December 16, 2015

Become more Trump-like by changing positions, not persona

One of the most welcome changes to come from the Trump phenomenon is the evaporation of the obsession with the personal qualities of the candidates, long held to be crucial, and focusing instead on where they stand.

The cuck teams have hilariously misread this shift, believing that they ought to copy the Donald's personality in order to catch up with his success with voters. Bush and Kasich began the first debate as the usual well-mannered, happy-go-lucky, sterile, inoffensive, dad-friendly stiffs that we'd come to expect as necessary in order to appeal to the public. After getting creamed by the Trumpinator, they've changed their tune and have been working tirelessly to present a more combative persona.

(Even that effort failed, with the two of them coming off as petty brats constantly interrupting the cool kids' discussion, or as schoolmarms aggressively wagging a finger at the instigator in the classroom who has pointed out that the Emperor is wearing no clothes.)

They believed that personality mattered, only that this time around it was the "no more Mr. Nice Guy" persona that was fashionable. All aboard the wannabe badass bandwagon! ("Yeah Jeb, you're real tough...") But what has actually been revealed is that personality doesn't matter -- positions do. I'm sure most voters would prefer a Trump who behaved a little more friendly than he does, but so what, he's the only one pushing as hard as he is on the most important issues. Nice or not nice, I'm gonna get things turned around, as sure as you're sitting there.

In contrast to the would-be Bush/Kasich ticket who duped themselves into copying the combative persona while doubling down on their elitist positions, the formerly invisible Rand Paul just put himself in line for a cabinet appointment by stressing nativism over globalism, albeit with his distinctive libertarian spin -- we wouldn't be tempted to cast such vast surveillance nets over the American people if they were largely American rather than foreigners with uncertain goals for our society. So, sorry, refugees stay over there, immigrants buh-bye. Liberty for Americans trumps welfare for foreigners.

And he hammered those points home all night without trying to constantly interrupt, puff up his chest, or otherwise pretend to be the alpha dog. I know it sounds funny to suggest he would even try, but just remember how ceaselessly Jebberino has been striving to come off as a tough guy.

Fiorina and Christie also tried to "tap into the popular anger," or however their marketing hack pollsters phrased it, by acknowledging how angry the viewers are -- but without acknowledging the source of that anger and promising to do something about it. Hard as it may be to believe, citizens don't care if you echo their anger back at them. Only if you get it, and are going to solve the underlying problems, can you ride a wave of popular anger. With them it was all style, no substance, and they resonated with nobody.

Fiorina's dead campaign is also an example of the BS about the surge of "outsiders," as though what mattered was the persona of being untainted by Washington vs. corrupted by inside-the-Beltway living. She offers total Establishment positions like wanting to start World War III with Russia over some sandbox in the Middle East, so no one gives a damn if she's a political outsider. See also the failed appeal of John McCain hyping up his cosplay Yosemite Sam persona (he's an East Coaster born and raised, only moved out to Arizona in his 40s).

Trump didn't have to imitate anyone else's personality, and no one else has had to imitate his. It all comes down to what problems the candidates identify, and what they want to do about them.

Everyone in the propaganda machine -- mass media, commentators, wonks, etc. -- has so bought into their own obsession with personal qualities rather than issues, that they just can't get it. Why aren't Bush and Kasich going up, after switching to a combative image? Rand Paul could never go anywhere by only echo-ing one of Trump's positions, if he isn't molding his persona in Trump's image, right?

The public isn't stupid. It's just that we haven't had any good candidates for decades, so the chattering classes couldn't tell that we weren't just mindless consumers in search of tabloid trash politics. "Good" meaning good on the important issues like stewarding our people, culture, and society, rather than selling it off to the highest bidder and mortgaging our demographic future just to score cheap scab labor and authentic Aztec taco trucks here and now.

If a self-promoting reality TV star, of all people, can deflate the media's obsession with personalities and restore the focus to the substantive issues, he can do anything.

I actually wouldn't put it beyond his cunning to have staged this from the outset -- create such a publicity cycle over his brash, no-apologies persona in order to fake out the initial favorite, Jeb. Make him think that the secret sauce must be the spectacle of his persona, and goad him ("looow energy") into spending most of his time and effort trying to throw together a tough guy persona, rather than simply trying to co-opt and neuter Trump's populist positions.

With a failure of a tough guy persona, and no change to his anti-populist positions, he wouldn't have a leg to stand on. All the endorsements, campaign funds, brand recognition, and bla bla bla couldn't save the poor sap.

Trump's caricature of Trump has been one of the greatest red herrings on the battlefield of politics, and the Establishment still isn't wise to it. In fact the Republican leaders just put out a memo urging the cucks to behave and talk more like Trump without actually changing their positions. They'll beat him at his own game! They saw Trump run off a cliff, so they're going to leap headlong off the cliff too! ...Only they didn't notice that he had a populist policy parachute to save himself, while the cucks will plummet flailing before their skulls crack apart.


  1. BTW, the coverage everywhere today is trying to hype up Bush and Christie, easily among the worst performances last night. They had this crap written up ahead of time, paid for by these two doofus' PACs.

  2. The election of 1960 really screwed political discourse in this country.

    The standard explanation of 1960 -- which I believe is correct -- is that it was decided by TV: Kennedy knew how to use it; Nixon didn't. But subsequent mythmaking around Kennedy made it seem like he won because his youthful personality came through better on TV, when in fact it was his positions. Remember the "missile gap?" Kennedy won by out-hawking Nixon on missile defense -- the younger guy was more gung-ho to confront the USSR than the old guy.

    Unfortunately, this was confirmed when hip young guy Bill Clinton anointed himself the new JFK against dull old guy George HW Bush. Again, not youth and media savvy, but positions, carried the day -- GHWB ran as Reagan II, the ultimate Cold Warrior... but the Cold War was over. In the first great recursion of Boomer narcissism, Boomer voters convinced themselves that by voting for Clinton, they were really voting for JFK.... the idealized JFK they had in their heads, not the Diem-assassinating, Cuban coup-attempting, tax-cutting, Special Forces-loving superhawk who actually ran to the right of Nixon in 1960. They voted, in other words, for the positions they passionately believed their fever-dream version of Kennedy held.

    So, too, in 2000. All of Al Gore's very public persona flailing should've tipped them off -- remember when that idiot bimbo Naomi Wolfe told him to wear "earth tones?" The fact was, Gore ran as a defense policy wonk; back then he was a missile defense expert, not the High Priest of the Church of Gaia. Similarly, George Bush's appeal wasn't his "aw shucks" cowboy persona; that came later. He ran -- I shit you not -- as the education candidate. He was well to the left of John McCain, then as now doing his "bomb everyone everywhere" schtick.

    The point is that the Boomer narcissists who run political campaigns and control media punditry are indeed Boomer narcissists (redundant, I know). They only remember what they think they saw on TV, and that's the lens through which they filter everything. Because Kennedy was the first political candidate they saw on TV, and because they all got the liberal religion in college, they convinced themselves -- again, through the magic of Boomer narcissism -- that Kennedy was really a college Democrat circa 1992. According to them, that was the persona he projected, and that was the persona that beat Richard Nixon in 1960... or, at least, their version of Nixon, who -- surprise surprise -- sounds like the president of the most assholish frat on campus circa 1992.

  3. One huge advantage Trump is getting is that the Establishment is making him seem less extreme, because of the absurd positions they're doubling down on.

    Should the First Amendment be ditched for the Zeroth Amendment?

    Should we accept hundreds of thousands of people from ISISland?

    Should we be more worried about people getting mad about terrorist attacks than the attacks themselves?

    The Establishment is screaming YES OR ELSE on all of these ridiculous positions. In comparison, Trump seems ever less extreme as time goes on. As such, people who were turned off by Trump's personality are viewing him as the voice of reason in comparison to the lunatics currently in charge.

  4. It warms the cockles of my heart to see the people I hate most in the world freaking out over Trump like he's the next Hitler. Those who adhere to the Niceness Cult of NonJudgetivity can't believe that someone would come along who has an actual OPINION about things. Those horrible, horrible racist Americans! Believing that they should act in their own interests first! What MONSTERS! Can't they see that Western Civilization is the root of all evil? WHATISWEGUNNADO??!!!

  5. Look at this Jewish paranoia from Jonathan Chait

  6. "Fiorina's dead campaign "

    Indeed. Fiorina has a stage presence almost as impressive as Trump's. She comes across as tough and competent. She comes across as the kind of person who both says and personifies that Thatcher quote she used "If you want something talked about, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman."

    Yet, nobody is going to vote for her. And it's because she is so obviously and completely a member and servant of our hideous elite.

  7. She has zero stage presence -- she's whiny and only thinly masking her incompetence with canned lectures. She reminds everyone of that know-it-all disaster of a boss. She's a (half-)human PowerPoint.

  8. "the people I hate most in the world freaking out over Trump like he's the next Hitler"

    The best part about the explicit Nazi/Hitler comparisons is that the audience they're appealing to doesn't really think the Nazis/Hitler were in a class by themselves. They're just a generic go-to insult that has no special sting.

    The folks who respond most negatively to the Nazis/Hitler are the Americans who have a fondness for Midcentury America, fighting the good war, flying the American flag, singing along to the "Star Spangled Banner," and celebrating V-Day.

    And of course that is the audience who love Trump the most. Nazi/Hitler comparisons don't just strike them as lazy failed attempts at an insult -- it's calling good evil. So not only do they rally behind Trump even more in his defense, they develop an even greater hatred for the talking heads, whether on TV, newspapers, or your Facebook feed.

  9. "She has zero stage presence -- she's whiny and only thinly masking her incompetence with canned lectures. She reminds everyone of that know-it-all disaster of a boss. She's a (half-)human PowerPoint."

    Nah. We know that she is, in fact, that from her performance at HP and from the incompetence of her campaign. She is clearly well-prepared for the debates, looks and acts confidence on stage, and delivers her lines well.

  10. Quit trolling. She's terrible.

  11. She is charmless as well. I wonder is she is happy. I think she should have went back to being a CEO of a very small company where she could have the title and the company might have benefited from her connections. Really, with her resume if her name was Carl would she even be considered. I have mixed feelings about Trump but I love his cheap campaign. He should constantly compare the money he is spending on his campaign(or rough approximation) to his rivals particularly socialist Sanders.

  12. Random Dude on the Internet12/17/15, 10:04 PM

    Carly Fiorina is a terrible candidate. She is Mitt Romney but without any political experience whatsoever: another CEO whose brilliant leadership involves outsourcing jobs and collecting a fat severance when her "leadership" makes the company almost go tits up. We've had enough of those jackasses.

    All she says during the debates is "people are angry and it is time for action" but she never really articulates what actions she would take other than the same crap every non-Trump non-Paul and non-Cruz candidate is saying. Nothing about her says "leader" to me.

  13. "Trump's caricature of Trump has been one of the greatest red herrings on the battlefield of politics"

    This is really good.


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