Donald Trump is a Rhetorical Genius


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Ok, maybe it is somewhat of a stretch to call him a "genius" but he is definitely highly skilled at rhetoric and also rhetorical strategy. On that point, he "looks" stupider than he is and continues to be underestimated, while continuing to surprise the public and rise in the polls or maintain his lead. It is clear that every aspect of his political campaign has been carefully measured and calculated to coincide with maximum rhetorical effect.

Observe for example, his skillful use of tragedy, especially in the tragic death of the woman in San Francisco who was shot to death by an illegal immigrant. Not long after the tragic news he tweeted via his Twitter feed, swinging at rival Marco Rubio:

".@marcorubio what do you say to the family of Kathryn Steinle in CA who was viciously killed b/c we can't secure our border? Stand up for US"

It was pure coincidence that her untimely death happened just around the time of his campaign, and with his opponent within easy swinging distance via Twitter, he didn't waste the opportunity to drive his political point home.

He also slowly and measurably releases his "platform" positions to the public at opportune times. Unlike the other candidates, he doesn't release all of his positions at the same time. He makes every position an event in itself with press releases, tweets and hearings, released exactly when he deems the time to be right (maybe with a drop in the polls). This is brilliant strategy. He makes skillful use of the press and turns on his "nice guy" to appeal to the masses. He has continued the dominate all election talk (even over Hillary Clinton) at this time of writing, since he announced his candidacy in April.

As I have said before, you can't spread good ideas without good rhetoric and presentation (every religion seems to get this except Objectivism). Donald Trump seems to get this intuitively. He doesn't "browbeat" his audience with facts, but dispenses facts while coming across in a casual, charismatic and approachable style in his speeches and public hearings. A consummate salesman, he has a "conversation" with the audience. He takes questions while deftly keeping the conversation within favorable parameters to himself. He doesn't allow "hecklers" or "disruptive" journalists to derail the conversation with sillyness, minutia or controversy (positioning him as the bad guy).

In short, Trump is a good example of the "rhetorical strategy" Objectivism (desperately) needs to effectively communicate its ideas to the public. The issue is not exposure to Ayn Rand (millions have read her non-fiction) , but the effective presentation of her ideas so that they 1) could be understood on a simple, easy to understand level 2) Do not come across as "negative" or "dry" but "positive" even fun and sexy.

This is the challenge of our time. And by seeing the good examples all around us, we can see the road ahead of us clearly and what it takes to win in this modern ideological battlefield.

Thoughts?

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Yep and that was one of the main critiques I made in my thesis, "An Aristotelian Analysis of the Objectivist Movement."

Additionally Marcus, I have suggested the Sandler Selling System's approach to a number of folks here and away from OL.

It is based on negative reverse "selling," pattern interruption, and the "Columbo effect" which is to appear bumbling and slow to allow the other person to preen and underestimate you.

It is also referred to as selling without a safety net, e.g., going into a presentation without even a pen.

Additionally, it is discovering the prospects actual "pain." Solving that closes the "sale," whether that sale is conceptual, or, a hard product.

Good stuff.

At any rate, The Donald has certainly read his Aristotle because he is a great rhetorician.

A...

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Trump continues on a roll.

I'd be interested in knowing whether he is familiar with any of AR's works.

Wouldn't be surprised if he read & liked The Fountainhead.

-J

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Focusing on one small point:

It was pure coincidence that her untimely death happened just around the time of his campaign, ...

Immigrant "stranger violent crime" occurs so frequently that Trump could have found a horrible murder not long after whenever he began his campaign.

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Focusing on one small point:

Like some kind of pest or insect (a blond louse?), you've managed to find your way here and inject your sillyness into my thread.

This thread is not about immigration and you're not going to derail it into one. Go "focus" on your nonsense somewhere else. And good riddance to you. Off you go.

Moving on....

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If anyone wants to study Trump's rhetoric, there's a lot of great stuff to look at and analyze.

I'll try to put some links and thoughts together for later.

However, if anyone believes Trump's success is due solely to rhetoric, they will make the same mistake all the modern intellectualoids did. You know who I'm talking about. All those who predicted Trump's campaign demise, affirmed it as given fact, then "explained" the real real reason people still support him when their prediction didn't happen. (With one boneheaded theory after another, I might add. :) )

People keep looking in the realm of words for Trump's influence. There's a lot more than just words.

So, getting to the idea in the opening post, I agree that people who wish to spread Rand's ideas would do well to learn this stuff and learn it cold. (Also, don't forget, knowing it and being skilled at it are two different stages. You can know something and still be terrible at it when you try to do it. You have to put in hours of focused practice to get the skill.)

There is one major obstacle, however. People in O-Land really look down on covert persuasion. Rand herself did, too, even as she used it. So you have to get over that hump. And don't rationalize it, either. It is what it is.

Judge how it's used, who uses it and to what end, not that fact that it exists. It will continue to exist whether you want to understand how it works, or think it's evil, or even foolishly think you are immune to it. (Nobody is immune. We all have a human brain.)

For example, if all you see left over after someone has been very successful at covert persuasion is a big wad of nothing except luxury trappings for the manipulator, judge that. If the covert persuader has persuaded and you see economic hardships for others, good people destroyed, or war and desolation, judge that.

If, as remains, however, you see magnificent real estate developments, top rated TV shows themed on excellence, bestselling books at how to improve yourself, and similar things, I say judge that, too.

How you judge these things when you see underneath the rhetoric will say just as much about you as about them.

Michael

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This country is now so morally corrupt with its wars abroad and at home it has lost its right to moral existence. Fighting for the right Presidential candidate is simply fighting for more of the same unless it's Rand Paul. Since he has no real idea I know about about the government's proper function respecting national defense--as opposed to national offense--the only rational course for any individual thinking himself or herself as an American is to know that has nothing to do with one's citizenship and most people who think they are Americans are essentially delusional. I now favor mostly open borders and immigration. This country might be saved if its balls get cut off, but most who want to be President want those balls for fighting reasons and the illusion the country's balls are going to be their balls as soon as the oath of office is taken during the coronation, so let's "defend" our borders and put another million black men into prison and go to war with Iran. Not this little war we've now got. A real big shoot 'em upper.


Just like the Germans in the 1930s, we are living in some fucked up and insane matrix we think has something to do with "freedom." The Germans had their own words from their own culture. If you want to experience the reality of this country in the raw--just a little--go get on an airplane. or try to. The TSA may be the only honest Federal agency in its day to day public deportment. Why they want to see us naked is really queer--whatever that "why" is.

War on drugs: millions in prison. The police ever more like the Gestapo.

The Vietnam War: 3-6 million dead depending on whether the Cambodian communist genocide is included.

The war on DDT: maybe 50 million dead young children and babies and half a billion people infected with malaria.

The first Gulf War and its aftermath: maybe a couple of hundred thousand Iraqi soldiers bulldozed into mass graves. There was also some horrible aftermath crap involving children not getting their medicine, but I haven't the details and it may be false.

The next one, 2001 to now: let's just say a trillion dollars, let God add up the dead.

The war on science--I mean, the war on carbon, the dead and wounded to metaphorically follow.

Oh, let's talk about our Emperor Obama--

--Brant

send us your Muslims crying to live free!

(Is a screed irrational because it's a screed?)

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Resurrecting rhetoric has been a lifelong slog for me.

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural were great honest and motivating rhetoric.

Like any concept it has its positive and negative connotation.

Rhetoric is a tool that Aristotle believed, as best we can surmise from the notes of his students, a techne and an arte.

Additionally, as defined technically, it is developing all the available means of proof in the given case.

Again, Aristotle's concept was that if good and evil were armed with the same tools, good will triumph.

Rhetoric is that tool. It also requires knowledge and discipline to be effective.

A...

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A tool needs to be in the right hands. What are the lying professions? Sales, marketing, politics, & law. Given that Trump is very good rhetorically, his honesty needs to come sharply in focus. In "Art of the Deal" he seemed to admire one of his managers a very great deal, a manager he called "the best he every had" who he acknowledged was a liar and a thief, who he knew stole $50,000/year from him, and stole from and bullied his employees. And how do you explain away his support of eminent domain? Does he really care about anything besides his own power, wealth and prestige? Again, it's easy to say "Make America Great", hard to explain exactly what he means by that. We don't need a cross between Barnum and Putin in the White House.

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A tool needs to be in the right hands. What are the lying professions? Sales, marketing, politics, & law. Given that Trump is very good rhetorically, his honesty needs to come sharply in focus. In "Art of the Deal" he seemed to admire one of his managers a very great deal, a manager he called "the best he every had" who he acknowledged was a liar and a thief, who he knew stole $50,000/year from him, and stole from and bullied his employees. And how do you explain away his support of eminent domain? Does he really care about anything besides his own power, wealth and prestige? Again, it's easy to say "Make America Great", hard to explain exactly what he means by that. We don't need a cross between Barnum and Putin in the White House.

Not having read his book, I cannot comment on that aspect.

However, we are choosing, once again, amongst the lesser of the "evils" being offered.

Therefore, I can deal with his use of eminent domain, not happy at all about it, however, if is a minor problem in the broader scope of his candidacy.

Out of curiosity, how are you handling Fiorina's stance on abortion?

A...

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A tool needs to be in the right hands. What are the lying professions? Sales, marketing, politics, & law. Given that Trump is very good rhetorically, his honesty needs to come sharply in focus. In "Art of the Deal" he seemed to admire one of his managers a very great deal, a manager he called "the best he every had" who he acknowledged was a liar and a thief, who he knew stole $50,000/year from him, and stole from and bullied his employees. And how do you explain away his support of eminent domain? Does he really care about anything besides his own power, wealth and prestige? Again, it's easy to say "Make America Great", hard to explain exactly what he means by that. We don't need a cross between Barnum and Putin in the White House.

Not having read his book, I cannot comment on that aspect.

However, we are choosing, once again, amongst the lesser of the "evils" being offered.

Therefore, I can deal with his use of eminent domain, not happy at all about it, however, if is a minor problem in the broader scope of his candidacy.

Out of curiosity, how are you handling Fiorina's stance on abortion?

A...

I have the Kindle version of AotD and I don't know how to copy and paste excerpts. I can capture and save *.jpg's of the text but they cannot, as far as I know, be added to OL posts. The Kindle book is cheap however. I found other things that disturb me in this book, character issues. "Winner" doesn't impress me, it's how you win. I believe in hard work and treating your fellow man with respect and as individuals, not being a clone of Donald Trump doesn't make someone a "loser".

Carly believes 20 weeks is an appropriate cut off, I have to agree. http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/far-from-a-hospital-a-1-5-pound-miracle-preemie-is-born-on-a-cruise-ship-and-survives-1222991

No taxpayer should have to fund what they believe is murder.

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Carly believes 20 weeks is an appropriate cut off, I have to agree. http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/far-from-a-hospital-a-1-5-pound-miracle-preemie-is-born-on-a-cruise-ship-and-survives-1222991

No taxpayer should have to fund what they believe is murder.

Fair enough.

You realize that this argument is linked to "viability" which is a real short slippery slope to the Greek "quickening" position and an even shorter slide to a much earlier time in the pregnancy process.

A...

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Carly believes 20 weeks is an appropriate cut off, I have to agree. http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/far-from-a-hospital-a-1-5-pound-miracle-preemie-is-born-on-a-cruise-ship-and-survives-1222991

No taxpayer should have to fund what they believe is murder.

Fair enough.

You realize that this argument is linked to "viability" which is a real short slippery slope to the Greek "quickening" position and an even shorter slide to a much earlier time in the pregnancy process.

A...

There is a slippery slope in both directions. Twenty weeks is probably as close as you'll get to where people are least likely to fight over it. The extremists on both ends won't be satisfied but the majority of the population will no longer believe actual human beings are being killed.

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Sales is not a "lying profession." All professions require sales. If sales were a lying profession one would be selling lies, not clothes, automobiles and insurance. Go ahead, bundle up 10 lies and label them "LIES" and go out and sell them (before you go hungry).

--Brant

death of a Death of a Salesman

seriously, sales is no true profession at all: selling X is a profession; selling Y is a profession, selling Z is a profession--the calumny is not fair

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Sales is not a "lying profession." All professions require sales. If sales were a lying profession one would be selling lies, not clothes, automobiles and insurance. Go ahead, bundle up 10 lies and label them "LIES" and go out and sell them (before you go hungry).

--Brant

death of a Death of a Salesman

seriously, sales is no true profession at all: selling X is a profession; selling Y is a profession, selling Z is a profession--the calumny is not fair

Please. Take any business, the best liars are in sales and marketing. Commission = lie your ass off. Engineering is constantly trying (and failing) to get marketing to tone down from impossible to merely unlikely. Of course there are honest salesmen. The exception proves the rule.

Wars of defense are not murder and are one of the few real functions of government. Do you really think you were engaged in murder?

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Now Mike, I'm not thinking it's murder in war. I'm referring to the taxpayer that does.

--Brant

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Now Mike, I'm not thinking it's murder in war. I'm referring to the taxpayer that does.

--Brant

And pacifist taxpayers!

lynchmob.gif

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... I can deal with his use of eminent domain, ...

A slight correction: It's my understanding Trump attempted to use eminent domain three times (one of which was in Scotland of all places), and failed in the courts all three times. That he failed doesn't mean he wasn't a jerk for trying, but I'm glad his promoters can say he never actually used eminent domain.

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... I can deal with his use of eminent domain, ...

A slight correction: It's my understanding Trump attempted to use eminent domain three times (one of which was in Scotland of all places), and failed in the courts all three times. That he failed doesn't mean he wasn't a jerk for trying, but I'm glad his promoters can say he never actually used eminent domain.

Yeah. That's worth a bucket of warm spit. Ranks up there with his never going bankrupt.

--Brant

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Yeah. That's worth a bucket of warm spit. Ranks up there with his never going bankrupt.

--Brant

The fact is that The Donald has never declared personal bankruptcy.

The 3-4 times that bankruptcy has been employed were in the Atlantic City situations and were Chapter 11's.

A...

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I'm going to look into it eventually, but I don't know why Atlantic City (where most of Trump's problems happened, bankruptcy and eminent domain) became so bad for the casino business. It got bad for everyone, not just Trump. Bankruptcies included.

I suspect government meddling.

It sounds more to me like Trump survived a craphole than he tried to become a big-government dictator or thief. But then again, I admit my bias.

Michael

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