Sunday, July 31, 2016

Trump as master manipulator

In Mark's FB post on Trump he mentions Lakoff's piece and it is exactly the dynamic that LP discusses in the comments, differentiating the different sub-groups in the Trump field and how they are subconsciously manipulated (as are we progressives), regardless of their 'intelligence.' Therein Lakoff did not make out Trump to be a buffoon. He did accurately depict him as a liar and manipulator, which is true. But he also gives him credit for being highly proficient at framing, consciously or not.

Moral framing is critical to influencing people subconsciously and Trump is given due credit. That he uses it for his own ends via lies and bigotry doesn't mean framing is wrong per se and cannot be used with facts and care for everyone. It's something not a whole lot of liberals understand, as per Lakoff they are still stuck in Enlightenment 'reason' while the conservatives tend toward business degrees where they learn how to frame things in order to sell them. In that regard Trump is an able salesman, even though what he's selling in junk.

In the following quote from Art of the Deal Trump calls it truthful hyperbole. We know from fact checkers that it's mostly lies but it works nonetheless. And as we've observed, as long as you are selling the moral frame it doesn't matter how 'intelligent' you are if you have been inculcated within that frame. Trump:

“I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole” (p. 58).

By the way, the Lakoff article also shows how Trump frames certain issues dear to liberals and independents, and how that wins them over. But how are we to tell if Trump is sincere? As Lakoff explains, Trump does have a rationale for those views because it helps him to secure greater wealth and fame for himself as the authoritarian great one. He could give a shit less about the humane values of those liberals (or conservatives, for that matter).

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