The Trump Ploy
LINH DINH • NOVEMBER 11, 2016
The media were out to get Trump, pundits from across the political spectrum kept repeating, but the truth is that the media made Trump. Long before the election, Trump became a household name, thanks to the media.
Your average American can’t name any other real estate developer, casino owner or even his own senators, but he has known Trump since forever. For more than a decade, Trump was a reality TV star, with two of his children also featured regularly on The Apprentice. Trump’s “You’re fired” and his hair became iconic. Trump appeared on talk shows, had cameo roles in movies and owned the Miss Universe pageant. In 2011, Obama joked that Trump as president would deck out the White House in garish fashion, with his own name huge on the façade. The suave, slick prez roasted Trump again in 2016. Trump has constantly been in the limelight.
It’s true that during the presidential campaign, Trump received mostly negative press, but this only ramped up support among his core constituency. Joe Sixpacks had long seen the media as not just against everything they cherished, but against them as people, so the more the media attacked Trump, the more popular he became among the white working class.
Donald Trump: The Political Equivalent of the Financial Crisis
By NOAH MILLMAN • November 11, 2016
The 2016 election could present you with a similar problem — even without the explicit racial polarities. Say you focus your energy on attacking Trump and his supporters for being misogynists. You’ll have plenty of fuel for such an attack — but how will the women whose husbands are interested in Trump react? Are they going to let you get between them and their husbands? Or are they going to rally to their defense, and against this insulting, elitist outsider?
To get inside that defense, you can’t rely on female solidarity, or on women’s issues. Any voter for whom that kind of pitch has a strong appeal is already actively supporting you in the primary, and will certainly be with you in the general election. The women you need to reach are precisely those who are less-amenable to this kind of appeal. They are women who would consider voting Republican — who may have voted Republican in previous elections, whatever reservations or frustrations they might have had with that party. . . .
[I]t isn’t about the issues, or about experience. None of that matters if people believe that Trump is a straight-talking independent man who will put America first, while you are a cosmopolitan insider eager to do the bidding of special interests so as to win and retain power. You need to turn that around, and get people to believe that you’re a flawed human being who went into the business of politics in order to accomplish something, while your opponent is a fraud and a charlatan who has accomplished almost none of what he claims, and will do nothing of what he promises.
To make that case, you need to make an emotional connection, which means a personal one. A revelation of common experience that enables them to trust your judgment. That’s what the reintroduction is all about.
That reintroduction never happened. Instead, her campaign did exactly what I had warned wouldn’t work. And somehow, knowing it wouldn’t, I still convinced myself it had.