Near As I Can Tell…

…at about this time last year there was exactly one pundit, anywhere in the US or elsewhere, that predicted Donald Trump would win the GOP nomination; heck, I know of only one who predicted Trump would make it past Christmas.

He also happens to be one of America’s painfully-few business writers who are worth reading; Scott Adams, cartoonist and creator of Dilbert.

He was also pretty much alone, last spring, in predicting Trump would win the presidency.  And like all predictions, that one is still very much a long shot.

But Adams has switched his endorsement – comical as it is – from Hillary to Trump.

And as little as I’ve personally ever cared for Trump’s public persona, Adams explains something about The Donald that I do get, and that most of our media and chattering classes are too myopic to understand:

5. Pacing and Leading: Trump always takes the extreme position on matters of safety and security for the country, even if those positions are unconstitutional, impractical, evil, or something that the military would refuse to do. Normal people see this as a dangerous situation. Trained persuaders like me see this as something called pacing and leading. Trump “paces” the public – meaning he matches them in their emotional state, and then some. He does that with his extreme responses on immigration, fighting ISIS, stop-and-frisk, etc. Once Trump has established himself as the biggest bad-ass on the topic, he is free to “lead,” which we see him do by softening his deportation stand, limiting his stop-and-frisk comment to Chicago, reversing his first answer on penalties for abortion, and so on. If you are not trained in persuasion, Trump look scary. If you understand pacing and leading, you might see him as the safest candidate who has ever gotten this close to the presidency. That’s how I see him.

So when Clinton supporters ask me how I could support a “fascist,” the answer is that he isn’t one. Clinton’s team, with the help of Godzilla, have effectively persuaded the public to see Trump as scary. The persuasion works because Trump’s “pacing” system is not obvious to the public. They see his “first offers” as evidence of evil. They are not. They are technique.

Most pundits have never had to negotiate anything beyond their salary – and that rarely works out well, these days, either.  In any case, too many of our chattering class believe that what Obama, Clinton and Kerry did in Iran, North Korea and Ukraine was “negotation”.  It was – in the same sense that Rodney King’s interaction with the police was.

I’m still not a fan of Trump’s public persona.  I still think his election is a long shot.

But then, like all of the A-through-Y-list pundits above me, I’ve been wrong about everything else, this cycle.

18 thoughts on “Near As I Can Tell…

  1. I think Adam’s endorsement of Hillary was always tongue in cheek. He’s suggested it was a matter of self preservation, living, as he does, among seething hordes of reprehensible leftists. He doesn’t want to risk having some filthy SJW spit at him, probably…I don’t blame him.

  2. I’ll only claim to be an Omega-list pundit or predictor, but I always thought Trump had a chance just because he was taking positions that were so far out of establishment thought that he would be able to carve out a relatively large minority that he could ride to victory in a crowded primary field. He wasn’t my first, second, or even third choice, but I thought he had a chance.

    Right now Trump only has a chance because the Hildebeast is so loathsome that even liberals are reluctant to vote for her.

    As for Adams, it was quite clear he was tongue in cheek in his Hillary “endorsement.” He may be right about the pacing and leadership comment, but he’s right that staking out an extreme position and then “compromising” on what he wanted in the first place can be viewed as leadership. It’s certainly a negotiating strategy — just look at the regressives now trying to foist single payer off on us by saying that just because their first horrible formulation of health care reform failed badly we shouldn’t listen to those who correctly pointed out their idiocy and instead try their new idea of the government running everything explicitly instead of implicitly.

  3. What Scott Adams is doing is pure spin. It has no merit as analysis, nor does he have any credible basis as a pundit OR an analyst in leadership. You make the error of assuming he has any rational understanding or knowledge. This is not a legitimate technique of leadership. Adams is excellent as a cartoonist; it would be a mistake to take him too seriously outside that expertise.

    All Adams has really established here is that Trump is an extremist, and he flip flops when the pressure is on — like his birther position. Add he is a liar, given the number of fact checks he failed, from his claim about Clinton’s campaign staffer on CNN admitting the birther idea came from her campaign. It did not and that was not what was said on CNN. A fired staffer circulated a birther email from 2004, an idea started by a right wing nut job in IL by the name of Andy Martin who was running against Trump (and lost) and was then the staffer was fired for the email and for acting against the policies of the campaign.

    Trump conspicuously failed to answer repeated questions about hwy he continued to promote the birther conspiracy after the birth certificate was provided, OR why he changed his tune. He clearly changed his tune because birtherism is a loser position; Trump will SAY anything that gets him votes or attention.

    What Trump did last night was repeatedly show he has no self-control; he interrupted Hillary 25 times in the first 26 minutes of the debate. And Trump showed he was a serial liar and tragically uninformed. For example, there is no ISIS control of oil supplies in Libya or anywhere outside of a rapidly decreasing area of Syria and Iraq. On stop and frisk, it WAS ruled unconstitutional, and while the decision was challenged, the judge’s decision was left in place, and there is no evidence that any subsequent challenge would reverse or change it. That is ill-informed speculation, since the US Constitution prohibits it per the 4th Amendment.
    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
    Further there is no evidence that stop and frisk is effective, given the declines in crime occurred equally in other places that did not use stop and frisk, AND it is the prevailing opinion in criminology that stop and frisk is not effective. That includes studies on Stop and Frisk specifically in New York City.
    Rosenfeld, Richard; Fornango, Robert (2014-01-02). “The Impact of Police Stops on Precinct Robbery and Burglary Rates in New York City, 2003-2010″. Justice Quarterly. 31 (1): 96–122. doi:10.1080/07418825.2012.712152. ISSN 0741-8825

    “While violent crimes fell 29 percent in New York City from 2001 to 2010, other large cities experienced larger violent crime declines without relying on stop and frisk abuses: 59 percent in Los Angeles, 56 percent in New Orleans, 49 percent in Dallas, and 37 percent in Baltimore.”

    Stop and frisk IS however blamed for the erosion of confidence and perception of racial and ethnic persecution, which is a problem Trump’s spouting law and order crap won’t improve.

    Hillary showed last night the difference between factual understanding, logic and reason, versus emotional thinking.

    Trump did poorly on any point in which he was fact checked, notably his tweet about climate change being a Chinese conspiracy, and that oil fields in Libya are controlled by ISIS.

  4. RCP just put us in as a swing state. Expect this to be huge news once people stop talking about the debate

  5. DG would just commit the “appeal to authority” logical fallacy and dismiss him as just a “crap cartoonist”.

  6. What was Trump’s book title? “The Art of the Deal”

    They see his “first offers” as evidence of evil. They are not. They are technique.

    When you want to negotiate, you don’t start with your end goal. If you’ve accepted a new job and you think you’re worth $75K, you don’t start with asking for $75K because you will not end up with $75K. You start way over, and negotiate to a mutually beneficial and agreed upon end point. Start with $90K, and allow the company to work you down to $75K so you achieve your financial goal, and the company has achieved the opposite in reducing labor.

    Reading that Adams paragraph was enlightening in that it reminded me of something I’ve known for years. And Adams enlightening me about Trump’s technique, vastly raises my opinion of Trump. And yes, it’s stunning to see how much of the country just doesn’t get it.

  7. This makes some sense. If Drumpf were as much a BS’er in business life as he appears to be in politics, I’d have written him off a long time ago. The big question I have, then, is what he actually believes. Can hardly be worse than Hilliary, especially since everybody seems to hate him. There is something to be said for having 67 or more Senators who are willing to throw your rear end out on the street if you misbehave, something that Hilliary does not have.

  8. It’s very interesting for Adams as well that he’s turning on Hilliary for the estate tax, when he’s got no children. Must have some heirs he wants to bless!

    Or maybe it’s just cover for the fact that he really, really, really doesn’t want the race war that Hilliary and her former boss are wandering into. We know that Adams is well aware of misdirection and how Trump operates; perhaps he uses it as well.

  9. I’m glad you all know what America First is all about, because to me it seems to be nothing but an empty slogan, with absolutely no plans or policies behind it. It’s fine to dislike the establishment, but it is not obvious, or even likely, that any alternative to the establishment is preferable. I’ll vote for the establishment over some self-loving blowhard with nothing but empty slogans.

  10. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 09.27.16 : The Other McCain

  11. Adams lives in Cali and is ONLY taxed at 50% combined federal and state? He’s under charging for Dilbert.

  12. SmithStCrx: I think his performance may have been a deliberate strategy. I am curious to see the poll numbers over the coming days. (Scott Adams agrees: But he is stark raving mad, so I do not take much consolation from that.)

  13. Adams is excellent as a cartoonist; it would be a mistake to take him too seriously outside that expertise.

    This, from a mentally deficient puppy mill proprietor working out of a single wide that fancies itself a world famous author, economics expert, surgeon, constitutional scholar, scientist, and foreign policy savant.


  14. All Adams has really established here is that Trump is an extremist, and he flip flops when the pressure is on — like his birther position

    Demonstrating that the knee-jerk hater in the peanut gallery knows even less about effective management and negotiation than I know about neurology.

  15. I like the part where Mad Dog thinks that calling Trump a liar differentiates him from his opponent. Say what?

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