Everyone can see that Trump is surging in the polls, but few understand why. Like most professionals, I am appalled at this possibility. Why do I now think it is almost inevitable that Trump wins?
Democrats have not figured out how to affect how Trump appeals to his supporters. As I blogged on June 3, 2016, and as Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) so brilliantly foresaw a year ago, Trump is appealing to voters on an emotional level. Facts don’t matter if you relate to people’s fears and hopes, and that is what Trump is a master at: Fear and Persuasion.
We can call Trump a liar all we want, but Trump has already established his defense: berating crooked Hillary and the lying media. Throughout the country, campaigns are going on over which candidate is the bigger liar (I see the ads for the New Hampshire senate race). But the degree of honesty seems not to matter once you are both (called) liars.
Last April I purchased a red “Make America Great Again” hat as a prop for a faculty skit. This put me on the list of Trump supporters and gives me a glimpse into his campaign to his supporters.
I was initially surprised that it took two months for the Trump organization to use that contact information to make their first request for my money and support (in June). Now I know it was part of his clever strategy of not burning out his audience. I am getting emails every other day from Trump. I pasted in one of the recent messages below. It looks pretty simple and convincing to me. Focused on broad fears and not facts or specifics.
I just revisited Scott Adams’ blog site, which I highly recommend to you. Here is the key text from his August 10 blog, when Hillary’s polls were at their peak. I pasted in below the eight possibilities he listed there.
“If nothing changes, Clinton will win in November. But things rarely stay the same. Here are several ways Trump could still win from behind.
- Voters discover that Clinton has been hiding a major health issue.
- Wikileaks releases something damaging.
- Trump over-performs at the first debate, showing the world that he is willing and able to master the issues.
- Trump makes the case that the Clinton Foundation is really about selling influence to foreign concerns.
- Trump gives a speech or interview that is so effective in its empathy that he no longer appears to be crazy and racist.
- A new surprise revelation about Clinton that no one sees coming.
- Terror attacks push everything else out of the headlines in the final months.
- Someone assassinates Clinton because of Trump’s 2nd Amendment joke.
Scott Adams Trump Prediction Update, August 10 blog
I see many of these themes already panning out. He himself calls them spooky in his Sept 18th blog, and I agree.
I also benefitted from reading Scott Adams’ assessment of the risk of Trump in his blog from this weekend.
Adams makes some interesting points about Trump, less scary than most others, since Adams views trump as a smart, and highly successful businessman, which he is.
Is Trump’s success inevitable? (Recall that my opening paragraph said it was almost inevitable.) Maybe not.
The debates could go better for Hillary than expected.
It seems too late, but conceivably efforts to register and get out the vote of students and minorities could mean the polls are wrong. (I am appalled by how little effort is going on at BU to get students to register. Apathy is winning out.)
Money won’t really matter. Hillary is outspending Trump in ads by 10-1, but still losing ground.
Factual errors and scandals about Trump’s past seem not to matter.
More endorsements for Hillary seem not to matter. Trump can still gather a large group of generals and veterans at will, and his rallies are bigger, and recently better behaved.
Adams thinks that to offset the persuasion skills of Trump the best hope is effective fear mongering by the democrats (e.g. nuclear war or a new middle east war). Maybe Hillary’s handlers can pull it off. But I am not so sure.
The parallel I use for this election is that Trump is an incredible used-car salesman, and the quality of the car does not matter if you are a good enough persuader. Hillary will lose the race since she is a terrible used car salesman. Until recently she has felt constrained to tell the truth about each car, and spends her time defending her honor and honesty. Who do you think can sell more cars?
Read a Trump direct email below for more insight.
Randall P. Ellis, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Economics, Boston University
firstname.lastname@example.org Off: +1-617-353-2741 http://blogs.bu.edu/ellisrp/
BU Ph.D. job candidates: http://www.bu.edu/econ/gradprgms/phd/phdcandidates/
From: Donald J. Trump [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2016 10:35 AM
To: Ellis, Randall P
Donald Trump is listening to the voices of millions of Americans who want a new direction in Washington. Add your voice and guide his campaign to victory over the Obama-Clinton liberals. |
The politicians and liberal elites have not been listening to you.
But I hear you loud and clear. That’s why I am the people’s candidate for president with a rising movement of pro-America voters ready to take back our country.
As one of my best and most loyal supporters, you can do a lot to help finish this race strong and send Crooked Hillary down to defeat.
You have my word I will take action on YOUR concerns and speak up for YOUR interests.
That’s what I’ve been doing this whole time.
When I said we should not be letting tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into our country if we don’t know who they are, the liberal elites screamed out against me, but they were not listening to you.
When I said we should build a real border wall because if you don’t have a border, you don’t have a country, they raged against me on TV, but they were not listening to you.
When I said China is ripping us off with all these stupid trade deals, the liberal elites screamed about their globalist economic theories, but they were not listening to you.
Well I have been listening to you, Friend. I have been taking you seriously. And I will not let you down.
So our campaign – our pro-America movement – is taking a new approach that hasn’t been tried before by the D.C. insiders. I am campaigning on a message that seeks to represent the American people only, NOT lobbyists, NOT the media, and NOT corporate elites. The reason I have surged in the polls from ‘day one’ of this race is because I have been listening to you – the great silent majority of Americans – and keeping you and other supporters engaged every step along the way.
In addition to your valuable answers, I also hope I can count on you to make a special donation in support of our campaign at this critical time.
Crooked Hillary has tons of money from the liberal elites who have rigged everything against you. The media are in her corner too, and frankly I don’t think I’ve seen the media in this country behave in such a disgusting way as they have against me. So many lies!
|Contributions to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.|
|Paid for by Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee.|