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The Trump Versus Sanders Match-up: Part of the Trump Persuasion Series - Dilbert Blog

The Trump Versus Sanders Match-up: Part of the Trump Persuasion Series

Smart people tell me that Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Party’s best hope for beating Donald Trump. Some say Sanders has sensible ideas based on models that have worked elsewhere. He reminds us of the angry yet lovable uncle we now realize has been right all along. We wish we had paid attention to Bernie instead of allowing ourselves to be distracted by Kardashians and Trumps. 

Supporters of Bernie Sanders say his insider experience matched with his outsider mentality, his ability to speak truth, his compassion for people, and his fighting spirit are exactly what this country needs. I have no reason to disagree with any of that. I can see the appeal. But I haven’t looked into any of Sanders’ actual ideas. And I wouldn’t be psychic enough to know how good those ideas are anyway.

But I don’t think it matters.

I have been blogging about Trump’s linguistic mastery, but he is also a wizard at visual imagery and branding. And he knows a thing or two about strategy. If history is our guide, Trump only achieved a full boner for the presidency when three conditions were met:

1. Trump got a strong start in the polls because of name recognition. (Check)

2. Trump’s brand value and International influence would increase even if he did not go all the way. (Check)

3. Trump had some sort of natural match-up advantage over each individual in the field. In other words, the chess board was set for a win. (Check)

By traditional political reckoning, one could argue that Bernie Sanders is an exceptionally strong “outsider” candidate in an election where the common wisdom says the public wants an outsider. You would expect a close race if Sanders and Trump squared off at the end.

But on the third dimension of chess that Trump plays, Sanders is extraordinarily disadvantaged compared to Trump. The third dimension is the irrational connections you make in your mind, often engineered by Master Wizards, but in this case one that occurred naturally and Trump recognized the opening.

I’ll show you what I mean. And you should stop reading here if you do not want to be permanently influenced. This is a real warning. You can’t unsee what follows.

—- influence starts here —-

When you think of Sanders, or Trump, you have one image in your mind for each that is some average of the photos and videos you have seen. But you also reflexively associate each candidate with a variety of other images based on associations you have picked up over time.

For example, when you think of Trump, you also automatically associate him with a variety of images he has carefully cultivated in your mind for decades. Here are a few images you reflexively associate him with.

Trump Image Association one (his name is right on it)

Trump Image Association two (check out his suit colors)

Trump Image Association three (and the obvious)

Yes, Trump literally dresses in American Flag colors, and has for decades. Love him or hate him, his entire visual vibe is oriented toward power, success, and country.

Then we have Bernie Sanders. This is where we have the match-up problem. When you think of Bernie Sanders, what visual associations automatically jump into your head? Don’t click the next link until you have that secondary image in your head. Remember, this is not what Sanders looks like, rather just the reflex association that springs to mind, the way money springs to mind with Trump.

When I think of Bernie Sanders, here’s the image I see.

I’m not kidding. And I apologize for even mentioning it, but it is central to explaining this prediction:

Prediction: If Sanders is the Democratic nominee, Trump will win with 65% of the popular vote. And pundits will wonder why the voters ignored sensible leadership in favor of the spectacle that is Trump.

For more on the Moist Robot view of the world, you can read my book about success.

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