< Go Back

Trump Engineers a Clinton Linguistic Kill Shot

Trump Engineers a Clinton Linguistic Kill Shot

    An alert reader noticed that Trump is already beta-testing a linguistic kill shot for Hillary Clinton.


    As Yohami accurately notes, this kill shot is also a high ground maneuver. It takes you out of the weeds of the email server question (where reasonable folks can be confused and disagree) all the way to national security where we all have the same opinion that risk is unacceptable.

    Trump’s label will stick because he knows the public is not following the details of Clinton’s server security issue. They just have some general sense of distrust for all things Clinton. Trump put a label on that general distrust: “Major security risk.”

    And remember how I told you in a prior post that “risk” is the magic kill word that brought supply-side economics to its knees in the Clinton/Dole election cycle?

    “Security risk” is an engineered, linguistic kill shot. And it is the stake-in-the-heart that will cause Clinton to drop out early or limp to the starting line (nomination) mortally wounded. 

    A candidate can recover from a technical security mistake caused by the people she hired. But no presidential candidate can wash-off the label of being a “major security risk.”

    And how about the word “major” in that sentence. Yup, an anchor. Trump doesn’t need you to accept that the risk is major. But setting that anchor in your mind probably makes you think there is SOME security risk with Clinton that is unique. And even the smallest extra risk in this sort of situation means we all die.

    A key to making a linguistic kill shot stick is that you have to pick a fresh label that doesn’t come with any baggage. If you call someone a liberal, the other side loves it, and the word is a bit ragged and empty in 2015.

    But if you call Bush “low-energy” you have a fresh field. No one ever used that label for a candidate. It sticks because the label had no baggage to bring with it. Likewise, “major security risk” is a label no candidate ever had to fend off. It is fresh and sticky.

    And engineered.

    Still think Trump is winging it?


    In Top Tech Blog, I want one of those lasers that can knock drones out of the sky. My neighbor has a drone and I think it would be fun to have anti-aircraft defenses along my property line. Just in case.

    And when NASA starts 3D-printing rocket parts, you know it means your grandkids will be someday vacationing on another planet.


    Bonus Thought: This quote today from an article in BusinessInsider.com

    “According to the poll, 61% of Iowa Republicans now view him (Trump) either mostly or very favorably, compared with just 35% who see him in an unfavorable light. That’s almost directly contrasted with their views in a May poll by the same firm — then, Iowa Republicans viewed him unfavorably by a 63-27 margin.”

    Right on schedule. 

    I wrote a book that has all kinds of words in it, often in the form of complete sentences. People like it. 

More Episodes