This week was relatively quiet until a very loud, very disorienting, and very deadly bang at the end that left the nation stunned in its wake.
Hillary Clinches, Sanders Stays In
The key question I asked last week was whether Bernie Sanders would stay in the race or whether he would drop out and endorse Hillary Clinton. Despite a meeting with President Obama, he chose to stay in, at least until Washington D.C.’s primary tomorrow. Whatever his goals are, he’s still preventing a coalescing of the Democratic Party, and many of his supporters hate Hillary passionately. The longer he stays in, the more time Trump has to organize, and the more time the recency effect has to create bad memories among Sanders supporters.
The Woman’s Card Continues
I called the end of the “war on women” as an effective tactic the very moment Donald Trump unveiled the “woman’s card” linguistic kill shot on April 26th. To make matters worse for Hillary Clinton, her own internal polling indicated that her running on being a woman and its “historic nature” was a negative for her campaign. Wisely, she chose to ditch that angle for the last few weeks, culminating in her excellent persuasive tactic of attempting to create as much fear of Donald Trump on the international stage as possible, coining the excellent “thin-skinned” linguistic kill shot.
Yet, she abandoned all of that last week. Instead of repeating the term “thin-skinned” as much as possible for maximum impact, and instead of continuously creating fear, she talked about the glass ceiling again, placed a smug-looking photo of her for her new avatar on twitter with the caption “history made,” and had her surrogates talk about sexism and bias against her, which is guaranteed to alienate all non-SJW’s.
The Twitter Exchange
The first truly direct sparring of the general election came this week. Demonstrating that she hasn’t read The Art of War, Hillary Clinton chose to engage Donald Trump on a battlefield that he is supremely dominant in: twitter. The result, as you might expect, was a bloodbath.
The initial attack:
Delete your account. https://t.co/Oa92sncRQY
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 9, 2016
The media went hog wild over it, talking about how witty and inspiring it was. In truth, it was a joke, and Milo Yiannopoulos showed it in a few words.
In case you’re wondering why the media is held in such low regard by voters pic.twitter.com/09VXKKq9CL
— Milo Yiannopoulos ✘ (@Nero) June 9, 2016
Donald Trump was quick to respond. Demonstrating masterful frame control as usual, Trump counterattacked:
How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up–and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted? https://t.co/gECLNtQizQ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2016
There are two parts to this counterattack. The “823” number, whether it’s true or not, sets an anchor on the readers mind, associating Hillary Clinton with having a very large staff, which he is framing as cumbersome and artificial, in turn reinforcing her reputation of being carefully scripted, controlled, and inauthentic.
The second part of the attack, centering on the 33,000 emails, reinforces the “Crooked Hillary” linguistic kill shot and the ongoing email scandal, obviously. Even Reince Preibus, the timid RNC chairman, got in on the act, remarking that Hillary knew all about the delete key.
So at the end of the day, Hillary Clinton tried and failed to be witty. Even though she personally didn’t write the tweet, as seen by the lack of an “- H,” she still appeared to write it. In response, Donald Trump smoked her hard where it mattered, attacking her personal brand.
The Pulse Shooting
Yesterday, America experienced the worst mass shooting in its history and the worst terrorist attack on its soil since 9/11.
In Stumped, I predicted that a terrorist attack on American or European soil would shift the board in a major way for Trump. Since writing that passage, there’s now been two.
The fact that the Pulse shooting occurred at a gay nightclub made the situation particularly tricky for the left. Since the gay community and Muslims have both been placed on the victim hierarchy, which would prevail?
The media, as we would expect, was quick to cover up the role that Islam had to play in the affair, despite its virulently homophobic teachings at the highest levels. Reddit mods were caught censoring any talk on the role that Islam and Islamic culture might have played in creating this kind of radical, leaving r/The Donald as the only source on it and angering many liberals and Sanders supporters. Facebook censored any trend relating to Islam for hours.
Donald Trump was quick to release a statement. The end was particularly poignant in terms of his messaging and frame.
We need to protect all Americans, of all backgrounds and all beliefs, from Radical Islamic Terrorism – which has no place in an open and tolerant society. Radical Islam advocates hate for women, gays, Jews, Christians and all Americans. I am going to be a President for all Americans, and I am going to protect and defend all Americans. We are going to make America safe again and great again for everyone.
– Donald J. Trump
This, I assume, will be the bedrock of his speech today, which he changed from the Clintons to the more timely issue of terrorism and security. In terms of persuasion, it’s gold.
I’ve been predicting for a while that as Hillary Clinton clinched the nomination and moved toward the Democratic National Convention with a coalescing of the party, she would steadily create more of a gap on Donald Trump in the polls until the conventions were over. That’s out the window now.
Hillary Clinton used the words “radical Islam” today, but as Trump has already dominated all the space on the issue of terrorism and presents a strong frame, it’s too late for her. Policy-wise, she might be right. Persuasion-wise, she’s wrong.
Then, there was this absolute disaster:
Woke up to hear the devastating news from FL. As we wait for more information, my thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 12, 2016
While Donald Trump was tweeting hours before, Hillary Clinton (and this time it really is her, or was approved directly by her) remarks that she was sleeping while this was unfolding. What does that remind you of?
Another instance of her not being around to take her famous “3 A.M. phone call.” In other words, she destroyed her own personal brand.
As of now, it seems that the surge in her campaign’s persuasive ability during week 5 was an outlier.
Though I’m obviously reluctant to use the word “victory” in association with an attack of this nature, it was a big game-changer in favor of Trump.
Read Stumped if you want to learn about spatial domination and frame control.
I’m usually not good with somber moments, and I don’t want to sound inauthentic. The best I can say right now is that I hope the victims and their families are doing OK and wish them the best. I also hope that the LGBT community confronts the uncomfortable issues and the threats that Islam poses for it. Milo Yiannopoulos and Dave Rubin are doing wonderful work in forcing that conversation.