Iowa-schmyowa. I wouldn’t count Donald Trump out just yet. (Or Bernie for that matter. Bernie closed a 50-point polling gap in half a year.) Trump is down one delegate to Cruz after the dust settled on the caucuses. Despite the media’s push to write yet another Trump obituary, he’s actually well-positioned to keep on winning. Keep in mind that I’m no Trump fan and I don’t have a dog in the 2016 race. This is the suckiest presidential election I’ve ever seen, for the record.
Now, Dilbert creator Scott Adams has been writing about the Trump campaign using the Master Persuader Filter (MPF) for a while. Lots of us have been reading his stuff, and it’s pretty compelling. But Adams ain’t a politico; this is a new game for him, and it shows.
Adams has written tens of thousands of words, without saying much at all. He wants you to believe that Trump is a genius marketer and that he can win an election for president using his marketing skills. Adams says Trump can entertain you, like a movie, right into the White House. He likes to say he saw it, and you will too, once he explains. But then he offers some pretty shaky observations most of the time.
Example: Look at this odd word!!! Have you EVER seen GAMBIT used to describe an election tactic before?
Answer: Fuck yes. See Obama 2008…Chess has about 500 possible gambits, bro. Politics has more. #IJS
But this is not a critique of Scott Adams’ political blogging skills, which clearly need to a little polish. It’s about Trump and exactly how he is using his marketing skills to refute every prediction the media throws at him.
The Solution: Fight the media, which had and has lower favorability ratings than Trump or Clinton. Trump’s numbers have improved significantly since June; Hillary’s and the media’s haven’t budged.
Trump walked into the contest with a poll showing only 16 percent of Republicans viewed him favorably while 65 percent viewed him unfavorably.
But when Trump touched off controversy, his favorability skyrocketed, and by mid-July that same ABC/Washington Post poll found that 57 percent of Republicans viewed him favorably.
Note that’s a jump from 16% to 57%, over 40 points, in just a month. It’s gone up since then, standing at 68% by late January 2016. Yes, his national numbers compete with Hillary Clinton’s national unfavorable, but he has a much greater party share than she does. He’s got the GOP sewn up; the converse is not true for Clinton. She needs independents much more than he does.
Trump only needs 5o.001% of voters, unless Bloomberg or another credible third party candidate jumps in. Then he’ll need less.
The Problem: FOX News is Unfair and Unbalanced.
The Solution: Pick a fight with one of the most fair and balanced (and aggressive) reporters there, then use the argument as a stand-your-ground moment that can double as a campaign event. Still get covered plenty by FOX News.
Do I need to even explain this? You are all familiar with the constant bitching by vile progs about FOX News. You are all well aware of the slap-fight Trump had with Megyn Kelly. And I dare say you all are already aware that he won that stand off when he refused to attend the debate. He drew 2.7 million viewers away from the debate, and had every single inch of other media covering him for 48 hours surrounding the debate. He even managed to make FOX sympathetic to the left for a minute, a chit he’s sure to call in later.
The Problem: The GOP is unpopular. The GOP can’t win elections. The GOP needs to win this race to stay viable and forestall Democratic dominance for a generation.
The Solution: The GOP doesn’t like Trump. The enemy of your enemy is your friend. This works with some factions of Republicans and Democrats alike with regard to Trump.
Remember that he had a pop cultural edge to start with due to his reality TV show and his brand. He’s already captured a chunk of low-information voters (including a lot of young people who don’t have political intelligence yet) and more will come his way as the nation begins to tune in. Hillary is never gonna get the hardest-core Bernie supporters because in their hearts, the love of Bernie is driven by a real aversion of Hillary. This is the “black seeds” theory of what’s driving millennial support down for her. These children aren’t growing up any time soon, and they aren’t supporting Hillary. Ever. You can count them out. Trump knows this and that’s why he keeps bringing up Bill Clinton’s dalliances.
The Problem: Populism is running rampant on both sides of the 2 party system, escalating the chances of pitchforks and wealth transfers.
The Solution: Run an insider of the 1%, preferably the loudest, richest guy you can find, to take the populist wind out of these threatening sails.
I think most of you are astute enough students of history to understand this dynamic, but for those who aren’t, let me just drop a name: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. You know what FDR did before he won election during the Great Depression? He worked for Wall Street. Afterwards he brokered a deal with the citizens of the United States. The deal was this: If you’ll back off the anger, I’ll have the government pay you some money when you get old. This is the same deal Wall Streeters always make. They always promise a lot, some day, if you give them their way now. The rich always find a way. Always.
So now it’s all eyes on New Hampshire. Let’s see what Trump can do there. This primary season ain’t over by a long shot, and while I don’t give two shits personally, I think Trump is in it to win it.