So, you wanna be president, eh? I have some tips for you garnered from years of looking and listening at key holes. These are some of the things successful politicians do to win voters — especially voters that would put them in the White House. Pay close attention!
- Exude confidence. Appear to be in charge. You want to convince your listeners that you have everything under control, are cool under fire, and will achieve greatness.
- Know your audience. Know what they want to hear and tell them precisely that. It’s not about what is true, it’s about what people want to hear.
- Repeat. Again, repeat. If you say something several times people will believe it is true, whether it is or not. Indeed, truth is not the issue, it’s all about what people want to hear and saying it enough times that they will believe whatever you say.
- Appeal to emotion. Don’t try to overwhelm your audience with facts. Facts will just confuse people. Know your audience and know what they fear and what they desire. Exploit their known prejudices: play on them. Then probe. And repeat.
- Deal in generalities. Don’t get bogged down in specifics. People don’t what specifics anyway. They want clichés and formulas, no matter how vapid or even how untrue. Richard Nixon won his way into the White House by telling folks he “had a plan” for getting us out of Viet Nam. He never said what that plan was, because, as it turned out, he had none. But people believed him because it was what they wanted to hear (refer back to point #2 above).
- Smile, look sincere, and pause for effect after saying something your audience responds to favorably — as though you knew what they were thinking.
- Never, ever admit you were wrong. Don’t change your mind even if it has been shown that what you said was a bald-faced lie. Stick by your guns and attack those who insist that what you said was untrue. People prefer their candidates to be self-assured, even if they are chronic liars. They won’t recognize a lie anyway and very few of them will bother to check your “facts” to see if they are true.
- Pander to your audience. Give them more credit than they deserve. As a group they may have a collective I.Q. of 73.6 but treat them as though they are brilliant and wise enough to make you their choice for president.
- Attack your opponents at every opportunity. Blame every problem on them, especially if something terrible has just occurred, and assure your audience that if you were president this sort of thing would not have happened and will never happen again if your are elected. Your opponents can do nothing right. Stress that. Don’t worry whether or not this is true because, as said above, the audience doesn’t care about the truth, they want to hear what they already believe is true.
- Keep it short. K.I.S.S. No long sentences. No logic. No lengthy explanations with data and evidence to support. Remember that your audience has the attention-span of a cocker spaniel and act accordingly.
Hugh, very well done and right on the mark. People tend to equate false bravado with leadership. This is a key reason a greater number of new business leaders tend to be introverts, as shareholder math needs to work. At some point, the false bravado man has to put up or shut up. Elected officials have less of a direct scorecard and even when the math works in their favor, the other side will make up a different story.
As I read this, it is quite clear, Trump who is executing exceedingly well with these ten marketing keys. The dilemma for all of us, is what lies beneath is an exploitive, egomaniacal man.
I doubt there is anything beneath his surface. He’s all surface — thin skinned and a vacuum within.
Interesting comment last night that “Trump has your back.” This is interesting as his history has been all about taking care of his back only and exploiting others for gain. And, he is still doing it. That is the skill of his marketing genius.
You have provided a good summary of modern political tactics and discourse. I would add but one element to this list: Righteous amorality.
One must be inclined to portray a sense of righteous superiority and even moral outrage — to appeal to the public — but also to act completely without morality and to remember that the end always justifies the means — to appeal to wealthy donors and party apparatchiks
By the way, I think you may be unintentionally casting aspersion upon Cocker Spaniels.
I apologize to all the cocker spaniels out there!
Hugh – we’ve certainly been seeing a lot of this lately.
Wonderful, Hugh! …
(From what some of Trump’s early campaign advisers have been writing lately, that he got into the race only to build his “brand,” never with the intent of winning, it also puts me in mind of the 1840 presidential model: get elected as the VP, hope the president gives a monstrously long inauguration speech in the rain, contracts pneumonia and dies soon after. That approach gave John Tyler almost four years in the White House and the nickname “HIs Accidency.” If his former advisers are right, it’s pretty much an accident that Trump has gotten this far, too. Only it’s a really bad accident.)
Let’s hope it never gets that far!! Thanks for the input, as usual.
Great post! I wanted to laugh, but instead I almost cried. Perhaps there would be a glimmer of hope if we let the Cocker Spaniels vote instead of the lemmings?
Now, there’s a thought!