If you watched the second debate, you saw Carly Fiorina’s great retort about Trump’s insulting “look at that face” comment. Fiorina said, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”
It was brilliantly open-ended (wizard-style!). The viewer filled in the blanks with whatever is the worst interpretation possible. That would have been a kill shot for any normal candidate, but Trump’s persona provides some armor.
In other news, Hillary Clinton recently tweeted that Trump should “cut it out.” She was referring to Trump’s decision to not correct a voter who thinks Obama is a dangerous Muslim.
On paper, this looks like a bad week for Trump. But let’s dig a little deeper, to the Master Wizard dimension, where persuasion is based on emotion, not reason. Here things become less clear. And that takes some explaining.
The following thinking is stolen from slatestarcodex.com, a blog you should be reading. I am too lazy to find the direct link. My version is a bastard version, so don’t blame anyone else if this doesn’t make sense.
What do these Trump gaffes have in common:
1. Trump referred to blood coming out of Megyn Kelly’s vagina.
2. Trump insulted the attractiveness of Fiorina’s face.
If you are man, you already know the answer: Neither thing happened in reality.
The blood comment was obviously just Trump trying to correct his first statement that “blood was coming out of her eyes.” Since blood does not come out of eyes, but it sounds somewhat like a famous saying, Trump was thinking aloud about where else blood might be spurting from in order to create a visual analogy for anger. I doubt “vagina” was on Trump’s short list.
And when Trump said about Fiorina, “Look at that face,” it seems obvious to me that he was speaking about Fiorina’s stern look, not her sex appeal. And I think that is obvious simply because Fiorina is attractive. I don’t think Trump lied when he complimented her physical appearance at the debate.
The Slatestarcodex.com point I am stealing is that the stories most likely to make headlines are THE ONES LEAST LIKELY TO BE TRUE. There is a common-sense reason that will make you laugh when you hear it. Here it is.
True stuff isn’t interesting because it all makes sense.
In order for a headline to be “news” (unless violence is involved) there has to be a head-scratching element to it. You have to wonder how-the-hell someone could act so inappropriately, sexist, racist, whatever. So when you see “news” about a person’s outrageous behavior revealing their terrible inner soul, the facts upon which it is based are unlikely to be true. News isn’t news until it doesn’t make sense.
Do you believe Trump was making a public joke about a reporter’s vagina bleeding while running for president? Hard to believe. But you tell yourself that Trump does insult people, and he is sort of sexist in a general way, so … maybe?
Do you believe Trump made a sexist comment to a Rolling Stone reporter who was literally writing down everything Trump said? Hard to believe. But you tell yourself that Trump is a loose cannon, so… maybe?
That’s what makes a story. You have to simultaneously doubt it happened while believing it happened. When people do predictable things, in character, it is not news. That’s why the news is often fake. Real stuff isn’t interesting.
But back to my point.
To my ears, both Fiorina and Clinton were treating Trump like a husband, not a candidate. Men, has a women ever been mad at you and refused to give you details about what made her mad? That was Fiorina telling the world that women know what the problem is with Trump, and details are not needed.
And Clinton’s “cut it out” sounds more like a spouse rebuke than politics. That’s how it came across to me, on an emotional level. I bristled.
So here’s how I score Trump’s week on the Wizard scale. I think many men bonded with Trump this week. Men feel the pain of female anger that has an unspecified cause, in this case from Fiorina. We feel the “cut it out” from Clinton. And we don’t want to experience eight years of man-scolding and fake apologizing for nothing.
I predict you will see Trump’s numbers among men remain strong or improve.
Women are harder to predict. But I am going to reveal a secret to women that men already know: Many women really, really, dislike other women in power. Or at least that’s what women tell me privately. Everyone is different, but that’s what I hear most often. I will look to the comments to see if my experience is unique.
So I think Trump’s “woman problem” will worsen for women voters who care about sexist remarks from a clown. That might be 25-50% of women, based on my personal experience. The rest of women probably dislike Clinton and Fiorina for whatever set of reasons some women use to hate other women in power. So my second prediction is that the more Trump gets slapped down by powerful women, the more popular he will become. With women.
Now you have a prediction for comparing the Master Wizard Hypothesis to your standard way of viewing the world. The standard model says Trump’s “woman problem” will get worse because of recent events and probably more to come. The wizard filter says Trump’s popularity with women will stay far higher than the pundit class can explain.
I remind new readers that I have no idea who would be the best president. I am not that psychic. My obsession with Trump has to do with his persuasion skills.
Update: Using the filter you learned here (stolen from Slatestarcodex.com), how likely is it that a young boy named Ahmed got arrested for bringing a clock to school? Sounds sort of plausible, yet deeply unlikely at the same time, right?
That’s a tell for a fake story.
One wonders if the truth looks more like this hypothesis.
Hard to see the world the same way again, isn’t it?
In Top Tech Blog, now we have a material that heals when you shoot a bullet through it. As if robots needed another advantage in the coming war.
In other news, some people like my book.