Trump Being Trump: General Election Style (Week 13)

Last week was a true display of Robert Greene’s 48th law of power in action. Power is formless. The game always changes. And the game changed last week. The key takeaway in Stumped, and in sales in general, is that you need to create the right offer or all the technique and marketing finesse in the world isn’t going to help you. Put simply, Donald Trump’s (and to a lesser extent, Bernie Sanders’) offer of nationalism has been extremely potent in this year of revolts against the globalist order. If the Democrats wanted a shot at victory, especially given that they’ve nominated the hapless, pathetically uncharismatic Hillary Clinton, they needed to make a proper counteroffer and give it the right sales messaging, and quickly. “Social justice” outrage wasn’t going to cut it. The Democrats found their counteroffer last week, and if they make it consistently, this race changes dramatically.

Democratic National Convention, Night 1

The convention started out in a very bad place. There were big protests outside with the ongoing fallout of the DNC hack of emails released by Wikileaks. There was also a big marketing failure. Not learning their lesson, the Democrats thought that bringing out the “love trumps hate” slogan was a good idea. In fact, on night 1, you saw the word “trump” more than “Hillary,” “Clinton,” or “Kaine.” My mom asked me why the Democrats were asking her to love something about Trump (his hate).

As I had been expecting for months, SJWism was in full swing. The coalition of the perpetually aggrieved took center-stage, and it all sent the exact wrong message. One other less-than brilliant idea was to bring an illegal alien on stage. My mom, a lifelong Democratic voter, who partook in anti-war protests at the Pentagon in the 60’s, was furious.

Here’s how you know the SJW identity politics at the Democratic National Convention was a nightmare in terms of persuasion. Recall that the second chapter of Stumped deals with the domination of space. Your goal is ultimately to win on the strategic level, and in elections you do that by turning out the necessary demographics of voters, or at least not incentivizing them to turn out against you. By encouraging identity politics and SJW grievance-mongering, the Democrats may be trying to increase turnout among their traditional base, but Donald Trump provides enough incentive by himself for that. The voters deciding this election will largely be white voters in Florida and the Rust Belt. It’s imperative that Hillary Clinton peel as many of them away from Trump as possible. While Donald Trump is losing among college educated whites, he’s winning massively among those without college degrees, and many of them live in those all-important states.

There is nothing guaranteed to alienate those voters, including many traditional white Democratic voters, more than SJWism. My own mother is a perfect anecdote, even though her vote doesn’t matter in New York. This is why, despite supporting Hillary Clinton big-time in 2008, the opposite was true in 2016’s Democratic primaries, as they turned out in droves to vote for Bernie Sanders instead. Going the identity politics route was a big mistake of night one, and it didn’t stop there.

The night did pick up with two excellent speeches by Cory Booker and Michelle Obama. Cory Booker began to lay the foundations for the new message. Most of his speech went beyond identity politics to a simply “American” identity, a tradition always-evolving, but still distinctly that exceptional nation our Founding Fathers passed down to us. This would be of increasing import throughout the convention.

Michelle Obama’s speech was potent, if limited in its effectiveness for that night only. Her stance against Donald Trump from the viewpoint of a mother was a calling for all women, and Hillary Clinton will need more women to turn out given her severe disadvantage with men. Look for this to be a theme later on. As a secondary one, it’s a good one.

There was also the roll out of a disabled person to talk against Donald Trump for “mocking a disabled reporter.” This isn’t your typical SJW victim mongering. Focus groups have consistently demonstrated that Hillary Clinton’s ads targeting Donald Trump for “mocking the disabled” got the most emotional impact. This is for good reason. No one likes someone that’s seen as a bullying someone else who can’t defend himself, and anyone can be affected by a disability, so taking that angle on the first night was a potent and wise move.

And yet the Democrats quickly ruined the leverage that had been built up in the middle of the convention’s first night. Elizabeth Warren’s speech fell totally flat. Bernie Sanders’ speech was simply his last hurrah and didn’t break any new ground.

There was also a conspicuous absence of American flags on the first night, which was noted by Donald Trump and many others afterward.

Though beginning an important new tack for the long haul with Cory Booker, night one was overall a victory for Donald Trump.

Result (for Trump): Victory

Democratic National Convention, Night 2

Night two was largely a repeat of the mistakes of night one, until Bill Clinton erased all of it thanks to his headlining appearance which took full advantage of the recency effect.

Night two showcased more identity politics, with a special emphasis on feminism this time. Again, this is stupid because there’s nothing more guaranteed to alienate the male voters that Hillary Clinton desperately needs than harping on gender for so long. Scott Adams remarked that Barack Obama wisely did not mention his race a terrible lot in 2008, which brought people together instead of carving them up on essentialist considerations. By the time he got the nomination, everyone already accepted in their minds that a black man could be president and moved on. Night two of the Democratic National Convention didn’t do that for the most part.

Then there was something even worse. The “mothers of the movement” came on stage. These were mothers of people like Michael Brown who were shot by police, an homage to Black Lives Matter. Again, if you want to deliberately alienate white working and middle class voters and deliberately cut yourself off from vital electoral space that you need in order to win, I couldn’t pick a better way to do it, especially when Donald Trump had a prominent police advocacy presence at his convention and he took on the frame of the “law and order candidate.” People do not like to be guilt-tripped and demeaned as “racist,” and that is how many whites feel when they see this stuff. Fortunately for the Democrats, this particular segment was placed the middle of the night in the middle of the convention, so it won’t be as memorable simply because it’s scrambled with other things, but it was a clear indicator that some of them still haven’t learned from Trump’s playbook, and they will need to use his tools if they want to defeat a candidate as unconventional as he is.

Then there were just more oddities. An NYPD survivor of 9/11 came out to the theme of “Live and Let Die.” Other 9/11 survivors and widows came out to themes like “You Shook Me all Night Long.”

We’ve heard talk of moles on Hillary Clinton’s web and social media team deliberately trying to sabotage her. It’s not inconceivable that some convention organizers fit that mold too.

Yet, there were also some more interesting A/B testing going on that could prove effective. One speaker that was a 9/11 survivor accused Donald Trump of being nowhere and profiting off the tragedy. That’s new, and very potent. It comes with no baggage. It also reinforces the frame that the Democrats are putting on him as a conman with renewed effectiveness (see later on). 9/11 is a now-sacrosanct moment of tragedy and unity in American history, and Donald Trump profiting off of it would be a devastating blow when coupled with the rest of the Democrats’ new offensive (again, see below).

Bill Clinton was the darling of the night. I had half-expected Bill Clinton to sabotage Hillary, as he has done throughout much of the year. I truly don’t think he’s enthusiastic about Hillary winning, all so he can return to the White House and be under endless scrutiny again. But maybe something changed in him. Maybe he thinks Donald Trump is simply too dangerous and he now has no choice but to lend all of his powers of persuasion to the campaign (admittedly, I’m starting to get his point).

Bill Clinton’s speech in its entirety actually looked to me like a clever, long-form deployment of a persuasion technique that the web copywriter Maria Veloso calls the Trifecta Neuro-Affective Principle. As its name implies, there are three elements to this technique:

  1. Resonance (which arouses the emotional side of the brain, employing an emotional trigger that makes people feel like they resonate and identify with your message)
  2. Redefinition (the sales pitch becomes more convincing when you redefine your prospects’ understanding of a concept in a way that causes them to it in a brand new way – yours)
  3. Resistance (resonance and redefinition facilitate mind change, but resistance blocks it, so it’s important to identify objections and overcome them)

Bill Clinton began by talking about everyday, humdrum, experiences with Hillary. This was an attempt to humanize her and get people to resonate by projecting their own experiences onto his stories. This is difficult for Hillary Clinton, because she’s been in the spotlight for so long (even Donald Trump has that advantage over her because he’s only been in politics for a year), but Bill nevertheless made the attempt.

His next act was to reframe Hillary as being a “change agent” that was “never satisfied with the status quo.” This was a rebuke to Mike Pence’s “secretary of the status quo” remark. He then hammered on the redefinition and resistance triggers by making the Hillary we think we know out to be a “cartoon.”

This was very effective.

You’ll recall that I said that the persuasion equation of 2016 has until recently gone like this:

Trump>Hillary>Hitler.

Thus, the Hillary Clinton camp has been doing its best to make Trump = Hitler. Until late last week, this strategy had essentially reached its point of diminishing returns as Trump tried to pivot in ways to ensure that Trump ≠ Hitler. As remarked, in this scenario, Hillary Clinton would have to prove that she is ≠ to Hillary Clinton, which is impossible.

The Democrats have now attempted to add a new element to the equation, making Trump = Putin or a pawn of him. This is a clever play, and fresh, unencumbered by the baggage that “literally Hitler” is.

So the updated equation goes like:

Trump>Hillary>Putin>Hitler.

Where Hillary probably beats Putin. Again, it depends on how scary Russia and Putin are with the American public. Everyone is scared of Hitler, but fewer people probably care about Russia or Putin. Still, I suspect the thought of a Kremlin Manchurian candidate is frightening enough to enough voters that Hillary wins that contest, crooked or not.

Yet, if Trump ≠ Putin, then what? You’re back to square one. Hillary Clinton would need to prove that she is ≠ to Hillary Clinton, which is impossible.

Given Trump’s extraordinary ability to warp reality with his persuasion skills, if you were of the Clinton faction, would you want to bet on just this one fallback alone, or would you want to diversify? I know what answer I’d choose!

You know the rules by now – there are none. So Bill Clinton added another element to the equation on night two. That element is arguably even more potent if it can stick.

What Bill is hoping to do with this reframe is the following:

Hillary>Trump>Cartoon Hillary>Putin>Hitler.

Now you’ve been dealt a comfortable hand. In this scenario, all Hillary needs to do is prove that she ≠ Cartoon Hillary. Aside from this being potent on its own, you give yourself many more ways to win, as Trump can also still be = to Putin and/or Hitler.

Whether this particular element succeeds or doesn’t is still anyone’s guess. I’m doubtful because of the force of inertia, Comey’s comments, the fact that Julian Assange says he’s got more stuff coming on Hillary Clinton, and the fact that the Clinton Foundation is still being investigated, now including, it was announced last week, by the IRS.

But that’s OK. It’s a smart play, a good card to keep. It’s also a sign that the Democrats were seriously A/B testing numerous plays to get them out of the box Hillary was in prior to the Democratic National Convention. In my opinion, they were successful.

Result (for Trump): Defeat

Democratic National Convention, Night 3

When the definitive history of the 2016 election is written, and if Hillary Clinton wins, I suspect that many historians will cite night three as the decisive moment which reframed the campaign entirely. Put simply, it was a disaster for Donald Trump, and if the Democrats continue with this frame, he’s in deep trouble.

The Democratic National Convention signified that Hillary Clinton was putting together a strong bench team. Thus far, Donald Trump’s power pitching has struck her out, and she was just going to need more and better bats to knock some pitches into the seats. Donald Trump is thus far up two games to one in this World Series (he didn’t have his best stuff in June). On the eve of game four, it was clear Hillary Clinton needed to bring up a bench team, and night three signified that she has.

Tim Kaine, as I expected, was an unexciting flop (his talents are probably best put to use elsewhere, to try to turn out Hispanic voters in Florida), but there were three big batters that all hit home runs for the Clinton team on night three. Those batters were Mike Bloomberg, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama.

The night began with Joe Biden, who delivered a rousing, authentic speech that began the Democrats’ strategic election reframe.

Joe Biden’s address was the most important of the three. His style and delivery were excellent. He exudes authenticity in ways that others don’t. Most importantly, he can reach Donald Trump’s core base of voters in ways that Hillary Clinton or anyone else on her bench team can’t.

The enduring theme of Joe Biden’s address was that Donald Trump was a massive danger to the country, didn’t give a damn about his voters, and moreover (the key part of the reframe), that defeating him was the patriotic thing to do. Donald Trump, said Joe Biden, “sows division in America and chaos around the world for his own gain, and we simply can’t let that happen as Americans.” Americans, when given the chance, he said, “never let their country down.”

That’s powerful stuff.

Mike Bloomberg isn’t a persuader in the sense of the term. He has no charisma. Yet, he possesses a particular antibody that could be toxic to Trump, namely, Trump’s personal brand. Bloomberg is a fellow billionaire businessman – and a far more successful one. In other words, he’s an authority figure in an area which Trump cites as a key plank in his campaign.

It’s not particularly effective for someone like “little Marco” to say Donald Trump is a “con man,” because people aren’t particularly trusting of career politicians now, but Bloomberg is a different sort of figure. When he says “I know a con when I see one,” it evokes a different set of feelings.

Bloomberg is already loathed among the right wing grassroots for his gun stances, but I’m not sure about independents. We’ll see how effective he is as a surrogate, but I’m sure he’s a welcome addition to the bench team for Hillary. He also built on the foundation that Joe Biden laid, calling Donald Trump a “dangerous demagogue,” which was language that will be key to the Democrats’ overall reframe.

Barack Obama proved once again just how good he can be, and laid out a hopeful, optimistic vision for America. He may have gone too far, because this is a deeply pessimistic year. What he was best at was solidifying the frame inversion that Joe Biden brought in his speech, namely that defeating Trump was the patriotic thing to do.

There were two quotes that stood out.

“Fascists, communists, jihadists or homegrown demagogues.”

That’s a lethal guilt by association trip, and better, it’s decidedly nonpartisan. It gives everyone something negative to associate Trump with. People on the right roll their eyes when they hear the word “fascist,” and people on the left roll their eyes when they hear the word “communist,” but everyone hates one of those, and everyone also hates jihadists. It’s telling, and very deliberate, that Obama finally acknowledged something related to Islam here. Perhaps he’s looking to give more conservatives a “fake because.” Perhaps he hopes that this “fake because” will give Republicans and conservatives a mental excuse to abandon Donald Trump and vote for Hillary Clinton (which could be a natural consequence of the overall patriotic reframe anyway).  Barack Obama also noted that Trump was “not particularly Republican or conservative,” a clear play to attract “Never Trump” conservatives and Republicans disaffected with their party’s nominee.

“He’s selling the American people short. We don’t look to be ruled.”

That’s in the American DNA itself. Americans are rebels by nature with a “can-do” attitude. Attacking Trump on the grounds that he’s attempting to rule us, to pretend to be the savior that we need, is extremely powerful. I must admit, I myself was moved, even though I knew what he was doing and I’ve generally been a critic of his.

Notice that with Biden, Bloomberg, and Obama, none of them went into “social justice” bullshit. They know that people are getting tired of the regressive left, outrage culture, and political correctness. One of the major reasons for Trump’s rise is because of this, and attempts to label Trump a demagogue have thus far been unsuccessful because a lot of people really don’t want to hear about how “racist” or “sexist” Trump is in a culture where peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are “racist” and air conditioning is “sexist.” Those labels just don’t have the power that they did four years ago. This was the key concept of Stumped’s 9th chapter.

But Trump being a “dangerous demagogue” on the grounds of his being a power-hungry strongman that pretends to be our better and the savior that we as Americans somehow “need?” That can work! What kind of a people does he think we are?!

The “Trump = Hitler” meme has gotten old and overplayed, but Hillary’s bench team took on a whole different path to their “project fear.” Namely, they couched the fear factor in patriotism! Suddenly they seized on an opportunity left in the wake of Trump’s “dark” speech, which failed to truly build a “team America.” I noted last week that it wasn’t the big strategic breakthrough that it could have been, but gave it passing marks. That’s done now. Hillary Clinton and her bench team have turned that speech into a catastrophic defeat by the power of their reframe.

Namely, the new theme from the Democrats is that Trump was a “dangerous demagogue” who posed an existential threat to the country.

Are you afraid yet?

Or do you believe in the spirit of America going back to its Founding Fathers? Are you ready to do the patriotic thing and defeat the dangerous demagogue who will do what George Washington warned us about and elevate himself to power on the ruin of public liberty?

You’ll note that that is typically a Republican theme, and the Democrats were wise to seize on it.

Night three made the strongest case against Trump in over a year, and it was extremely effective, in my opinion, at least. We’ll see how the polls change over the weekend and over the next few weeks.

Result (for Trump): Decisive Defeat

Democratic National Convention, Night 4

There was no real way Hillary Clinton would be able to top her surrogates in her acceptance speech, and she didn’t. One mistake of the convention was probably to not separate Joe Biden and Barack Obama from her own speech by enough nights. The contrast that it created was truly dim for her. Hillary Clinton did all the things she needed to do to prevent her acceptance speech from turning into a defeat, namely, hers wasn’t a speech of sunny optimism. It acknowledged the deep trouble that many Americans are in, took a stance that veered more toward national unity than identity politics, didn’t sneer at Donald Trump’s supporters, and even did a bit to try and impugn Donald Trump’s masculinity by calling him a “little man.” In this, she tried to actually make a counteroffer to Donald Trump instead of getting on a high horse of SJW outrage, and that is what she will need to do if she wants to win.

She did make overtones of identity politics, such as her being a woman (which means nothing anymore, this is what Scott Adams called “selling past the close”) and comments about “systemic racism,” which is again, going to be perceived as a slight and a guilt-trip to the white voters that Hillary Clinton needs.

Yet overall, the speech did what it needed to do for her. It was grating and boring, but it was kind of new. Kind of.

The big theme of the night wasn’t Hillary Clinton (which is terrible in itself), it was Khizr Khan. The father of a fallen Muslim-American soldier who died in Iraq, he went into a moralistic tirade against Donald Trump, blasting him for “not reading the Constitution.” This actually plays into the new frame the Democrats were taking at the convention, starting with Cory Booker and reaching its high point so passionately with Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

On the other hand, the optics of the “angry Muslim man” when so many terrorist attacks have occurred on Western soil in the past year are not good. Khan didn’t make it any better by tweeting this stuff out yesterday:

I’ll just let you figure out why this is bad.

Yet it doesn’t stop there.

Result (for Trump): Inconclusive

Trump Invites the Russians?

While the Democratic National Convention was going on, Donald Trump was campaigning. This was a smart play. Eschewing the self-limiting tradition of sitting out the week of your opponent’s convention, and thus ceding all media space, Donald Trump knew to keep the initiative in his hands. He held a press conference, at which the highlight was that he was “encouraging the Russians to hack into America’s national security secrets.” This came as a result of a sarcastic (unless you’re in the media) comment that the Russians should turn over Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 deleted emails if they have them.

Everyone was outraged, but this was a two-edged sword. It did have the effect of helping the confirmation bias that Donald Trump is in the tank for Vladimir Putin (thus confirming “Trump = Putin”), but it also put the Democrats in a bind. It gave Donald Trump publicity during the Democratic National Convention and also raised questions as to whether those emails were all about yoga lessons as Hillary Clinton claims. If they were, why worry about national security? If they weren’t, Hillary is the security risk, not Donald Trump. The results are uncertain.

Result (for Trump): Inconclusive

Donald Trump reddit AMA
In communication with Putin?

The Khan Controversy

The Khizr Khan controversy didn’t end with night four of the Democratic National Convention. When talking about Donald Trump, who Khan chided, “hasn’t sacrificed anything,” Donald Trump replied in an interview that “he’s made a lot of sacrifices.” When prodded, Donald Trump replied that “he’s worked hard and employed tens of thousands of people.” Maybe, but compared to losing a child in war, nothing he could have said would look good. Donald Trump is often a master of frame control, but he also suffers from a bad instinct where he feels he needs to answer every criticism. It backfired on him here, because he gave into Khan’s frame instead of imposing a new one, such as saying that he understood the cause for Khan’s sadness and anger, and that he would make sure that no American families would have to sacrifice their children in unnecessary wars like that in Iraq in the future.

Donald Trump also threw suspicion on Khan’s wife for not talking, seeming to imply it was because she’s Muslim. While the fact that Islam is a truly misogynistic ideology and religion would ordinarily have some value for Donald Trump, seen in this context, it only confirmed the “Trump = Hitler” equation and the “crazy racist” label. The controversy is still going on, as many Republicans, including Mike Pence, are distancing themselves from Donald Trump over this.

Scott Adams wrote a few weeks ago that Donald Trump just needed to avoid new controversies for a few months and he would glide to the White House, but this is a fresh one, and it’s a terrible one because it’s not your ordinary “social justice” outrage. Donald Trump also appeared to a lot of people that he was denigrating the sacrifice of a fallen American soldier, and that’s tolerable to no one. No ground was gained for this particular controversy, unlike his comments on illegal immigration or his “Muslim ban.”

Result (for Trump): Defeat

Debate Controversy

Donald Trump claims the NFL wrote to him about changing the debate schedule because the games interfere with the debates. That claim was a lie. Donald Trump trying to haggle about the debates doesn’t particularly gain him anything (at least that I can see), and now people think he’s afraid to debate, or possibly worse, that he wants to shut down any avenue of criticism. Not good if someone thinks you’re a Hitler in the making.

Result (for Trump): Defeat

Summing Up: The Board Has Shifted

In summing up, last week was a particularly bad one for Donald Trump. Not so long ago, I remarked that Donald Trump had Hillary Clinton boxed in and that she would need to find something new in order to win. Yet, this week demonstrated a few things.

Firstly, Hillary Clinton has now put together an A-list bench team. The peanut gallery consisting of the hapless Elizabeth Warren and outraged social justice warriors is gone now. Donald Trump remains the most skilled power player I’ve ever seen and Hillary Clinton remains terrible, but it’s now become clear that she has some extremely formidable backup:

  1. Joe Biden (a powerful and authentic speaker that can touch the voters Donald Trump needs to win)
  2. Mike Bloomberg (again, not a persuader, but possesses particular qualities that are very effective at undermining Trump, as seen by the response of The Donald to him in particular)
  3. Michelle Obama (good to increase turnout with women)
  4. Bill Clinton (it now appears that he doesn’t want to sabotage her)
  5. Barack Obama (to sell the Democratic reframe in ways she can’t and increase minority turnout)
  6. Mark Cuban (who joined yesterday and who knows persuasion and modern communications eminently – aside from him being a guy who can fully play the game laid out in chapter 7 of Stumped, Mark Cuban is also another billionaire businessman who can undermine Donald Trump’s personal brand from a place of authority)
  7. Cory Booker shouldn’t be underestimated either. He can also increase minority turnout.

Mark Cuban Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

Can Donald Trump solo them all? We’re about to find out. It almost seems like a force of nature butting up against the best-laid engineering works of man. Nature will always win in the end, but nature is unpredictable, and can often veer way off course. In this election, the only thing the engineers need to do is prevent nature from winning in the next three months, and nature doesn’t work in a time scale of months, typically, barring some kind of freak event.

And that brings me to the second thing that’s been made clear in the past week. The Democrats seem to be reframing their message. Gone (or at least taking a backseat) are the grievances, the pandering, the SJW outrage. The Democrats have now become the party of patriotism. In effect, they’ve become the Republican Party.

Up to this point, Donald Trump has been running on the theme of “America” while Hillary Clinton has been running on the theme of “diversity.” That’s a losing position. Yet, if the Democrats reframe the election as “real America” vs “the anti-Constitutional, dark, self-proclaimed strongman that’s perverting America’s founding traditions and values”, they are now in the superior position.

It’s also become clear now that Donald Trump needs to pivot in different ways – not just on issues, but on his personality and character. It’s easy to negotiate down from the position of a “Muslim ban” to banning immigration from terrorism-afflicted territories, but you probably can’t change your personality so easily in such a short time. If all of this was just an act, that act needs to stop now. This appears to have been an error of mine. I thought Donald Trump would calm down, and for a time it seemed that he had, at least as far as he could, but that’s out the window now. He’s not ever going to calm down. He’s always going to appear crazy and scary to a lot of people, regardless of where he pivots on issues. I also didn’t take into account that Donald Trump wouldn’t just be up against Hillary Clinton, but her reinforcements, not in the media that no one trusts, but powerful, authoritative figures like Bloomberg and Cuban.

Given all of this, it’s now Donald Trump that is boxed in on the political Go board. He trapped Hillary Clinton before, but when you look at the perspective of Donald Trump now being trapped between Hillary Clinton and her reinforcements coming from behind Trump’s lines and on his flanks, it’s now Trump that’s hemmed in. The controversy with the Khan’s this week and his convention speech last week where he failed to fully form a “team America” means that he hasn’t, actually, gone on his Hundred Days’ Offensive.

And so therefore I’m now changing my prediction. Something needs to change in order for Donald Trump to win. Maybe he’s saving his best stuff for later. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is, but “real America” vs “dark demagogue America” is a very effective counteroffer to Donald Trump, and I noted in chapter 8 of Stumped that if an effective counteroffer could be made, Donald Trump would collapse. The genesis of that appears to have now been done. If the Democrats run with it, they will win. The best strategy for Hillary Clinton going forward would be to let her bench team do the heavy lifting, while she does nothing more than necessary and learns a bit of frame control for the debates.

Maybe Julian Assange and Wikileaks turns the tide, but that would be a new introduction to the system, and the system as it currently is favors Hillary Clinton. Week 13 has been unlucky indeed for Donald Trump.

And yet, week 13 also confirms something I wrote in chapter 11 of Stumped:

What is likely above all however, is that the election of 2016 has been and will continue to be a referendum on globalism, and given the success of Trump and Sanders, the public has resoundingly rejected it. The realigning election of 2016 will be a retrenchment in some ways from axiomatic, all-encompassing globalism, even if not done in precisely the ways envisioned here. The world is not the same as it was in the fifth and sixth party systems, and each system must respond to the demands of the time. This is the referendum of a realigning election. (pg. 95)

If you’ve watched the Democrats’ counteroffer and Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech, they almost sounded like nationalists! Again, the Democrats are now wrapping themselves in patriotism! Their axiomatic globalism has been set aside (in their messaging, and therefore, their legitimacy, at least)! It shows that Hillary Clinton’s side has actually learned.

The voters have rejected globalism (at least in part), but people are still scared of Donald Trump. The Democrats now have to keep hitting home that he is the one that’s not only scary, but unpatriotic, at least in comparison to them. Let’s see if they keep this course up. If they do, and no external factor emerges in favor of Trump, Hillary Clinton will win.

They’ve learned from the Stumped guidebook. You should also.