Scott Adams - creator of the infamous Dilbert cartoons - believes Donald Trump will win the presidency in a landslide. Trump's "meticulously plotted domination," as Adams explains to The Washington Post, stems from his running on our emotions and sly appeals to our own human irrationality. as the following six points make clear, Adams views Trump as "a master persuader" who will rhetorically dismantle Clinton’s candidacy next.
Having nothing to lose essentially then increases his chance of winning, because it opens up his field of rhetorical play. “Psychology is the only necessary skill for running for president,” writes Adams, adding: “Trump knows psychology.”
Within that context, here is what Candidate Trump is doing to win campaign hearts and minds, according to Scott Adams:
1. Trump knows people are basically irrational.
“If you see voters as rational you’ll be a terrible politician,” Adams writes on his blog. “People are not wired to be rational. Our brains simply evolved to keep us alive. Brains did not evolve to give us truth. Brains merely give us movies in our minds that keeps us sane and motivated. But none of it is rational or true, except maybe sometimes by coincidence.”
2. Knowing that people are irrational, Trump aims to appeal on an emotional level.
“The evidence is that Trump completely ignores reality and rational thinking in favor of emotional appeal,” Adams writes. “Sure, much of what Trump says makes sense to his supporters, but I assure you that is coincidence. Trump says whatever gets him the result he wants. He understands humans as 90-percent irrational and acts accordingly.”
Adams adds: “People vote based on emotion. Period.”
3. By running on emotion, facts don’t matter.
“While his opponents are losing sleep trying to memorize the names of foreign leaders – in case someone asks – Trump knows that is a waste of time … ,” Adams writes. “There are plenty of important facts Trump does not know. But the reason he doesn’t know those facts is – in part – because he knows facts don’t matter. They never have and they never will. So he ignores them.
“Right in front of you.”
And stating numbers that might not quite be facts nevertheless can anchor those numbers, and facts, in your mind.
4. If facts don’t matter, you can’t really be “wrong.”
Trump “doesn’t apologize or correct himself. If you are not trained in persuasion, Trump looks stupid, evil, and maybe crazy,” Adams writes. “If you understand persuasion, Trump is pitch-perfect most of the time. He ignores unnecessary rational thought and objective data and incessantly hammers on what matters (emotions).”
“Did Trump’s involvement in the birther thing confuse you?” Adams goes on to ask. “Were you wondering how Trump could believe Obama was not a citizen? The answer is that Trump never believed anything about Obama’s place of birth. The facts were irrelevant, so he ignored them while finding a place in the hearts of conservatives. For later.
“This is later. He plans ahead.”
5. With fewer facts in play, it’s easier to bend reality.
Steve Jobs famously aimed to create “reality distortion fields” to meet his needs and achieve his ends. Trump employs similar techniques, and apparently can be similarly thin-skinned when his “reality” is challenged. “The Master Persuader will warp reality until he gets what he wants,” writes Adams, noting that Trump is “halfway done” already.
(Among the persuasive techniques that Trump uses to help bend reality, Adams says, are repetition of phrases; “thinking past the sale” so the initial part of his premise is stated as a given; and knowing the appeal of the simplest answer, which relates to the concept of Occam’s razor.)
6. To bend reality, Trump is a master of identity politics — and identity is the strongest persuader.
“Do you think it is a coincidence that Trump called Megyn Kelly a bimbo and then she got a non-bimbo haircut that is … well, Trumpian?” Adams writes. “It doesn’t look like a coincidence to this trained persuader.”
One way to achieve this is by deploying “linguistic kill shots” that land true, and alter perception through two ways.
“The best Trump linguistic kill shots,” Adams writes,”have the following qualities: 1. Fresh word that is not generally used in politics; 2. Relates to the physicality of the subject (so you are always reminded).”
Writes Adams: “Identity is always the strongest level of persuasion. The only way to beat it is with dirty tricks or a stronger identity play. … [And] Trump is well on his way to owning the identities of American, Alpha Males, and Women Who Like Alpha Males. Clinton is well on her way to owning the identities of angry women, beta males, immigrants, and disenfranchised minorities.
“If this were poker, which hand looks stronger to you for a national election?”