As a trained persuader, I’m seeing a dangerous situation forming that I assume is invisible to most of you. The setup is that during the presidential campaign Trump’s critics accused him of being Hitler(ish) and they were sure other citizens would see it too, thus preventing this alleged monster from taking office.
They were wrong. The alleged monster took office.
Now you have literally millions of citizens in the United States who were either right about Trump being the next Hitler, and we will see that behavior emerge from him soon, or they are complete morons. That’s a trigger for cognitive dissonance. The science says these frightened folks will start interpreting all they see as Hitler behavior no matter how ridiculous it might seem to the objective observer. And sure enough, we are seeing that.
To be fair, Trump made it easy this week with his temporary immigration ban. If you assume Trump is Hitler, that fits with your hypothesis. But of course it also fits the hypothesis that he’s just doing his job. We’re all seeing what we expect to see.
But lately I get the feeling that Trump’s critics have evolved from expecting Trump to be Hitler to preferring it. Obviously they don’t prefer it in a conscious way. But the alternative to Trump becoming Hitler is that they have to live out the rest of their lives as confirmed morons. No one wants to be a confirmed moron. And certainly not after announcing their Trump opinions in public and demonstrating in the streets. It would be a total embarrassment for the anti-Trumpers to learn that Trump is just trying to do a good job for America. It’s a threat to their egos. A big one.
And this gets me to my point. When millions of Americans want the same thing, and they want it badly, the odds of it happening go way up. You can call it the power of positive thinking. It is also the principle behind affirmations. When humans focus on a desired future, events start to conspire to make it happen.
I’m not talking about any new-age magic. I’m talking about ordinary people doing ordinary things to turn Trump into an actual Hitler. For example, if protesters start getting violent, you could expect forceful reactions eventually. And that makes Trump look more like Hitler. I can think of dozens of ways the protesters could cause the thing they are trying to prevent. In other words, they can wish it into reality even though it is the very thing they are protesting.
In the 3rd dimension of persuasion, the protesters need to be proven right, and they will do whatever it takes to make that happen. So you might see the protesters inadvertently create the police state they fear.
If you are looking for the tells that this dangerous situation is developing, notice how excited/happy the Trump critics seem to be – while angry at the same time – that Trump’s immigration ban fits their belief system. If you see people who are simply afraid of Trump, they are probably harmless. But the people who are excited about any Hitler-analogy-behavior by Trump might be leading the country to a police state without knowing it.
So watch for that.
Co-founder of WhenHub