Monday, September 19, 2016

Why Trump is Likely to Win the Presidential Election

The other day my wife, Evie, asked why I’ve been saying for months that Trump will more than likely win the American Presidential election. Following are my reasons.

I will note for the reader that I am an independent voter who will not be voting for the  Republican nominee, Mr. Trump. My reasons for not doing so will be saved for another posting.

Following are reasons as to why I see that Trump will likely win the 2016 presidential election:

1.     As with his primary run, Trump will run an aggressive image marketing campaign defining himself as a glamorous successful man who has the answers to the nation's woes. That he is not as successful in business as he proclaims will not become an issue as he will hide the data from public examination. He will continue to use the old Madison Avenue technique, projecting an image and brand being primary, with the content and depth of policy secondary, and possibly lacking on most issues. As with his primary opponents, Hillary Clinton and her team will run a standard political campaign which is a plan that is not adequate to fighting a populist marketing and branding campaign. An image marketing and branding campaign, even when it lacks depth of policy content, will defeat a traditional formulaic political campaign.

2.     As with the primaries, Trump will successfully rebrand his opponent in a negative light. He is building upon what the Republicans have been quietly doing for decades, demonizing and attacking both Clintons, both subtly and openly. Even though most of his statements and attacks upon others is a projection of his own insecurities and issues, by repeatedly uttering the attacks in an entertaining way, they will stick to the opponent, and not viewed as his own issues. Further helping Trump is that for decades the Republicans have demonized both Clinton, creating a strong revulsion and fear towards the Clintons within the party and a large number of independents. Trump’s rebranding work builds off this instilled fear of her.

3.     In a mass marketing, image projection is critical. Projecting charisma is a Trump asset. History is replete with examples, including several since in the 1900s, where nations and people followed an electrifying person who gave them simple shallow answers to complicated fears and issues. Trump has a core of supporters who have bought into his image cult (personality cult?) that even a series of shocking and disturbing actions may not break the aura. Though Clinton is an analytical thinker with thought out policies, she is not charismatic in the least. Clinton lacks the ability to move people or clearly articulate a well defined vision. She is coming across as yesterday's person. To get the masses for vote "for her" vs. just being against the other candidate, an articulate coherent and concise vision must be articulated. The image of a steady, experienced hand will not win her the White House. With little content Trump will move people to vote for him because she is visionless. People will vote for a showman with no convictions and incoherent policies as long as he utters the right platitudes and plays to their fears.  

4.    Trump is a highly skilled pitch man, promising and saying whatever needs to said to close the deal with his targeted audience. That he has a history of over-promising and under-delivering will not be an issue because Clinton will not be able to define him as such. Trump's inability to articulate detailed plans to his broad oversimplified statements will not ultimately bother a significant portion of the electorate, and when he is in office, his personality tantrums and lack of governing skills will not both these least for ten to fifteen months after taking office. Let us not take lightly that Trump has the ability to sell a clunker car to the public as if it was the greatest thing, and turn questions about that clunker into a lack of trust of him and a personal attack. He has used such the techniques for years, and techniques that have been used by populist pitchmen throughout the centuries. His supporters dismiss both his outlandish statements and his significant character issues, and will continue to do so for well into his presidency. His strategy from day one has been targeted to the Caucasian population who is fearful of the changing face of the nation by promising them that he will alleviate and address the causes of their fears.

5.  While not representing the majority of Americans, Trump will continue to tap into the base nature of people, giving voice to their fears while assuring them that he is their savior and will make their lives better. Any national or international mass shooting or terrorist event, or a poor economic report, will be used to fuel fears. To many white people who are fearful of the growing diversity in the nation, he channels their fears while promising them relief when he arrives in office. Though he will not be able to articulate any answers beyond the broad statements and platitudes, his statements and promises that he will have the best people work on the issue will be adequate. Healthcare and North Korea are two such issues that he claims have been handled by morons, that with him in office both are simple fixes that will be completed in the first 90-days. Any thinking person knows that these complex issues are not that simple but many in the electorate don't care about what will be the governing reality. When people are in fear, people will believe in empty assurances when they are given with confidence. Do not discount by the high number of the Caucasian vote turn out to off-set the strength of the Hispanic vote that will go for Clinton.  

6.      Trump will win male blue collar workers by more than 22 pts. This group has tended to vote for Democrats but will not be supporting Clinton. Blue collar men have been more harmed by the international economy. Also, this demographic is the most reticent group to vote for a female for president. Trump’s appeal to the fears of this group will deliver him the rust belt states Ohio, Michigan and possibly Pennsylvania. Also, the similar segment blue-collar retirees and the large religious right community will help deliver Trump Florida by two to three points.

7.     Clinton has a major problem with men, and the problem is so deep and broad that her advantage with women and minorities will be more than off-set by Trump’s advantage with men and the evangelical Christian community. Because of Clinton, the number of men who will come out in this election will be significantly higher than normal. There is a sizable portion of the male American population who are not prepared to vote for a female for president (they will accept a female vice-president on the ticket) because they feel they are being neutered by a changing society. This dynamic will be particularly evidenced the men who are over 35 years of age in the military veteran community. In contrast Trump comes off as a successful man's man with beautiful women around him, which will be a major draw to blue collar men and more rural men.

8.     Clinton has a major personality issue and sexist stereotypes attached to her that will impact the results. In the business world, study after study demonstrate that when a woman says and does exactly what a man does, she is perceived more negatively than her male counterpart. As with most women in major leadership positions Clinton is viewed as cold, pushy and harsh. A man doing the same would be viewed as being strong. If she was quiet and reflective, she would be viewed as being week in leadership qualities. These stereotypes will be difficult for any woman running for the presidency to overcome for at least another 4 presidential election cycles. 

     The same holds true in American politics and business where major female leaders have been viewed negatively by the general public. That she is at best a mediocre campaigner will only reinforce her. Magnifying this image is the negative view of Clinton has been driven by 25 years of demonizing her with harsh language so that she is viewed as being evasive and untruthful, and at moments she has done things that play into that image. While Trump is highly snarly when you cross him and aggressively attacks a person who he sees as a threat, people will overlook and forgive him doing this....possibly saying that he is justified in his crude attacks. They will overlook it because it will play into his maleness, image and charm. While Trump is less truthful and forthcoming than Clinton, he is not viewed in that light, partially because he has been successful projects his shortcomings upon others.

9.     As Trump has not held elected office, there is no public policy record that he has to defend from attack. Any old statements denied as occurring or explained away. A sizable portion of the electorate are very accepting of his lack of clarity. Also, decades of non-disclosure statements for every employ will limit insights into his corporate world processes and conduct. His tax returns will not be released primarily because the returns may well be contrary to what he is projecting with regard to his income, wealth and philanthropic spirit. While he has no public policy record to defend, a personal implosion or an over the top reaction to an issue with outrageous personal attacks could be his undoing if they occur in the six weeks prior to election day. When in office, his lack of governing experience will quickly become a deficit, and his first year will be chaotic, possibly even more than chaotic if his personality quirks and tantrums become regularly evidenced.
10. And lastly, the IS factor. We should not be surprised if there is a terrorist attack within the last eighteen to thirty days before the election, as happened in Spain. By fueling anger and the worse of our human natures, the attack(s) will be timed to impact the elections so that the emotions will still be raw in the last days, and thereby impacting the election in a significant manner. IS would love nothing more than to impact the election and against the incumbent president’s party (if a Republican was in office they would try to prevent a Republican from being the next president). If there is a terrorist attack in the last days, Trump will carry the election in a landslide in both the electoral college and in the popular vote, possibly including New York state.

When all is said and done, the Democrats will regret that they did not measure Clinton's image outside the party, and see that she is a deeply flawed candidate. At the end, some may wonder what could have happened if Joe Biden had early support and entered the primaries.