I promised myself that I wasn’t going to write about Donald Trump today. Then I saw this video clip in which a bearded fellow claims to know Trump’s morning routine. According to the bearded guy, an assistant brings a stack of Trump-related newspaper clips to Trump every morning. Trump glances at them, but rarely reads them, somewhere at around 6 AM. The headline for the video clip touts that it “tells you everything you need to know about Donald Trump.”
Apparently the only thing you need to know is that he’s a narcissist who loves attention. That’s one of the main media narratives about Trump, so watch their cherry-picked anecdotes support that story.
I watched the video clip about Trump’s morning routine around 6 AM, right after I looked at my blog comments, Google Alerts, new book reviews, and Twitter, to see what people said about me since the last time I checked. That’s my morning routine too. In the old days, I used a clipping service. All of this is normal for people in the media.
Am I a narcissist like Trump? Totally. But that would be missing the larger context. When your job is brand management – something Trump and I have in common – you have to watch how your brand is doing. And if something bad happened recently, you need to jump on it. That’s the job.
You might also wonder why Trump needs physical newspaper clippings in the digital age. I can answer that question too. Based on my media experience, I think there is a 75% chance the story is stale. He probably uses digital sources, especially Twitter, these days.
And if we are being realistic, Trump’s morning habit probably comes from his assistant, not from Trump. Trump barely glances at them. Then he does fifty other things in the morning. So I don’t think this one stale anecdote about something that brand managers routinely do is all we need to know about the man.
But let’s talk about the frightened citizens who genuinely believe Donald Trump could be a disaster as president, with his narcissism, xenophobia, bullying, huge ego, and selfish capitalist greed. That’s a scary list. But today we will view this list with the Master Persuader filter. The Master Persuader Hypothesis says that a persuader of Trump’s caliber will (always) send a large chunk of the population into a form of temporary irrationality called cognitive dissonance. I have predicted that you will see more of it, and that you can identify it by the tells.
So today I will describe some of the fears I hear about a potential Trump presidency. I will try to be objective.
Fear 1: Trump is a bully with a big mouth and no diplomatic nuance. He might offend a world leader and trigger a war. In unrelated news, we continue to be puzzled at how Trump has been a terrible person for several decades and yet we hear only glowing reports from the people who know him best, including his family, business associates, and friends. Even his ex-wife, Ivana, is pro-Trump.
And Trump often reminds us that he was against the Iraq war. As a general rule, people who own tall buildings don’t like to start wars with people who blow up real estate for a living. If Trump is looking out for Trump assets, he isn’t going to be starting wars.
Fear 2: Trump is only in it for personal financial gain. Under this hypothesis, Trump will make decisions that help himself and his billionaire friends. Apparently he will be doing this while pursuing his plan to tax the rich at higher levels to keep social programs intact.
Fear 3: Trump’s motivations are narcissism and ego, so he is not in it for the right reasons. This is in stark contrast to the other candidates who are running for the highest office in the land while apparently believing they are unqualified.
Fear 4: Trump only cares about Trump. He will make decisions that favor his company and his ego above the interests of the people. Under this way of thinking, the most famous brand manager alive does not realize that doing a shitty job as president is bad for the Trump brand. No one needs to stay at a Trump hotel and no one needs to golf at a Trump golf course. Trump’s business is the same as the business of the United States. He only does well in business if he does great as president.
Fear 5: [Omitted by error.]
Fear 6: Trump is all hype. If he had invested his inherited fortune in an index fund and never worked a day in his life he would be worth more than he is now. But instead, Trump entered a variety of businesses, succeeded at many, learned from his mistakes, and employed tens of thousands of people while developing one of the most famous brands on earth. And now he will probably be president. Was that the wrong play?
Fear 7: Trump is a closet racist. We can tell by the way he talks about immigrants. For example, Trump wants more immigrants with technical skills to become citizens of the United States, and he wants fewer of the criminal types.
We also know Trump is a racist because of his proposal to ship eleven million illegal immigrants back home. Granted, Trump wrote a book describing how he always makes an aggressive first offer, every time, without exception, yet we are sure he didn’t mean it this time.
Here I remind you that I am not smart enough to know who would be a good president. Most of the candidates look qualified to me. My point today is to get a list going of the reasons people object to a Trump candidacy and see if those reasons survive light. If not, we have mass cognitive dissonance. If the reasons hold up, according to most of you, that means I’m the one with cognitive dissonance. I can never rule that out.
Judges, what do you think?
I wrote a book about the advantage of systems over goals. Trump is a systems thinker. It seems to be working.
Speaking of systems, Wally has a good one.