Chalk up one prediction failure for me. I didn’t see how Trump could win, but he did. Over the past weeks, news commentators have been poring over how this happened. There are some points I feel could get more attention.
1. Economy: Trump found the issue closest to people’s hearts and at least pretended that he would do something about it. This has already been covered by someone much smarter than me who also writes better than I do.
2. Branding: Take a look at this old Trump steak advertisement. By the end, weren’t you curious how those steaks tasted? I was, and I’m a vegetarian.
Donald Trump has a natural talent for branding. During the Republican primaries he took down the favorite moderate candidate Jeb Bush with the simple tagline “low energy”. Again, during the Presidential campaign, he used Hillary Clinton’s secretive nature to coin the phrase “crooked Hillary”. This took talent. He saw his opponent’s behavior, found the most negative trait that could cause it and used that to tag them.
This was deadly because it provided a context frame for everything they did thereafter. Since the tag was based to fit the candidate’s own behavior, it was very unlikely they would break out if it. Even to try, they would have to do something unnatural.
Dilbert creator, Scott Adams pointed this out early. Although I do not share Adams’ optimism about the consequences a Trump presidency, his blog is an interesting read for those looking for a different narrative and some out of the box thinking.
Trump isn’t the first to use this tactic. Tony Blair demolished John Major with the simple adjective “weak”.
3. Media Insanity: Trump isn’t crazy, the media is. For all his bluster and babble, it is highly unlikely that he is going to launch nukes regardless of whatever he has said.
Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.
– Charles De Gaulle
So why don’t we all stop wasting time about what he said to get elected and just focus on the people he is choosing to surround himself with. Well because it is so much easier to fill up air time with outrageous commentary. Also, how interesting would a TV show be if the commentator said something like “Trump probably won’t be too different from a typical Republican President. So expect bad news on climate, increased military budgets and lower taxes.” Bad news, but not much there to get revved up about. My personal take is that nothing much will happen in the short term, but over decades, the cost will be enormous. Remember it took 2 decades of Democratic Clinton and Republican Bush to set up the 2008 crash.
So lets just wait and watch, shall we. Oh, for the record, Trump Steaks went bankrupt within 2 months in 2007.