Sunday, January 7, 2018

Why Trump is, like, Really Smart...and You're Not.

Donald Trump did it once again - he made heads explode yesterday with an amazing trio of tweets wherein he defended his own mental stability and intelligence.  It was vintage Trump, right up there with his "big nuclear button" tweet about North Korea.

Since so many of you seem to be outraged by these tweets and Trump's other habits, I'd like to walk you through yesterday's outburst and explain the underlying strategy using Trump's own words.  You see, there is a method to his madness, and the longer you remain clueless about it, the higher your blood pressure is likely to get.  I'm just here to do a public service and save lives.  You're welcome. 

Here are the tweets in question:   

This tweetstorm raises several questions:

Why does he constantly attack the "fake news mainstream media" and the Russia investigation?
Why even dignify the Michael Wolff charges of mental instability and low intelligence?
Why does he constantly brag about his brilliance and achievements?
Why did he put the word "like" in there?
Why does he continue calling Hillary "Crooked Hillary"?
Why does he brag that he's "a very stable genius"?
And...Why does he not seem to care how being so boorish makes him look?

The thing is, Donald Trump explained all this in a series of books and interviews beginning about 30 years ago.  His tactics are far from secret.  Now, I'll grant that you are probably too busy or uninterested to be bothered reading stuff by someone you consider to be mentally inferior and crazy. That's why I'm here to help.  Here are the specific quotes relating to each of the tweets:

Tweet #1 is all about Trump fighting back:

"In most cases I'm very easy to get along with. I'm very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my lifehas been to fight back very hard."  (Trump, “Art of the Deal”, 1987)
“When someone crosses you, my advice is ‘Get even!’ That is not typical advice, but it is real-life advice. If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck! When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I love getting even. I get screwed all the time. I go after people, and you know what? People do not play around with me as much as they do with others. They know that if they do, they are in for a big fight. Always get even. Go after people that go after you. Don’t let people push you around. Always fight back and always get even. It’s a jungle out there, filled with bullies of all kinds who will try to push you around. If you’re afraid to fight back people will think of you as a loser, a ‘schmuck!’ They will know they can get away with insulting you, disrespecting you, and taking advantage of you. Don’t let it happen! Always fight back and get even.(Trump: Think Big, 2007)
“If someone attacks you, do not hesitate. Go for the jugular.” (Trump: Think Big, 2007)
It makes me feel so good to hit 'sleazebags' back — much better than seeing a psychiatrist (which I never have!)" (Twitter, November 19, 2012)
This “attitude” of his to “fight back very hard”  and "get even" is why he has been so aggressive against the book by Michael Wolff that triggered the above tweets.  It's also why he continues pounding away at the "fake news media", Democrats, and the Russia investigation.  Attack his intelligence and mental stability and he will fight back.  He's been doing this his whole life and it has made him a billionaire, a TV star, and now the President of the United States.  You can criticize him all you want, but he has an undeniable record of success not allowing himself to be made a schmuck.  

Tweet #2 is just Trump playing y'all, and having fun doing it:  
"One thing I've learned about the press is that they're always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better...The point is that if you are a little different, a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you." - Donald Trump, “The Art of the Deal”, 1987
And if it can’t be fun, what’s the point? - Donald Trump, "The Art of the Deal", 1987
The big tell in this tweet is the addition of the word, "like", thrown right smack in the middle of a tweet attesting to his brilliance:
" two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart."  
Nothing screams brilliance like using the word "like" like a valley girl!

The  above tweet is a vintage example of Trump playing the media.  He knows he's going to get coverage when he throws that word in that tweet.  He knows his haters are going to go ape-shit, and he knows those in on the joke are going to laugh and enjoy their popcorn while the clueless heads explode.

Donald Trump is a veteran media maestro. His very business model – branding his name – was achieved in large measure by being controversial and getting free media. For years, his tabloid antics kept his name in the spotlight, and the Trump name was emblazoned on every one of his projects.

His presidential bid used the same game plan. By being “sensational”, “different”, “outrageous”, “bold”, and “controversial” he managed to run a successful presidential race on a shoestring budget with almost no staff or ground-game. He played the media like a Stradivarius to get his name, face, and candidacy in the conversation every day. That’s why he started his bid with the ridiculous Obama birth certificate quest. It made news. Trump was being sensational and outrageous by design. Does he really think Mexico will pay for the wall? Does he really think we should have seized Iraq’s oil? All we know for sure is what he reveals in his own words, and that tells us he's playing the media for all it's worth.

By trolling the media in such a way, Trump has been able to provoke them into gross over-reactions that almost always backfire to his benefit.  Meanwhile he marches on with his agenda, leaving everyone else mired in a thick fog of #covfefe.  Granted, Trump has tweaked the media so often that nearly 100% of his coverage is negative at this point.  But that doesn’t seem to concern him (see below).  Remember, he won the election under the exact same circumstances.  His voters are in on the joke and don't care that he plays the media, as long as the results continue to roll in.  

Tweet #3 is Trump doing what he does best: promote, promote, promote, shamelessly and constantly.  That, and espouse his own positive self-image:   

My father taught me everything I know. And he would understand what I’m about to say,” Mr. Trump announced to the room. “I’m developing a great building on Riverside Boulevard called Trump Place. It’s a wonderful project.” - Donald Trump at his father's wake
 "You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on."Donald Trump, “Art of the Deal”, 1987
Donald Trump is constantly promoting, and likes to "throw in a little hyperbole”. We are not used to politicians doing this in such a brazen way. Our parents raised us to be humble and discreet. Not Donald Trump. He is shameless and deliberate. He knows what he's doing. Why else would he tout his own genius and mental stability? Can he really singlehandedly Make America Great Again? Will he really be the best jobs President "God ever created"? Does he really think America’s going to win so much we are going to be "tired of winning"? All we know is that he knows he has to eventually “deliver the goods”.

And he has. He won the nomination, the Presidency, and just broke all kinds of records for a President's first year.  And he did that in the face of overwhelming opposition from the political establishment, the deep state, the media, academia, and the entertainment world.  He has over-achieved by every single measure of a rank amateur in presidential politics. 

“You always, when the service was over, you said, ‘I’d have sat there for another hour,’” Mr. Trump recalled. “There aren’t too many people like that. It wasn’t the speaking ability, it was the thought process.”- Donald Trump on Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Minister at Marble Collegiate Church
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale is an often overlooked piece of the Donald Trump puzzle. Beginning as a teenager, and continuing for decades, the Trumps attended The Marble Collegiate Church, which was led by Dr. Peale, author of the bestselling book, "The Power of Positive Thinking".

The power of positive thinking, according to Peale, was that if you you could train your thought process to focus on positive visions of yourself, your abilities, your prospects, your achievements, etc., you could go as far as you wanted to go in life. Nothing could stop you as long as you held firm to this positive picture.

Typical Peale quotes are: "Change your thoughts and you change your world." "There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment." "If you have zest and enthusiasm you attract zest and enthusiasm. Life does give back in kind."

You can hear echoes of Peale in every aspect of Trump's oversized positive image of himself, his abilities, and his accomplishments. It's hard to deny Peale's power, though, when so many of those accomplishments are real.

Tweets 1, 2, and 3 together are explained by Trumps belief that any publicity is good publicity:  
“Good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells.” - Donald Trump, "The Art of the Deal", 1987
How many times have you heard critics get exasperated by Trump's ability to step on his own good headlines?  Finally he'll have some positive news about the economy, or ISIS, or some such thing, and what does he do?  He tweets something petty and obnoxious about some celebrity like Rosie O'Donnell.  Bam!  Gone are the positive reports about job growth, and instead there's a story about his stupid tweet about something meaningless.  Why does he always do that?

He knows he's never going to be covered fairly by the media - no Republican ever has.  So instead, he's decided to take control of the narrative, and the only thing he knows for sure is that "controversy sells".


So you see, Donald Trump is not an idiot, and he's not crazy.  He's following a strategy he developed over a lifetime of living and winning in a high stakes world. The fact that you don't understand what he's up to is more a reflection of your ignorance than of his.   

No comments:

Post a Comment