Donald Trump Uncovered
I have been fascinated by Donald Trump ever since he appeared on the world stage of politics. I have been studying him by reading his biographies and reading reviews of his books on Amazon.I also read Tony Schwartz’s article in the New Yorker as to how he served as Trump’s ghost writer for the Art of the Deal. After much observation, research, and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that Trump is a master manipulator. Here is a list of rhetorical devices that Trump has cited and that he uses for tools of manipulation. These are his words, not mine.
- Truthful Hyperbole
- Think big
- Divide and conquer
- Counter puncher
- Play to fantasies
- Hate the media
- Play to win
- Perception is reality
- You can’t con people, at least not for long.
Truthful Hyperbole is an exaggeration of the truth. It can be used in both positive and negative exaggerations of the truth. From a logic standpoint, either something is the truth or it is not, but a hyperbole by definition is not to be taken literally. So if something is not to be taken literally, how can it be the truth? "Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill." is a good example of truthful hyperbole.
He also uses this technique so that he can just barely stay on the edge of truth and sometimes go into false areas. He does this to test the waters and see if his assertions will stick. If his assertions don't work, then he may or may not back off and soften his approach. But, I believe, you will never be able to pin him down. He is a master at "tap dancing" and "now you see me, now you don't.
I have included two video clips below.
One is a clip from the movie Chicago, where Richard Greer plays a lawyer named Billy Flynn who tap dances his way through court proceedings to get his friend Roxy off the hook, because she shot her husband.
The other one is a clip from the movie The best little whore house in Texas where Charles Durning plays the Governor of Texas who can't be pinned down by the press by singing and dancing to a tune called "I love a little side step." They are both quite entertaining, but if you don't watch them that's O.K. too. But I think they embody what Trump is about.
Name Calling and Glittering Generalities
Name Calling and Glittering Generalities are two propaganda techniques that Trump uses. Name calling is used to diminish your opponent’s position, instead of supporting your opinion with facts. Glittering Generalities uses important sounding "glad words" that have little or no real meaning.
Trump uses these techniques very effectively by combining them with many adjectives and repeating them over and over again. Name calling is one that he uses and that he used to divide and conquer his GOP opponents to win the nomination for president. Do you remember, little Marco, lying Ted, low energy Jeb, crooked Hillary, and crazy Bernie, just to name a few? He still calls Hillary, crooked Hilary.
He uses adjectives such as huge, amazing, fantastic, beautiful, incredible, to amplify his message, by repeating them in one sentence and using them several times in his speeches. If he wants to diminish the value of something or someone, he uses words like rigged, unfair, fixed, crooked, and corrupt. He plants seeds of doubt and new thinking by using these words. He states, "If Hillary wins the election then, it must be rigged." So if she is elected, in his mind and his followers, Hillary only won the election because it is rigged. That is difficult to be prove one way or the other, however, those words can be used to malign her forever.
When you experience name calling and glittering generalities ask yourself the following questions:
- What does the name or label mean to me?
- Does the idea in question have a valid connection with the real meaning of the name or label?
- If the glad word is removed, does the idea still have merit?
Trump says, that if you are going to think, you might as well think big. Trump comes from a privileged background, so it is much easier for him to think big. Unlike people who are not as privileged as he is. However, he does know how to play to peoples fantasies, even if you are rich or poor.
This is a no brainier, everything that one sees and hears about Trump is big. His buildings, golf courses, business transactions. Even his debt is big and so are his tax returns, if he ever releases them. They claim the only thing that is small are his hands.
Play to win
Trump loves to win, no matter what the cost. Do you notice how many times he uses the words win, winning, winners in his speeches? He changed his campaign staff so that he could position himself better against Hillary. His need for winning gave him the impetus to take out the whole republican primary field.
When he was being interviewed by Larry King. Larry asked him, "You said you made a million dollars for that speech. The record shows it was 400,000?". Trump's answer was, "In my mind, it was worth a million dollars after all the promotion fees were paid." In his mind he was the winner.
He also claims, he and Putin met on a 60 Minutes show of which he later denied ever meeting Putin. He also says Putin called him brilliant. When in fact, Putin called him the Russian name for colorful. But Trump believes he called him brilliant so in Trumps mind he wins.
When Trump uses words, they don't always mean the same thing as common usage. When he says that Mexico will pay for the wall. In his mind the word "paying" might mean painful...who knows?
Perception is reality
When Trump was developing properties, he had arranged for a loan from a group of bankers. The bankers were coming to visit the property, but there was nothing there except clear land. He told his people to get heavy equipment and operators and just keep everybody busy to look like there was a lot of development taking place. When the bankers arrived, one of them asked, “Why one worker was digging holes and the other one is following with his tractor and burying the same hole?” Trump in his inimitable way put up a smoke screen by changing the subject and the banker never asked the question again.
He went to Louisiana to help the flood victims, even after being told by the Governor, that his presence would be too disruptive. He was shown with Mike Pence unloading packages from the back of a truck. It turns out the packages were Playdoh. The photo op took all of 49 seconds. This gave him the ammunition to criticize Obama and Hillary for not being there and to make it look like he was being very presidential to his supporters.
When he met with the President of Mexico, he claimed he was being very presidential by meeting with a head of state. But he was just there for the photo op, because he did not even talk about the wall. Again, it was ammunition to criticize Hillary for turning down her invitation from the Mexican President.
Trump is a counter puncher. He says, if you criticize me or attack me, I will hit you 10 times as hard This was evidenced in his criticism of Rosie O’ Donnell and Megan Kelly. Where he called Rosie a fat pig and told Megan that she is bleeding from her whatever.
Trump counter punched Hillary's statement with a video about how she called half of Trump's supporters deplorable. His video states that she called millions of working class people deplorable.
In propaganda terms, that is called a false equivalence. It's the same as comparing apples and oranges. He changed it from half of his supporters to millions of working class people. There simply is not evidence to support his statement. He also said he won the popular vote, if you discount all the illegal voters. Hillary won the popular vote by over 2 million votes. If one uses a little bit of logic, that means that over 2 million people had to cast illegal votes.
Hate the media
Actually Trump doesn’t hate the media. On the contrary, he loves the media. When he says he hates the media, it gives him a platform to argue against the media. Once he does that, then he becomes the authority and they lose. He also loves the media because they give him as much attention as he requires to feed his ever needy egomaniacal persona . It doesn’t matter whether the attention is positive or negative as long as he gets the attention. In his mind, he will always turns it in to winning.
Play to people’s fantasies.
- Wouldn’t it be great if he could build this big, beautiful, giant wall that has a beautiful door and keep out all of those evil Mexicans that come here to rape, steal, and commit crimes, and then have the President of Mexico pay for it?
- Wouldn’t it be great to bring jobs home again from overseas and increase our job market?
- Wouldn’t it be great to wipe out ISIS, immediately?
- Wouldn't it be great to improve our infrastructure and repeal Obama Care?
- Wouldn't it be great to increase our military strength?
- Wouldn’t it be great to have a strong authority figure like Trump to Make America Great Again?
You can’t con people at least not for long.
Trump says, "You can’t con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion, you can get all kinds of press…but if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on."
All of the techniques I have covered worked well for Trump in the business world. But being on the world stage of politics and in front of the media for the world to see is another story. His rhetoric and actions are being recorded for all the world to see and hear.
In the digital world, it is very easy to play back something that he has said and/or done that contradicts his current thinking on that same subject. So it is very easy to prove that he is a hypocrite. However, he is a master at manipulation and confusing his questioners.
He won the election as president? In the final analysis, I believe he is nothing more than a big B.S er salesman and is selling himself as one his products by diminishing the value of the competitions products. But he is extremely amazing, and very, very, very good at it.
He is now on the world stage as President Elect. Only time will tell if he has the right stuff.