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Friday, August 5, 2016

Clever coordinated persuasion ploy

Again I read another story this morning regarding the "on-going" feud between Donald  Trump and the Khan family, the so called "intervention" that is taking place, and there was another story referencing the concept that Donald Trump is dropping out of the race. I am also quite amused regarding stories that Trump's mental health is at issue.

  • Let's be clear. There is no feud going on. This is simply Khan and his family going around on the media blasting Trump. Trump has not mentioned Khan or his family on Twitter (or anywhere else that has been substantiated) since a tweet on Monday saying that the story should not "be about Khan" who Trump pointed out, was the one going around taking interviews. 
  • There is also no real intervention. Both Guliani and Gingrich have both denied reports of such an intervention, and quite frankly there hasn't been anything tangible actually happening to intervene with. Are they going to tell him to stop engaging a feud that he isn't actually engaging? 
  • There is no evidence whatsoever that Trump would be dropping out of the race within two weeks of his convention. Not with an $80 million haul, and nearly $40 in the bank. This one probably has roots in the NeverTrump movement on the right flank, who simply refuse to give up the hope that he can still be replaced.
  • Lastly, Donald Trump is a man who has built a multi-billion dollar empire, become a national celebrity icon, raised four well adjusted kids, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, and in his seventy years has never had any mental health concerns. Certainly someone with mental health issues would have shown them before age 70. Nothing he has done over the past few weeks rises to any level of mental health issues - certainly not in comparison to the delusional behavior of the current President and Democratic frontrunner. 
What all of this is, ladies and gentlemen, is a well coordinated psychological use of persuasion and propaganda to convince voters at the core, that something is rotten in Denmark (or in this case, with Donald Trump).  The reality is that in the world of persuasion, it doesn't really matter if what you say is true, all that matters is if what you say elicits an emotional response. Accusations of attacking families of fallen soldiers, being associated with the terms intervention or mental health, and suggestions that he is dropping out, are all issues that would produce powerful negative emotional responses. It really doesn't matter if they are true or not.  

This is really no different than how Trump came to win the nomination. He used the same tricks and schemes on every one of  his opponents. He's also been using it on Clinton, and I would argue still fairly effectively (or this would be a different race). If you question that, look at most of the recent polls showing Clinton ahead. Most of the polling changes have not come from her gaining ground, but from Donald Trump losing ground. Her average on my spreadsheet is only 0.6 points higher than it was prior to the convention, and this includes the polling from the past couple of days putting her up double digits (or close to it). More to the point, nearly all of that has come from a consolidation of Democratic voters. The difference, can be drawn more directly to a loss of support for  Donald Trump, who in one poll dropped to 31%. 

Meanwhile, the polls themselves can be a powerful trigger for people. A poll showing Trump at 31% (accurate or not) sends a message to a potential voter that he is losing control. Why would you vote for a Candidate who is running 15-20 points behind what a Major Party Candidate generally receives. This can also be amplified by the general use of high profile and highly publicized MSM commissioned  polls, which generally are the least accurate, especially early on in the campaign.
  • Your five major media commissioned polls show an average lead of just under ten points. 
  • The two tracking polls, Rasmussen, PPP, YouGov, Morning Consult, and Survey Monkey show an average lead of just over three points.  This is almost identical to my "projection" spreadsheet that tracks the cross-tabs of 13 different pollsters.
How do you account for the differences, when all of these polls have been released over the past few days? Obviously there are either different methodologies or different sample make up. But make no mistake, there is a difference.  

Bottom Line: Donald Trump is being beaten at his own game. Now, to be fair, this is not exactly a fair fight. It's basically Donald Trump against Clinton, the President, the Democratic Party, the Media, and even the NeverTrump movement on the right. He has very few surrogates on his side. There is no "echo chamber" for him right now, whereas on the Hillary side, the echo chamber is the size of the Grand Canyon. 

I don't put it past Trump to recover and get his ship righted. After all, every time we count him out, he seems to come back stronger. I have a feeling there is a trick or two up his sleeve, and Clinton is not out of the woods yet. Certainly she is a flawed candidate with an endless supply of skeletons in her closet... and most importantly she has a knack of being able to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.