What Trump did right

In the spirit of reconciliation, I thought it would be good to say something positive about Donald Trump. So here goes.

Trump, and Trump alone, had the strategic insight to realise how right Michael Gove was in the run-up to the Brexit vote when he argued that people “have had enough of experts”. Seeing the result of that vote, Trump alone had the courage to run with Gove’s observation to its obvious conclusion, that people have had enough of facts.

Only Trump recognised that an election in 2016 has nothing to do with expertise or facts or information or competence or truth: that it is a contest to see who can say the most popular soundbites, and nothing else.

So. Good strategic insight there.

9 responses to “What Trump did right

  1. This is a better video and Jonathon Pie NAILS it. Note it is not safe for work, lots of swearing. But he is dead on, his analysis is actually nearly perfect.

  2. I’ve just seen this analysis from none other than Barack Obama (said before the election):

    Trump understands the new ecosystem, in which facts and truth don’t matter. You attract attention, rouse emotions, and then move on.

    Wow.

  3. Did you even Watch the video I posted?!? It runs on a premise a bit more complex than the one you just noted and in fact calls out that response for ridicule as well (i.e. the condescending my side is all about facts, your side is a bunch of racist useless worthless people ….)

    Like I said Pie absolutely NAILS it. His analysis is CORRECT all others are just tilting at windmills because they do not have enough introspection to honestly evaluate what really happened.

  4. No, I didn’t. As you pointed out, it’s NSFW. I may do at some point.

  5. Tried the video. Gave up after thirty seconds, having heard four f-bombs and zero content. I guess he’s trying to reach a different demographic.

  6. Jason, I don’t think that video contradicts the position of “the new ecosystem”. One key argument he makes is that debate doesn’t happen – this is clearly not true; the problem is that debate can’t happen because we’ve reduced everything to simple slogans and echo chamber social media feeds. And I think that his premise that no-one is talking to those who have a different view is also nonsense although obviously I only have personal anecdotal evidence for that.

    I will agree with him that it was the “change” argument that worked. It worked for Obama eight years ago too, and for Bush eight years before that. (Heck, it worked for Clegg in 2010!) It’s when “change” collides with “reality” that the problems happen.

    (Also, in passing, the polls were pretty good. Clinton appears to have ended with ~48% and Trump with ~46%; the polls understated Trump a little but not by much. The problem was the tiny number of voters that made the difference in four specific states; we thought our system was broken but this was ridiculous.)

  7. Correct. The point he makes well is that people are talking past each other. Easier to hurl soundbites and epithets at each other than to listen and think and respond.

    The interesting point I want to make about America is that traditionally we like to travel down the middle of the political road. Keep things in between the right and left, keep power dispersed amongst the parties, if things swing too far one way the American electorate pulls them back the other. I know Great Britain is generally much farther left in general than America, but we aren’t leaning more and more that way, we like our centrists.

    As much as people dislike Trump his policies are more towards the center than Hillary and Obama were. That’s what the nation really wanted (policy wise) so that’s where it went. The hyperbole of Trump’s campaigning was seen as hyperbole (extreme starting positions for negotiation) by his supporters, and seen as absolute fact by his opponents. We’ll see how he governs, there are many people who may have voted for Trump who nonetheless see him as separate from the Republican party and see the Republican congress as being a stabilizing opposition to some of his policies.

    But the Democrats did not realize where Trump was coming from and where his campaigning was resonating because their response to nearly everything he said was “racist, sexist, homophobe!!” They would have done fine with this had they not four years earlier painted Mitt Romney with the same broad brush. Back to the Slatestarcodex crying wolf theorem. They also failed to realize that “vote for us you deplorable, irredeemable scumbags” doesn’t actually convict people to come to your side. That’s the gist of what Pie is saying.

    Mike,

    I’m sorry the video was too crass. Feel free to edit or remove it from my earlier post if you’d like (it is your blog after all). Outside all the swearing, he does have strong points. But I agree it overly uses profanity.

    But back on point and to put this back in context to your last post. Do you think it could be valuable to you to sit down for lunch with the man you said would have voted for Trump and ask him why he thinks that way and what policies and actions he thinks Trump might take that would be things he’d agree with? You might be surprised what could come out in conversation that you won’t discover if you don’t just decide for yourself what to think about him…

  8. Trump has now tweeted that the Queen should appoint Nigel Farage as ambassador to the USA. Apparently he’s a little unclear on the concept of which country chooses ambassadors and which parties Ms. May and Mr. Farage belong to.

    To be fair, Mr. Farage probably could have mentioned this on his visit and possibly Ms. May might have done the same in their recent phone conversation.

  9. Jason,

    Not to worry about the video. It’s not for me, but I don’t need to remove the link or anything — others may find it helpful.

    But back on point and to put this back in context to your last post. Do you think it could be valuable to you to sit down for lunch with the man you said would have voted for Trump and ask him why he thinks that way and what policies and actions he thinks Trump might take that would be things he’d agree with?

    I can’t tell. I am not arguing that my position on this is rational. If anything I’m saying the opposite — this has hit me not just in the brain, as Brexit did, but in the gut. I’m not fully in control of myself.

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