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Calling the Clinton Top (Trump Persuasion Series) - Scott Adams' Blog

Calling the Clinton Top (Trump Persuasion Series)

Today Trump said that Hillary Clinton “Killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity.” He was talking about the Middle East and Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.

According to the Master Persuader filter, that statement will set off a week of media yapping about how many thousands of people Clinton “killed” with her policy contributions as Secretary of State. As always, Trump sets a high anchor of “hundreds of thousands” and makes everyone think some form of “Can’t be more than 50,000, tops.”

As a bonus, the country and the media will also discuss Trump’s claim she was the worst Secretary of State of all time. That gets you thinking past the sale. The “sale” is convincing you that Clinton did a bad job. If you start wondering whether she was the worst, you have already accepted the premise that she is in contention for the title. 

The secret sauce with Trump’s kill shots is that they are never random. This latest one, like the ones that came before, has enough maybe-truth to it (in your mind, if not in reality) that it will stick like sap. Clinton won’t be wiping this one off with a damp rag. It’s part of her now.

Continuing my practice of using the Master Persuader filter to make predictions (as opposed to interpreting the past) I’m going to predict that Clinton’s poll numbers compared to Trump just hit a top. From here it starts drifting down.

Regular readers know that I correctly predicted Fiorina’s top after she paired herself in people’s minds with a dead baby. That was the worst debate mistake of the past century, at least according to the Master Persuader filter where reason is not involved and associations rule.

You might also know I called Ben Carson’s top after Trump’s speech about his belt-buckle-stabbing ways. 

Now ask yourself who predicted both of those tops.

I remind newer readers that this is just for entertainment. I don’t endorse Trump or any other candidate. They all look qualified to me. The Master Persuader filter is not meant to replace your view of reality. All I ask is that you compare it to your current model of reality and see which one does the best job of predicting.

Clarification: the Master Persuader filter is not competing with the idea that Trump is topping the Republican polls because of his immigration policies, or his outsider status, or his willingness to say what people are thinking. Rather, the Master Persuader filter says people believe they like Trump for one of the reasons I mentioned, but the real reason is that he is using commercial-grade persuasion. The “reasons” people give are rationalizations of irrational decisions. That’s why you see so many reasons offered. The sheer quantity of rationalizations for why Trump is beating expectations is a tell for persuasion. That’s what I learned in hypnosis class years ago.

To put it in simpler language, the Master Persuader filter says Trump would be equally popular no matter which issues he chose to champion, so long as those issues also lent themselves to fantastic statements that could draw all attention to him. He needed topics with natural juice, but he could have picked any other touchy topic and gotten the same good results using the tools at his disposal. 

Bonus Thought: I was watching an American Muslim on TV describe his objection to Trump. The gentleman referred to Trump as “President Trump” before the moderator corrected him. Watch how often people slip and call Trump the president, only to quickly correct themselves. That’s a tell for persuasion.

Also watch how often the media buys into Trump’s “strong versus weak” frame that always helps him. Even the media that is gunning for him is starting to frame the contest that way. That’s another sign of persuasion.

Bonus Thought 2: Every week that passes without a champion coming forward to offer an alternative to Trump’s temporary Muslim immigration ban is a week that Trump’s support rises. Trump’s opponents will call him names. They will say his plan is terrible. But they will stop short of explaining in detail an alternate plan. But not because such a plan doesn’t exist to be explained. Some form of whatever we are planning to do now is the plan. But I’ll bet you only hear vague support for treating people fairly, as opposed to detailed support for an alternative plan with strong screening.

No one can own the alternative plan because someone might slip through. And if that happens, whoever is the name attached to that non-Trump plan owns it. No sane politician wants a 5% chance of owning a terror attack.

Trump set a perfect trap. 

But that’s just one interpretation. To be fair, I can’t rule out the Lucky Hitler explanation for Trump’s success. A lot of smart people are adamant about that one. Maybe.

Bonus Thought 3: One of the weird side-effects of my blogging style (because I write to persuade in the service of entertainment) is that people find a wide variety of reasons to dislike me. 90% of the reasons are valid, but I’m pretty sure that last 10% has some tells.

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