Trump Being Trump: General Election Style (Week 19)

Week 19 was Hillary Clinton’s sabbati horriblis. This was not so much because of anything Donald Trump did (he didn’t have such a wonderful week either), but rather because Hillary Clinton, being her usual incompetent self, just seemed to come apart at the seams (aided in no small part by her own side). If her campaign continues to unravel into a loss, I think we’ll be able to look back at week 19 and point to it as the decisive moment when it all began to fall to pieces.

Obama Snubbed

The week began with President Obama getting snubbed by foreign leaders. President Duterte of the Phillippines called him the “son of a whore.” Meanwhile, in China, he was treated to a less than dignified entrance, from the back of Air Force One.

All of this, of course, simply triggers confirmation bias that “our country isn’t respected anymore” and “their leaders are too smart and sharp for our leaders.” This was probably intended by Donald Trump, even if it makes no real sense.

Result (for Trump): Victory

Crooked Donald

This week highlighted what seemed to be at least the appearance of corruption when former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was investigating Trump University, seemingly decided to cease the inquiry upon receiving what looked to be a gift from the Trump Foundation. This type of corruption won’t compare to Hillary Clinton’s because she’s built up a strong reputation for it and her corruption came while occupying the country’s senior cabinet position, but it certainly wasn’t positive news.

Result (for Trump): Defeat

Hackin’ Hillary

The week began with Hillary Clinton coughing up a storm in Ohio. This first came at a rally, when she coughed up some mysterious green substance.

This coughing fit continued at her first press conference in the better part of a year.

So now in addition to looking socially awkward as hell, the primacy effect associated with her first press conference in so long will also be paired with her coughing fits, in which she also said she couldn’t remember things, only adding further to her image as a sick criminal with dementia.

Result (for Trump): Decisive Victory

Those Lazy Americans

To add to much-worse insults last week, Barack Obama used the word “lazy” when describing his own people.

Everyone knows what he was trying to say here, and by itself it wouldn’t amount to much, but when coupled with other things that happened this week, it only adds to the perception of an out of touch elite condescending to its own people.

Result (for Trump): Victory

Foreign Policy Speech

Last Wednesday, Donald Trump gave another foreign policy speech on ISIS and other topics. He sounded measured, informed, and steady. He also debuted a new linguistic kill shot, one he would use later that day at the Commander-in-Chief Forum, where he called Hillary Clinton “trigger happy.”

It’s a good one, for the following reasons:

  1. The mental imagery is good. You think of Hillary Clinton giving her phony smiles behind a gun and firing wildly.
  2. It highlights her history of never seeing a war she didn’t like.
  3. It highlights her irresponsible conduct in general.
  4. It’s broad enough so as to invite confirmation bias. She’ll inevitably do or say something that makes her seem “trigger happy.”
  5. It suddenly makes Donald Trump seem like the sensible one instead of the lunatic.

It has potential if he decides to keep using it. He was obviously A/B testing it last week.

Result (for Trump): Victory

The Commander-in-Chief Forum

Last week was a milestone of sorts in that both candidates appeared in the same place on the same night, though not at the same time. This was NBC’s “Commander-in-Chief Forum.” Neither candidate did a particularly good job. Not understanding the concept of frame, Hillary Clinton simply spent a third or more of her time adamantly defending herself and denying bad things about her, which just made her look like she’s guilty and hiding something. Not understanding frame means that how people perceive you will be determined by someone else. Hillary still does not get this after all these years. If you don’t want to be like her, you should read Stumped’s chapter on frame.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump does understand the concept of frame. This was seen most notably when he was asked “do you know more about ISIS than the generals do?” That’s a terrible thing to answer directly because if you say “yes” you look crazy, and if you say “no,” you look weak. Instead Donald Trump did the smart thing from a persuasion standpoint and attempted to put in a new frame.

But….none of Donald Trump’s reframing really connected. He just rambled on and on and looked like he wasn’t informed, which just makes him look scary. And scary is what he needs to run away from.

I was going to write this off as a defeat, but Donald Trump got lucky in that Hillary Clinton also performed terribly and this forum was vastly overshadowed by events that happened later in the week, so it has already been forgotten. He’s doubly lucky in that the whole “sexual assaults in the military” topic that came up (wherein he said the entirely sensible but currently heretical line of “what did you expect?”) was also quickly swept under the rug. Regardless, this should be a big wake up call to prepare for the debates. While he demonstrated his crucial ability to control the frame, he needs to take his reframes into things where it seems like he’s not under-informed.

Result (for Trump): Neutral

Obama vs. Putin

Last week, Mike Pence said that Vladimir Putin was a stronger leader for Russia than Barack Obama was for America. Hillary Clinton later said that this was “scary.”

While Donald Trump was A/B testing “trigger happy,” Hillary’s handlers seemed to have been testing “scary.”

“Scary” is great, arguably even better than “trigger happy,” because…

  1. It describes exactly what so many people are thinking about Donald Trump.
  2. There’s no way to make “scary” something good. In other words, framing tactics like agree and amplify are off the table.
  3. It’s perfectly broad to invite confirmation bias. Tell me how many times Donald Trump has done and will do something that seems “scary.” You’d lose count very quickly.

Let’s see if she continues to use it.

Result (for Trump): Defeat

The Birthers!

The media was determined to keep bringing up the “birther” issue last week, even in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s infamous remarks. Last week, Rudy Giluiani, a top surrogate for Donald Trump, gave in to Chris Matthews’ frame about “birtherism.”

This won’t do much by itself, but it was a frame he should have tried to shake off.

Result (for Trump): Defeat

Matt Lauer, Supervillian

In showing just how rapidly SJW’s eat their own (par for the course for Year Zero revolutionaries), Matt Lauer was attacked viciously by his own side for how he handled the Commander-in-Chief forum. He was attacked by Trump’s side too, which shows me that he did a decent enough job and confirmation bias is in action big time. Nevertheless, he was taken far more to task by his own side. Hillary Clinton’s campaign sent out several emails attacking him. In one of them, they admitted her emails were a scandal (no doubt without knowing it).

Matt Lauer Commander-in-Chief Forum Hillary's emails

“A minor email scandal.”

“Mrs. Clinton’s wrongs.”

Idiots.

Result (for Trump): Victory

Those Damn Coal People

Is Bill Clinton back to sabotaging his wife’s campaign? This looked like it.

So first Americans are lazy, and second they’re poor boobs in coal mines.

Way to go, Bench Team Hillary. I might have vastly underestimated your abilities when I wrote about you after week 13.

Just more confirmation bias to the head-movie of an out of touch and arrogant elite that Donald Trump seeks to destroy.

Result (for Trump): Victory

Trump on Russia Today

So some controversy happened this week because Donald Trump appeared on Russian state television.

This sent the usual windbags into a frenzy. It won’t stick because Larry King is a friend of Donald Trump’s and he probably didn’t even know that it was Russian state television. Also, most Americans just don’t really care about Russia, much to the chagrin of the neocons in Washington.

Result (for Trump): Neutral

Hillary The Shooter

Donald Trump said last week that Hillary Clinton could “shoot someone and get away with it.” As Scott Adams remarked, this makes his infamous remarks about shooting someone on 5th avenue look like a figure of speech. I also recognized immediately that it added more to both the “crooked Hillary” and “trigger happy” linguistic kill shots.

Result (for Trump): Victory

Les Deplorables

Under ordinary circumstances, this episode would have been by far the most infamous and damaging of the week, but week 19 was no ordinary week. At a fundraiser, Hillary Clinton called half of Trump’s voters “a basket of deplorables” and then used the usual buzzwords. So to her, around 20% of the electorate are all terrible people and “not America,” even though they pay taxes and many of them probably serve in the military, but that still doesn’t make them redeemable.

Meanwhile, the other half? Well, they’re just poor boobs desperate for change and probably have kids that are drug addicts.

Donald Trump came out strong.

When you are President, you are president of all the people. You are not president of 50 percent or 75 percent: you are president of all the people. You are president of everybody and somehow it has to get out there that it’s not a certain group of people that’s going to be left behind.

Now suddenly Donald Trump looks like the unifier and Hillary Clinton the divider.

The response was that Donald Trump has insulted whole groups of people before – but as Scott Adams remarked a while ago, he’s been fairly consistent on his being a champion of American citizens. When he said “Mexicans are rapists,” he was talking about people coming across the border (admittedly it can often not sound that way, limiting its effectiveness here). When he was talking about prohibiting Muslim immigration, he was talking about immigration, not American citizens. He never insulted American citizens directly, or Hillary Clinton’s voters for supporting her.

Hillary Clinton directly insulted American citizens – supporters of her opponent. Many were quick to pounce and say that this was her 47% moment, including Donald Trump himself, even calling her a bigot in the process, this time far more believably. Scott Adams thinks this won’t move the needle much because that’s what many people were thinking and the word “basket” just makes it sound cute-ish.

But in a race this close, even a 1% move (as he remarked) could have a disproportionate impact. Furthermore, Hillary Clinton now just gave people who were wavering to come over to Trump’s side a “fake because” (as he says) in order to do so. Given the enthusiasm gap between the two, where supporters of The Donald are far more engaged, and given that this race is likely going to be decided based on turnout, these remarks could prove to have a hugely disproportionate effect. So I think Scott is wrong here.

Make no mistake, Hillary Clinton made her true thoughts known here, and they confirm her Year Zero dedication. It is a hallmark of Year Zero doctrine that opponents are criminals based not on what they do, but who they are or how they think, and that those people are irredeemable, making them not even people in the eyes of the revolutionary.

And to further demonstrate her incompetence, she did this publicly! Even Mitt Romney had the common sense to keep his “47%” remarks private. Hillary was making this speech at private fundraisers, but was too robotic to distinguish between the two and took it public.

Idiot.

And of course, there was one other thing that shouldn’t be underestimated about these comments. They simply added more confirmation bias to Donald Trump being a symbol of rebellion against a corrupt and arrogant establishment. Being a rebel is also cool and edgy, especially now. Would you rather be an acolyte for a crusty old establishment or be a rebel for something new?

“Deplorable” quickly became a badge of honor, just as being among the 47% was in 2012.

Les Deplorables Trump Make America Great Again MAGA

Result (for Trump): Decisive Victory

Clinton Collapse

Rounding the week out was the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Both candidates were at the World Trade Center site for the memorial.

Except, word spread that Hillary Clinton had to leave early. We were told that she fainted.

Her campaign first said that she got “overheated.”

But yesterday was a gorgeous day, at around 82 degrees with little humidity. Humorously, the weather only a day before would have added more credence to the “overheating” excuse.

And then…this showed up.

Look closely and you’ll see a metal object falling from her pants.

Hillary Clinton said earlier this week that she was suffering from allergies. But…I suffer from allergies at just this time of the year. I felt great yesterday, and can confirm that the pollen count in New York City was low.

In short, this was likely not heat or allergy-related. And what’s the deal with that weird metal object?

Later, Hillary Clinton said she was suffering from pneumonia.

Hillary allergies pneumonia 9/11 collapse

Regardless of what it actually is, Hillary Clinton’s health has now exploded into something that’s too big to ignore. Even her mainstream media cheerleaders admitted it, after vehemently denying it only days before. Her health is now no longer something that can be dismissed as a “conspiracy theory.” That video is too clear to too many. The confirmation bias bomb is now reaching nuclear grade levels.

There was furthermore another dimension. This would have been horrible enough on its own, but this occurred on 9/11, and Scott Adams said it best:

If humans were rational creatures, the time and place of Clinton’s “overheating” wouldn’t matter at all. But when it comes to American psychology, there is no more powerful symbol of terrorism and fear than 9-11 . When a would-be Commander-in-Chief withers – literally – in front of our most emotional reminder of an attack on the homeland, we feel unsafe. And safety is our first priority.

Hillary Clinton just became unelectable.

In short, Hillary Clinton failed the Thutmose Test of leadership, visibly and spectacularly:

There were three roads he could take to reach the city – a northern, a southern, and a narrow path through the nearby cliffs called the Aruna Pass, which was extremely dangerous. It was an ideal place to stage an ambush. If Thutmose’s enemies caught him there, his army would have no room to maneuver and would be slaughtered. Yet, the pass was also the most convenient road, as it led straight to the city.

Despite the danger, Thutmose decided to move through the pass, banking on the assumption that his opponents would never suspect him to conduct such an audacious move. In this, he was right (this same phenomenon has also been true of the Trump campaign). However, that is not where the test gets its power.

Instead, it gets its power from the fact that the king decided to lead his men through the pass personally, taking their risk of an ambush and making it his own. Further, Thutmose gladly doubled his own risk by being front and center. He led the way, we are told by his scribe Tajenni, by his own footsteps. His bold gambit was successful. Stunning his foes, Thutmose went on to lead his men to a decisive victory.

In contrast to this, think of the leader that would wait for his men to march through the pass and get the all-clear before moving through it himself.

The former is a leader who will be seen as having demonstrated that he cares about his people and consequently will win their hearts and minds. The connection will instantly create charisma (see chapter 4). The latter, on the other hand, will be seen as a coward that uses his people as a means to an end.

If we had to describe good, inspiring leadership that raises morale, builds social bonds and trust (see chapter 5), and causes human beings to act on that leader’s behalf, what Thutmose III did at Megiddo is a great example. When people see their king, decked out in royal regalia, marching and fighting with them, and taking double the risk, they’ll instantly be drawn to him. That toughness and willingness to take on such risk inspires them to victory and to follow him into hell. Often it’s been that the leaders who follow this style are the ones who win. That’s because people instinctively seek out this kind of decisive, bold, and strong leadership. It’s ingrained in our tribal nature. People respect strength and despise weakness, even if they aren’t consciously aware of it.

Last week, Hillary Clinton demonstrated not only the suspicion that she would fail the Thutmose Test because of her personality, but we all saw that she was physically incapable of passing the test, and at the moment when our national psyche demands that kind of leadership the most.

“Unelectable” is probably going a bit too far at this point, since there’s still two months to go and a lot more is in store, particularly the debates. However, if Hillary Clinton has one more major health incident, or a steady stream of lesser incidents like coughing fits (likely), it really is all over.

Donald Trump, after building this up for over a year with his “stamina” linguistic kill shot, wisely laid low, only putting out a press release about 9/11 yesterday and today wishing her well and hoping she gets better. He knows that if he’s too quick to pounce on this himself, he’ll just look like he’s attacking someone weak, even if it is Hillary Clinton.

Fortunately for him, he has his Les Deplorables surrogates to do that attacking for him, and attack they did.

Hillary Clinton blue anti-seizure sunglasses

Result: Decisive Victory

After week 18, I said that Donald Trump retook the persuasion lead. After week 19, Hillary Clinton’s sabbati horriblis, he is now once again strategically dominant. The lunatic now looks less and less like a lunatic and more and more like a well-intentioned blowhard while the crook looks like she’s about to keel over and die while lashing out at the American people in her death throes. That’s the equation for a Trump victory. Something will have to shift the equation again for Hillary Clinton to win.

If you want to learn more about the Thutmose Test and other elements that will make you a good leader, you’re going to read Stumped so you don’t fall flat on our face.