Trump Being Trump: General Election Style (Week 2)

“Donald Trump had a rough week!” The political pundits assured us of this. After being wrong about Trump for the past year straight, surely they’ve finally learned and they’re correct this time, right?

Wrong. Again. Donald Trump had a fantastic week two for his general election campaign. Here’s why:

1. Sadiq Khan and The Muslim Ban

You may have heard that London recently elected a Muslim mayor. Donald Trump was asked whether or not his infamous “Muslim ban” would apply to the new mayor. He replied that there would always be exceptions, such as for business people or others who were visiting the United States for a known purpose. Sadiq Khan replied that he didn’t want to be an exception to Trump’s ban, that Trump was ignorant.

When pondering this post, I had initially intended to list it as a minor tactical defeat. As remarked upon in Stumped, frame is the cornerstone of the tactical level of the grand plan, and Khan can be said to have had a superior frame to Trump here. He essentially agreed and amplified, throwing a jab in for good measure, and, as you might expect, Donald Trump didn’t exactly spend a lot of time to prepare a counterattack. I also remarked in Stumped that Donald Trump’s biggest obstacle to winning is that a lot of people are afraid of him, and he needs to mitigate that fear. Though Khan is only a minor one, foreign leaders coming out against Trump adds to the fear factor.

So far, so good for the anti-Trump forces.

But then, just on the verge of victory, the anti-Trumpers sabotaged themselves (they’ve often done this).

First, Khan had a meeting with Paris’ Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who had this to say:

Now what do you see? Two elites looking down their noses at the real, legitimate concerns over Muslim (really Middle Eastern) immigration and multiculturalism in general by the people of America and Europe. These concerns, personified in Donald Trump and the offer he’s making, are dismissed as being “so stupid, my God” by a member of a hated out-group that will never have to deal with them. The potential foreign leader fear factor, then, hit the double-edge of its sword – it translated into rebellion against this hated out-group (the globalist elite) instead of fear, which affirms Trump’s offer perfectly. Nothing but the same tired platitudes are being offered in return for this dismissal. Donald Trump is a symbol of rebellion against these platitudes and the arrogant elites that mouth them.

Khan’s body language isn’t so great here either (his hands appear to be interlocked behind his back and he’s looking down).

Second, Sadiq Khan remarked that Donald Trump was going to make terrorist attacks more likely because he alienated “moderate Muslims.” This may have been effective in the past, but a growing number of people are seeing this as a kind of extortion – bend over backwards for Islam or get attacked. As Khan is reported to have ties with radical Islam (I don’t know whether or not this is true), it makes the optics worse.

Result: Victory

When looking at things like this, one could argue that Donald Trump isn’t even all that good. Rather, his opponents all just suck. That’s often been the case with great men in history compared to their competitors. Donald Trump actually is that good, but his grossly incompetent opponents only help to give him victories he might not have ordinarily won, as seen in this case. It’s very clear that Donald Trump represents an entirely new kind of politician and politics, and his opponents have absolutely no idea how to deal with him or his offer to the electorate. Their entire grand plan has been interrupted, so they just lash out, looking more and more incompetent as they do so.

It’s a perfect storm.

2. George Clooney: “There Will be no President Trump”

Although the main event on Thursday was elsewhere, that paradigm of wisdom, George Clooney, opined about the race. He had this to say:

No, Elaine Quijano, George Clooney was not, in fact, “confident.”

  1. His shoulders were hunched.
  2. His head was down.
  3. His eyes were down.
  4. His voice was shaky before he said “that’s not gonna happen.”
  5. Putting his hand on his face and fiddling with his ear were pacifying behaviors.

And in the broader context, what are the optics? We see George Clooney, who so perfectly represents the trope of the pretentious, virtue signaling Hollywood celebrity, telling the ignorant little people what they need to do to be considered “good people.” To top it all off, this occurred when George Clooney was in Cannes (easily seen as an elite, pretentious gathering) to promote what looks to be his latest in a long list of flops, Money Masters, undermining his own social proof even as he was with an elite group.

In other words, George Clooney might be supported by his fellow pretentious celebrities, but among the people at large, among the crowd, he has zero standing, and that is the strongest form of social proof and matters far more (see how high-profile endorsements have meant nothing in the quest to stop Donald Trump from getting the nomination).

Result: Victory

3. The Meeting with Paul Ryan

No one cares about George Clooney. All eyes were turned to Washington on Thursday to witness the long-anticipated meeting between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan as well as other GOP leaders. Ryan has been the focal point of the “Never Trump” movement amongst “conservatives,” so the outcome was anticipated. Would he get the endorsement of the Speaker? As the meeting was behind closed doors, we couldn’t hear what was said, but the result was never in doubt: Ryan wouldn’t endorse Trump yet, but the bridge would begin to be built.

That’s exactly what happened.

Though Paul Ryan’s body language didn’t look very assuring in his press conference afterward (I can’t tell for sure since I don’t know what his baseline behaviors are), he had no choice, and he knew it. The “Never Trump” people have thus lost, or at least can no longer effectively use, their most powerful symbol. The Republican Party will coalesce around Donald Trump. Despite what Bill Kristol and other delusional souls believe, there will be no “independent conservative” bid. As remarked upon in Stumped, the party will realign, and the “conservative movement” will have no choice but to realign with it.

Result: Decisive Victory

As a P.S., Donald Trump looked to walk back on his “Muslim ban” a bit, remarking that it was “just a suggestion that hasn’t been implemented yet.” In other words, it’s not going to be a total ban, but a bargaining chip to ensure that more rigorous screening methods are implemented.

Surely, no one saw that coming.

4. Tired Hillary’s Hilarious Gaffes:

Hillary Clinton massive campaign error Trump

This is one of the biggest campaign errors you will ever see. It is a Clinton tweet that accidentally looks pro-Trump.  – Scott Adams

Last week also saw a press release that I didn’t catch. It was written by an “Elizabeth Chan.” Let’s take a look at some choice quotes:

Trump thinks women should “do as good a job” as men if they want equal pay.

The average American woman working full time makes 79 percent of what men are paid—and it’s not because they aren’t working as hard. But responding to a question about equal pay, Trump said, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.”

The headline and ending reinforce the campaign error above. The middle is merely a logical argument that’s been rebutted countless times anyway.

There’s only one candidate in this race—on either side—who has gotten more votes than Trump: Hillary Clinton.

Hillary has received nearly two million more votes than Trump. And now that he’s the presumptive nominee, Hillary is the only thing standing in the way of President Trump in the White House.

The headline and first sentence are good, as they at least attempt to display social proof, but the ending part of the body copy ruins it. The italics are my emphasis. One intrepid commentator on Scott Adams’ blog thought the description of Hillary as a “thing” was a massive error, and it is, but the latter part of the sentence is even worse. It leads the reader to believe that Donald Trump is the president and occupying the White House. Read it again. “The only thing standing in the way of President Trump in the White House.”

In other words, it reinforces what Scott Adams said months ago, that Donald Trump is effectively running as an incumbent. It forces the reader to think of him as president. The ending then remarked how Donald Trump defeated a very deep and well-qualified Republican field, reinforcing his frame as a winner.

Scott Adams is correct when he says that no one on Hillary Clinton’s campaign comes from a persuasion background (either that or they don’t like her – like everyone else she’s ever met – and are deliberately trying to sabotage her). Elizabeth Chan sounds like she hasn’t read a single book on copywriting.

In addition to further torpedoing her unique selling proposition – after getting stomped on it last week – Hillary’s campaign wants you to believe that its opponent is an incumbent president.

Result: Victory

5. Those Tax Returns:

The issue of Donald Trump’s tax returns reared its head again. Nobody cared. Mitt Romney came out of the shadows to talk about it. People cared even less afterwards. Donald Trump told off George Stephanopoulos, remarking that his tax rate was “none of your business,” scoring a victory over a media elite (a hated out-group). Hillary Clinton was talking about it. This meant that she moved down from the level of strategy (moving an identity group to vote for her) last week to the level of tactics (individual issues and interactions with opponents) regarding something no one cared about this week, so the tactics weren’t even in pursuit of anything. Instead, she was letting tactics dictate strategy.

Result: Victory

6. “John Miller” or Donald Trump?

You may have heard that the Washington Post has a group of 20 reporters assigned to dig up dirt on The Donald. The best they could do this week was get their hands on a tape for People Magazine from 1991, claiming that Donald Trump was posing as his own publicist, which he denies.

You know it’s Trump, I know it’s Trump, and everyone else knows it’s Trump. And no one cares. It has no use. It’s stupid. It doesn’t even help on the level of a skirmish in the grand strategic plan to stop Donald Trump.

But there’s another twist. The very reporter “John Miller” was talking to says that Donald Trump leaked the tape!

I remarked elsewhere what Donald Trump could potentially get from leaking the tape. I’ll just put it here. Even if he didn’t, the leaker would change, but the results would stay the same:

1. Attention shifts away from Hillary Clinton again. Non-existent people can’t win.
2. Attention shifts away from his taxes (which no one really cares about anyway but he gets to shake it regardless).
3. Like PHB (a commentator on Scott Adams’ blog) said, this means that there’s no October surprise (avoids any kind of a negative recency effect).
4. As we saw in the video, it’s funny. Humor dispels bad feelings. Donald Trump = funny means he by definition, for the moment at least, can’t be viewed negatively. Being a repeat source of pleasure in this way can potentially help his unfavorable ratings.
5. Shows how stupid the media is for getting into a frenzy over this – confirms bias most people already have against the media. Trump = IN, media = OUT.

Result: Victory

7. The New York Times Hit Piece

The New York Times did what was supposed to be a hit piece regarding Donald Trump and his private relations with those special, protected snowflakes, women. The hit piece quoted him as saying that a “good woman is better than ten good men,” all the while highlighting the part about men “men tending to be better” to throw as much negative spin as possible. It also couldn’t even get a remotely decent false accusation from the women interviewed, most of whom had good things to say about him. One even just came out and said that the article was a total misconstruing of what she said. And aside from recounting his revolutionary promotion of women in the construction and real estate industry, the article also described Donald Trump as an “alpha male” and a “ladies man.” And, as Mike Cernovich remarked, this is the image the article used with its headline:

Donald Trump alpha male New York Times hit piece

So here’s what you get at the end of the day:

  1. A rich, charismatic, powerful, successful man likes hot women. Surprise, surprise.
  2. Said rich, charismatic, powerful, successful man takes advantage of these things to surround himself with hot women. Surprise, surprise.
  3. Men talk about women’s appearances. Surprise, surprise.
  4. You’ve now given beta males something to aspire to.
  5. Women like alpha males, meaning they’ll be more curious about Trump and his followers.

The guy that wrote the hit piece?

Barbaro New York Times Trump

This is the kind of guy that the public is rebelling against, the self-proclaimed leader, yet self-hating beta, that I describe in the first chapter of Stumped. His very appearance reaffirms Trump’s frame and encourages others who want to be winners to follow Trump (see bullet points four and five above).

In short, the article will not only do no damage, it may well do the opposite of what it was intended and expand Trump’s strategic base. If that happens, it will be a decisive victory (a victory on the strategic level), but for now we need to be more modest.

Result: Victory

8. Those Polls

We were told that Donald Trump had absolutely no chance in a general election, and that if the Republican party wanted to prevent Hillary Clinton from winning the White House, they needed to stop him from getting the nomination at any cost.

Except that this week, four polls came out showing that he was within the margin of error with Hillary Clinton nationally, one point behind in Florida, two points behind in Pennsylvania, and three points ahead in Ohio.

Oh.

Other polls came out showing that he was leading with 55% of Hispanics, though I’m not sure how much weight to put on that particular Gravis Marketing poll compared to the more respectable Reuters and Quinnipiac polls cited above.

Though I must stress that these are only isolated incidents for now and there’s still a long way to go, the results in Pennsylvania in particular, which hasn’t gone red since 1988 and could well prove the decisive state in this race, are very telling. Donald Trump said that he would put states in play that Republicans haven’t won in a long time, and Pennsylvania is a sign that this promise is coming true.

We don’t know how far-reaching this is yet, but it is another sign that the “smart” people continue to be wrong and shitlords like me are right once again.

Result: Victory

This coming week will prove very interesting, as it will bear witness to the event we’ve all been waiting for – the Megyn Kelly interview, which could well prove to be strategically important. It’s not one to miss.

Did you like this analysis? And just what do I mean by “strategically important” or “letting tactics dictate strategy” anyway? It’s a military style of planning modeled in the tradition of Alexander the Great and Sun Tzu, and it’s how Trump thinks and plans. If you want to know the building blocks of this style of planning, and about social proof, body language, and other charismatic cues in general, you should check out Stumped, which will show you how to implement all of these things to beat your competitors and achieve your goals.