‘Trump has brought a flamethrower to a stick fight, and fully understands confirmation bias,’ the Dilbert creator claims.
Scott Adams’ May 27 appearance on Bill Maher’s Real Time should be compulsory reviewing for all of us.
The creator of Dilbert revealed himself as not just a guy with a sharp sense of humor, but a master of the art of persuasion, literally a trained hypnotist, and an acute observer of America’s current political scene.
Just what you’d expect from one of our top humorists, though there’s nothing funny about his analysis.
Adams’ chilling conclusion is that Donald Trump will “win in a landslide” because he’s bringing “a flamethrower to a stick fight.”
The Dilbert comic creators’ reasons are cogent and acutely observed. Trump’s fourth-grade language level is consciously judged, not a failure of intellect. Remember the collection of Hitler speeches on his bedside table.
Der Fuhrer knows how to keep his words and concepts simple like a TV commercial, and persuasively repetitious in the same way. “It’s bad, bad. Very bad, I said he was really bad,” etc., to quote his recent Sadam speech.
Trump’s characteristic style is emotive repetition, forcibly attaching a feeling to an object, a person, an event. His speech is also notoriously — and, according to Adams, deliberately — fact-free.
Among the strengths of Trump’s presentation, Adams noted, is that it lacks specifics. There’s nothing to latch on to, few facts, no policies. It’s all emotional coloring.
For all his apparent buffoonery, Trump is a subtle and experienced salesman who knows that people make decisions based on emotions rather than evidence. This is the very first rule of selling.
Notice how Trump consistently colors his words with emotion. Hillary went to the bathroom, but ultimately all we’re left with is his emotive label, “disgusting.” The facts disappear but the smell lingers on.
In the same way, Trump attaches emotive epithets to his opponents – “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted,” etc. This leads to what Adams calls “confirmation bias,” the way in which any new event involving the same opponent potentially revives the same negative feelings.
We out here on the Left need to alert ourselves to the verbal danger Trump represents. Most of us continue to believe – in the face of almost all actual experience – that all we need to do is present the facts, and our friends and relatives and all those lunatics in Texas will come to understand that we’re right after all.
If you think like that, my friend, cast your eye across the Atlantic. You’ll spot a small, disunited European island that’s going dirt cheap right now.