HOW DONALD TRUMP WON
I like to think I spotted early on what Donald Trump was up to from a marketing standpoint. I’d followed a similar strategy—on a vastly smaller scale—when I was running the Underground Literary Alliance ten-to-fifteen years ago. The idea was to use shock tactics—outrageous stunts and statements—designed to create instant buzz. To have everyone in a targeted area (for us, New York City) talking about us, generating free media coverage in the process.
What’s indisputable is that Donald J. Trump has confounded the experts, taking on first in the primaries Jeb Bush and the Bush family machine, which outspent him ten-to-one. Then the massively funded Clinton machine in the general election, along with 95% of establishment media, and much of the establishments of both major U.S. political parties. Trump won with a relatively small, cost-effective organization.
What’s indisputable is that Donald J. Trump has studied marketing, messaging, PR, branding et.al. his entire life. Is it possible he was five steps ahead of the crowd all the time? That, contrary to the media image of Trump as a buffoon, he knows exactly what he’s doing?
I’ve engaged in old-fashioned P.T. Barnum American ballyhoo myself, and saw Trump from the beginning as THE master of hype and promotion. I put those thoughts into an ebook I wrote this past May:
Those who dismiss Donald J. Trump, a cosmopolitan New Yorker, as insane, Hitler, racist, boob etc. aren’t even trying to understand what happened in the election. They’re emotion run amok. Much of their reaction was caused by Trump’s deliberately polarizing tactics, as I explained six months ago in my ebook. The overreactors will be the last ones of course to figure it out.
The Underground Literary Alliance faced overreactors to our street theater and promises to clean up rampant corruption in the literary world. Whatever we said or did was magnified 100 times over, until we were depicted, even in major articles in credible publications like The Believer, as raving revolutionary lunatics, or even “terrorists.” Our provocative actions were a bit too successful. When opponents actually met us, they were stunned at how normal, even civil, we were in person. They remarked on the discrepancy, but never figured out what we were doing.
FLAT SCREEN THINKING
Which leads us to the conclusion that this nation’s best and brightest are in fact not very sharp. The inevitable question: Why not?
I attribute it to what I call Flat Screen Thinking. Millennials in particular are raised looking at flat surfaces—on their televisions, computers, and smartphones. The world become two-dimensional. Never do they question what’s behind the surface. As they read chiefly only those sources they already agree with, which follow the acceptable politically correct line, they never question the truth of their own beliefs and premises.
The media creates distorted narratives at will—then believes rigidly in their own narratives as if they were religious doctrine. They’re true believers in their cause—not intellectuals.
The educational system hasn’t trained them to study other sides of a question—to look at ideas three-dimensionally. Our schools today, including elite universities (especially elite universities!) are little more than indoctrination factories.
The protestors and rioters in cities like Portland fear Donald Trump. I fear them—because I recognize them as evidence of a pre-totalitarian mindset created in our educational system, in the colleges and high schools. Young people intolerant of disagreement now raging wildly at evidence of that disagreement.
What’s indisputable about Campaign 2016 is that the designated experts in think tanks, the universities and the media were indisputably wrong—wrong every step of the way.
Which brings us to a final question: Why would anyone today listen to anything these people have to say?
Upcoming at this blog: Examining America’s Pseudo-Left.