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.