Empowering Donald Trump – The Liar

Posted Feb 21, 2017 at 19:36. Revised Sep 6, 2019 at 21:05.

Liar, Liar,
Your pants are on fire;
Your nose is as long
As a telephone wire!

Does this childish playground taunt apply to the President of the United States? Obviously it does, but not exactly….

J.D. Nobody finds it interesting that so many people do not understand the game and the dynamics behind Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign. An earlier Complexity Traps post comparing Trump to FDR summarized the historic context preceding FDR’s presidency and its similarities to that of Donald Trump. Indeed, Trump’s campaign and post-election actions are right out of FDR’s playbook, as explained in the earlier post. FDR relentlessly vilified his opponents while perfecting the use of radio as a voter-communication tool. JFK later paved the way for Trump by perfecting the use of television as a campaign tool. Trump made the next big campaigning innovation by perfecting the use of social media in political campaigns. A common thread in the Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Trump presidential campaigns is that these presidents conveyed their messages in story form.

Recounting stories and myths while relaxing around an evening fire precedes civilization and remains an important part of life because it appeals to the important human yearning to understand one’s place and role in the universe. Mythology recounts important truths and lessons that are not literally true but recount spellbinding stories that often teach something as well. Many, if not all, of the listeners around the fire understood that those stories and myths were in fact lies and that inconsistency, contradiction, and literal lies are all part of the storytelling process. These lies are sometimes whoppers told for entertainment and to make a point, not to maliciously mislead.

The Greek poet Homer produced the Iliad and the Odyssey. Both works are nothing but literal lies from cover to cover. 2500 years later, millions of people still look to these entertaining lies and recognize that they contain no malicious intent.

The introduction of modern technology and communications has caused traditional storytelling and mythology to become progressively less a part of life, resulting in people becoming progressively more dismissive of myths and stories as just useless lies.

The electronic communication devices that occupy our minds today cannot replace the life enrichment that fireside stories provide. These devices have created a gaping hole in the emotional needs of people who are looking for fulfillment from the human interactions that quench this thirst. Good fireside stories are part of this process.

The shared work and social interaction in occupations such as farming have always produced strong family and neighbor ties. Boasting, storytelling, and great mythology flourish in this environment. It is no surprise that the people who most understand this world are the ones who related best to Donald Trump’s sometimes crude, but folksy and mythopoetic, style of campaigning. They clearly understood that his ideas were to be taken seriously but not literally, whereas those chased away by his campaigning style generally were rebuffed because they took him literally but not seriously.

Those who took Trump literally were horrified because they did not fully understand that storytelling and locker-room boasts are often nothing more than that. A good story involves heroes and villains, escaping danger, and heroes that survive the machinations of the villains. People enjoy good stories even when they know the storyline and the outcome.

Donald Trump’s post-election thank-you tour speech in West Allis, Wisconsin is a good example of his ability to bring these components together to appeal to his audience. The first thing he did in that speech was set a favorable mood by wishing the people in the audience Merry Christmas and thanking them for supporting him. Casting himself in the West Allis speech as a hero, Trump announced that the days of political correctness were over and assured the audience that it was once again OK to wish people Merry Christmas.

Moving on, Trump recounted the days immediately before and after the election. He created the suspense by allowing that Big, Bad Hillary might actually win! He thought he had her cornered, but did he? Would his fever pitch of speeches and rallies just before the election save the day? With the suspense building, there was more fear than hope. Some new hope came when learning that Big Bad Hillary had canceled her post-election fireworks display. She would not have done so unless her confidence in winning was ebbing away.

The story’s fear and tension reached a fever pitch late in Election Day afternoon. Loyal daughter Ivanka Trump called her father with the worrisome message that the exit polls were looking bad and that there appeared to be little hope of winning. Could a level-headed hero turn this suspense into success, especially since the news media and polls had said there was almost no path to the 270 electoral votes needed to defeat the evil Hillary? Was the fever pitch of speeches and rallies in the last three days of the campaign all for nothing? Trump recounted his memory of the large crowds at his rallies and speeches, and he could not believe that so many people would have turned out for his rallies if he were losing.

In a few hours the vote counts would begin to arrive, and the uncertainty would be over. As the critical results from the must-win state of Florida started coming in, the situation continued to look bad but most of the votes from the Florida Panhandle were yet to be reported. With those votes Florida was won. Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes and victory was still open!

The story continued as attention turned to the must-win state of Ohio. The suspense lifted somewhat when it was clear that Ohio was being won by a large margin of votes. Again the path to 270 electoral votes was still open because the wide margin in Ohio bode well for the vote count from other states!

Focus then shifted to the “can’t-win” states of North Carolina and Pennsylvania, because the first vote counts from those states looked a little better than was expected. Trump might be able to win one or both of them! When both states joined the victory column, it became clear that Big Bad Hillary’s earlier taunts that Trump had no path to 270 electoral votes were now starting to look hollow. As the votes piled up, it became ever more clear that it was Big Bad Hillary who had no path to 270 electoral votes. The story was over, and with a heroic happy ending. Dewey had defeated Truman!

The audience, of course, knew the outcome of the story from the start. Hearing the story of the hard-won victory retold was nevertheless inspirational. People who focused solely on the world of facts and logic were clueless that retelling such a story was important and mattered even though the election was over and the entire audience had known the outcome from the beginning. Were parts of the story lies? If so, nobody cared.

Afterword

The research for this post turned up an unexpected Complexity Trap involving just what President Trump said in his West Allis thank-you speech. One would think that it should have been easy to find a complete transcript of Trump’s West Allis remarks, but that was not the case. It was easy to find many snippets of remarks from many different speeches, including the one in West Allis. All of the snippets were out-of-context quotes and in many instances carried distorted connotations due to the omitted text.

Once again, ever-increasing complexity devolves into a simplicity in which sound bites and snippets reduced the records of the West Allis speech to vacuous trivia. It even made the research for this post difficult.

Now you can honestly say “Nobody told me.”

Copyright © 2016-2019 Charles E. Dial. All rights reserved.
Posted Feb 21, 2017 at 19:36. Revised Sep 6, 2019 at 21:05. –> Retrieved Nov 12, 2019 at 23:45.
Transcript News Feed: https://ct.complexitytrap.org/feed/


Empowering Donald Trump – The Base

Posted Feb 5, 2017 at 17:26. Revised Sep 6, 2019 at 21:21.

The short answer to the question “Who empowered Donald Trump?” is just about everybody did. Donald Trump’s core supporters have shown much adoration for him at his rallies, and without their support he would have gone nowhere. The related posts A Tale of Two Factories and Trump – The Same As FDR? are starting points for understanding why his base support has empowered him so effectively. In many respects, Trump uses FDR’s (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) playbook – updated for the age of social media.

Trump is at least as in tune with the working class locker room crowd as he is with the country club elite. Being able to function effectively with both those crowds is a rare skill. Whether that skill has been used in some extremely disruptive ways or whether such skills are enough to solve the nation’s problems are different discussions.

The most important cornerstone of Trump’s power with his base is probably the patronizing elitism which much of the Establishment feels toward Joe Six Pack. As the Tale of Two Factories explains, dismissiveness, snubbing, and not listening build time bombs of anger. Those time bombs are now detonating in slow motion, but with unrelenting persistence.

The patronizing elitists are dumbfounded by what they have unleashed, and are in almost complete denial that they are dismissive, patronizing, or elitists. Of course, the well-educated and well-connected have something to feel elite about, but they nevertheless live in a sociologically different world from the people whom they regard as baskets full of deplorables. J.D. Nobody knows an astute psychologist who has observed that elitists have no idea that they are elitists, and that once they face the situation they are automatically no longer elitists.

J.D. Nobody has a rare credential for understanding the social problems which elitist create. At one point in his life he held a real “dirty hands” job, thereby gaining exposure to many real world situations that elitists only know conceptually. A real dirty hands job is a job where one uses a large jar of GoJo Hand Cleaner per week just to get one’s hands clean enough to go to the bathroom.

The elitists cannot fathom a world where washing one’s hands before going to the bathroom is far more important than washing one’s hands afterwards. That world exists, and is a normal part of the lives of many people. Elitist disconnectedness from real dirty hands people and even disbelief that they exist is quite alienating to those who do the nation’s dirty hands work.

People with experience around dogs know that most dogs can read the non-verbals of people extremely well. Indeed, if dogs were running the country their sensitivity would make them incapable of being elitist enough to enrage the anti-Trump base enough to create the firestorm currently greeting Donald Trump’s presidency. Unfortunately, Washington D.C’s. educated elitists lack the skills that most dogs have.

Complexity is a cornerstone ingredient in this firestorm. The complexity of life breeds oversimplification as people reach out for something they can handle. A key ingredient in this growing chasm is an increasing income inequality that drives people farther apart. The link between complexity and income inequality is hardly surprising once a person recognizes that people are paid what someone else is willing to pay them. The more skilled a person is at managing the complexities around him/her the more income that person can demand. Similarly, persons lacking the required skills for making things go become worth less and less economically.

The superficial solution to complexity driven income inequality is progressive income taxes. This solution has been tried repeatedly since 1980 in the U.S., but each time income disparity has increased anyhow. A major explanation for this that the increasing economic value of skilled complexity managers is a more powerful economic force than are higher taxes.

Attacking the problem with sharply higher progressive tax rates and low income subsidies is a drag on those who know how to make the system go, as well as a discouragement for low income people to seek productive work. Although progressive taxation can to some degree address income inequality, it has the unfortunate side effect of punishing economic success and rewarding economic failure.

The United States is a country where most of its people live near the East and West Coasts and much of the agricultural and industrial power is located in the middle portion of the country. this “fly over” country produces much of the nation’s basic food, but the importance of its people is usually derisively dismissed by the elite flying across the country. These elite are quite content to spend the trip with their minds absorbed in various electronic devices because they find nothing of interest in the agricultural land slowly passing by underneath. After all, the only thing this land produces is the food which they eat. At the end of the day the people living in “flyover country” control the power, know how to fight back, and will.

In contrast, Washington DC has needed a growing number of increasingly specialized people and lobbyists to function. As the narrowness of specialization increases the specialists become more disconnected from the world around them and more dismissive of it. Look no further than this phenomenon to find a key reason why heartland America is up in arms – being ignored and dismissed is an insult guaranteed to enrage, but snubbing is only the start of the troubles.

The next step is slandering the religious views of much of the Heartland with assertions like “the only socially acceptable form of Christianity is Roman Catholicism, if even that is tolerable”. In this view, Christians are categorically all ignorant, intolerant misogynists, homophobes, and bigots who must be suppressed. The facts be damned. There can be no public display by Heartland Christians of anything that can be considered religious – especially if it has Christian connotations. In this world, even the 10 Commandments cannot be discussed or displayed in public, even though the Commandments are a foundation of early Jewish law – but are apparently tainted since they are accepted as containing religious wisdom by Christians as well as Jews.

Going no further than this, it should be obvious what will happen when someone like Donald Trump comes along and tells the people in the Heartland that they are decent people and deserve to be treated as such. Then they are told that wishing a friend or neighbor Merry Christmas is not an act of religious bigotry for which they should be ashamed. People tend to like people who don’t roundly insult them!

 

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The life and death of Trumpian America (ft.com, subscription only)

http://bonnerandpartners.com/impoverished-by-too-much-money/

Complexity->specialization->Optimization-> brittalization

Complexity handling skills are randomly distributed in the social hierarchy

Oriental an insult

Micro insults

Worries are prioritized; tend to focus outside the realm of the specialty

Who empowered DT, and why? Everybody. The why trumps the who and what.

Everybody created DT via progressively more disconnectedness

Concerned far more with what than why. Smokescreens of what obscures the why.

3 blind men and the elephant – everybody has part of the picture

Tale of 2 Factories

FDR & Joshua – Locker room v country club

Incomplete truths; not incorrect

Fact and opinion have become synonymous

“Only people matter” feel, not think, the Bern!

Hillary is being attacked on both flanks, Trump on only one.

Hierarchy of economic development – food clothing shelter etc.

Heartland v coasts v beltway

Flyover country

People vote on what is important to them first, economic self-interest takes a back seat

Optimization produces capital destruction outside of the optimization focal range techno-tangle

Optimization produces progressive loss of primitive skills – heads for a new dark age

IoT -> vulnerability; primitive technology can better handle a big wallop

TDD remarks

Connecting non-contiguous dots

Value disparities based focused skills

Lenin – enemies are those that are nearly the same politically

Pol Pot phenomenon

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Now you can honestly say “Nobody told me.”

Copyright © 2016-2019 Charles E. Dial. All rights reserved.
Posted Feb 5, 2017 at 17:26. Revised Sep 6, 2019 at 21:21. –> Retrieved Nov 12, 2019 at 23:45.
Transcript News Feed: https://ct.complexitytrap.org/feed/