< Go Back

A Deeply Unscientific Test of Your Political Bias (Trump Persuasion Series)

A Deeply Unscientific Test of Your Political Bias (Trump Persuasion Series)

    The normal view of human beings is that we are mostly rational, but sometimes we get a bit emotional or crazy. My so-called Moist Robot Hypothesis on reality says the reverse, that we are irrational nearly all the time and that we rationalize our decisions after the fact. That view comes from my experience as a trained hypnotist.

    I know that most of you don’t completely buy into the Moist Robot Hypothesis, so I devised an unscientific test to rattle your confidence in your own rational processes.

    I went into my garage and spent approximately two minutes selecting tools that represent the main political candidates for U.S. president. See how quickly you can tell which tool represents which candidate. My hypothesis is that those of you following American politics will easily map the tools to the candidates. No real “thinking” required. The pattern matching (bias) will be immediate.

    But before you start, remember to observe your own mental processes as they happen, to see if the “thinking” happens before or after you decide which tool is which candidate. I’m betting you’ll decide first and think second. See if you feel it happening that way.

    From the image below, identify the tool that maps to: Rubio, Cruz, Trump, Carson, Clinton, Fiorina, Christie, Paul.


    My hypothesis predicts that you laughed when you saw the huge drill next to the other tools because you instantly knew it was the Trump tool. No thinking required. But I’ll bet you started feeling your rational mind kick-in to identify Cruz and Rubio. And that’s my point.

    Trump is operating on the reflex part of your brain, and intentionally. The other candidates are appealing to your reason. That’s the phenomenon I saw back in the summer, and why I predicted Trump will win in a landslide. He isn’t winning the game so much as playing an entirely different one.

    You know Trump’s babbling, repetitive, content-free, happy-talk? Every bit of it is engineered persuasion. While the other candidates talk statistics and reason, Trump speaks to your emotions. He knows people will pick the strong, decisive, optimistic leader over the candidate that agrees with their own views. We are wired that way. Reagan didn’t win over so many Democrats because his arguments were strong. He won them by emotion. After the fact, people assumed his policies must have been brilliant too. (Cognitive Dissonance.)

    Yesterday there was a story making the rounds that said Trump’s polling numbers might underestimate the strength of his support. The observation they make is that folks support Trump in greater numbers when no one is watching them do it. When a pollster calls on the phone, people are less likely to say they support Trump, out of social embarrassment, the researchers suppose. Trump does better with anonymous online polls. The Moist Robot Hypothesis takes this idea one level deeper and says Trump has sent a big portion of the country into cognitive dissonance of the type we have not seen since Reagan. By that hypothesis, people are holding two competing thoughts:

    1. I can’t be a Trump supporter! Noooooooo!!!! I can’t be that person!

    2. He keeps saying things I secretly agree with.

    When folks go into the polling booth in November, and no one is watching, they are likely to be choosing from a candidate who promises to keep their freedoms and dignity intact versus a candidate who is (in their irrational minds) more likely to kill their enemies and keep U.S. citizens alive.

    Predicted result: Trump Landslide

    I will add to my predictions under the Master Persuader filter and say the polling on the final day of the campaign will do a terrible job of predicting the result. It might get the direction right by then, but not the margin of the win.

    I wrote a book that is a thoughtful gift for someone who is trying to figure out how life works. Reviewers seem to like it.

More Episodes