healing. You’re going to be surprised how well he does it. But give it time.
I follow Dilbert and got sucked into reading the predictions–which I thought were reaching, nay, straining out of nihilism. But the 1955 Solomon Asch experiment proved that the decisive majority (3/4) care not a whit for fact. They are moved by the apparent opinions of a group. Factmongers like Ron and Rudy can only appeal to 1 in 4 people, and even then some math is required. The Trump/Adams approach is psychology tailored to democracy and this election (and the anti-industrial Greeligion) make more sense viewed as Solomon Asch phenomena.
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I was aware of the reduced value of facts during the campaign, and noted a comparison with climate communications. https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2015/12/26/post-truth-climatism/
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Thanks again for the tip John. Too bad I missed seeing it before.
Thanks from a Trump supporter, That was a very well thought out and astute piece, thanks again. I felt much the same way about Trump just by looking at his projects all over the world and in many different cultures, I believe people just were focused on his American (sort of “Wild West”) style and completely missed that he has a worldwide business that relies on a ton of intelligence, knowledge . and….. persuasion.
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Excellent insights. I came to the same conclusion about the value of facts to persuasion after a couple of years of arguing with Progressive champions of CAGW. If a fact agreed with what they thought, it was gold. If it didn’t, their first question was who originated the fact. Based on that they could evaluate its veracity. Plus, like scholastic monks of the Medieval ages, many think pure reasoning more powerful than empirical data. The state of science education or any education in this country is absolutely deplorable. Clinton should have aimed her basket there. She would have had at least one bullseye.
Thanks Ron. What a great essay. This sums up really well what I saw in Trump.
I hope for his success. The “never Trumpers” are looking more and more isolated and lame
Hunter, always good to hear from you. Just today we saw Trump shift gears into bridge building. And his stating three priorities as immigration, health care and jobs is actually a laser focus on fixing the economy. Finally a President who knows about the role of CEO.
This is a major problem with how sceptics play the cAGW game. They attack it with facts where the facts of cAGW have become irrelevant to the point where UN can get away with saying that global warming could be less than 1 deg by 2100 and still claim an “Emergency”. The facts are no longer part of the narrative and it has become a game of demonstrating ones moral purity by commitment to “The Cause”. Tipping into the climate charity tin in the church of Gaia.
It’s a moral house of cards, saving the earth no less – But we seem to be saving the earth by freezing grannies in winter, slaughtering poor black people by denying them the clean cheap energy to keep the mosquitoes at bay (malaria and other pest bourn diseases) and treat sewerage (The single biggest improvement in health ever made was sewerage), and by taking away their food aid (Using land/corn for biofuels). We build windmills in Adelaide rather than cyclone shelters in Haiti or Manilla or N Africa. We ignore Cancer, Aids, Ebola, Polio, Dysentery and hundreds of other maladies in our zeal to install more solar panels. Worst of all we give cash to the Clinton foundation in the vain hope they will do something useful – Instead Chelsea gets a great wedding and Hillary loses a presidential election.
Instead we must understand the game, the moral battlefield is the place to play here, ordinary people need to know that the solar panels and windmills do not come without the cost of dead grannies in winter and state-wide blackouts. The scales have to fall from our eyes and we have to see the world as it really is –
The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance.
I have been reading Scott Adams blog throughout the election and our was well worth the time. It was during that time when people called Trump a monster that I read Adams on him softening his approach. Hopefully he won’t soften his approach on CAGW whilst ensuring the environment remains protected from real threats rather than nebulous ones.