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How to Un-Hypnotize a Rabid Anti-Trumper - Dilbert Blog

How to Un-Hypnotize a Rabid Anti-Trumper

Regular readers of this blog know I’m a trained hypnotist. I’ve been studying the ways of persuasion – in all its forms – for decades. 

My background in persuasion is the reason I recognized last summer that Trump would exceed most people’s expectations. He was pitch-perfect on persuasion technique. If you don’t study persuasion, Trump’s actions appear random and even dangerous. If you do know how persuasion works, you probably realize Trump is in a league of his own.

You think I’m overstating the case for persuasion. Perhaps you think Trump is doing well for a variety of reasons that include his accurate reading of the Republican base.

But Trump’s accurate reading of the Republican base is part of the art of persuasion. None of what you see in Trump’s election success so far is luck or coincidence. It is technique. If you’re not trained to see it, the method is invisible.

For example, I have already used several persuasion techniques in the paragraphs above. If I were to see another writer use these same persuasion methods on me, I would recognize them. But most of you did not recognize the methods – at least not all of them – when I used them right in front of you.

Persuasion hides in plain sight.

Just for fun, I’ve un-hypnotized several rabid anti-Trumpers lately. It takes less than ten minutes, requires nothing but conversation, and you can probably pull it off just by reading how I did it. Here’s how.

Un-Hypnotizing a Rabid Anti-Trumper

When you encounter a rabid anti-Trumper, ask her what are the biggest concerns of a potential Trump presidency. 

If “Supreme Court nominee” is one of the top objections, discontinue your persuasion for ethical reasons. This person has put some thought into the decision and has a legitimate opinion that is at least partly based on reason. I don’t recommend changing that person’s mind.

But if a person’s main objections to Trump include any the following four reasons, I would consider it ethical to apply persuasion.

Objection 1: Trump is a loose cannon who might offend other countries and maybe even start a nuclear war.

Objection 2: Trump is terrible at business because he has several bankruptcies.

Objection 3: Trump is a racist.

Objection 4: Trump is anti-women and anti-LGBT

If any of those four objections are behind an anti-Trumper’s opinion, you have ethical license to persuade, so long as you are sticking to facts and adding context. I’ll show you how to do that with each objection. 

Objection 1: Trump is a loose cannon who might offend other countries and maybe even start a nuclear war.

Persuasion: Trump has five decades of acting rational in business dealings, and getting along with people all over the world, including China and Russia. By now you would have heard stories of Trump being a loose cannon in his business dealings if such a thing had happened. We are hearing no stories of that nature. And people don’t suddenly change character at age 70. (That last sentence is the important one.)

How risky is Trump? Consider that Trump has never had an alcoholic beverage. He was against the Iraq war. He doesn’t want boots on the ground in Syria. He wants a strong military to discourage war. Trump personally gains nothing from war, but he has a lot to lose, including every building with his name on it. 

Putin already seems to like Trump. They are similar characters in terms of their persuasion talents. And it wouldn’t hurt to be on good terms with Russia while we go after ISIS. Trump seems to have that relationship covered.

Trump has been negotiating with the Chinese for years, with no problems yet. And the Chinese leaders are not children. They got their positions by being great deal-makers, like Trump. They might not want to negotiate against Trump, but they aren’t afraid of his personality type. Trump often tells us that his first bid in any negotiation is super-aggressive. China knows it too. They are not naive. They can tell the difference between a negotiator and a madman.

Objection 2: Trump is terrible at business, as proven by his several bankruptcies.

Persuasion: Ask how many bankruptcies Trump has had. Most people say between 5-10. Then ask how many entities Trump has his name on. The answer is about 500. Then ask if that is a good performance for an entrepreneur who is often trying things in new fields.

(Asking questions in that fashion is good persuasion technique. It removes the adversarial frame and gives the person a sense of coming to a new conclusion without pressure.)

Then explain how licensing works. Trump puts his name on various products and he gets paid even if the product or company does poorly in the end. That’s an example of Trump taking the LEAST risk in a deal. The other parties take larger risks and frequently fail. Trump gets paid either way. All parties to the deals have lawyers who review everything. Trump isn’t taking advantage of people with his licensing deals. Licensees are knowingly accepting the riskier side of the deal because they also have the biggest potential upside.

Trump doesn’t like risk. We see it in lots of ways. For example, Trump has never been in a physical fight. He asked his wives to sign prenups. He creates separate entities so some can go bankrupt without bringing down the rest. He licenses his name so he gets paid even if the company buying the license does not make a profit. And he diversifies his portfolio to reduce exposure to any one risk. 

Based on everything we see, Trump consistently tries hard to avoid risk in everything he does. And people don’t change character at age 70. 

The exceptions to Trump’s risk-avoidance include some of the provocative stuff he is saying during the campaign. That behavior looks risky to most observers, but it was exactly what got him the Republican nomination. Evidently, Trump takes risks when doing so makes sense.

Objection 3: Trump is a racist.

Trump has never mentioned race beyond pointing how how many African-Americans and Latinos support him. Ask your anti-Trumper to offer evidence otherwise. Then point out…

Mexico is a country, not a race.

Islam is open to all races.

If the topic of Judge Curiel comes up, point out that all human beings are biased by their life experiences. Ask anti-Trumpers if they think Curiel would be comfortable at his next family gathering if his verdict favors Trump. (Notice the question form of persuasion again.)

Acknowledge that Trump was offensive when he attacked the judge’s parental connections to Mexico. But note that it is also good persuasion and good legal strategy. It puts the judge in the tough spot of either siding with Trump or appearing biased if he does not.

Then point out that only the Democrats are talking about race. And all of that race talk has been divisive. Trump has literally never said a negative thing about race during this election. 

(Professional pundits will talk about Trump’s so-called “racist dog-whistles,” but normal voters do not mention it. They don’t know what it means.)

Objection 3.1: But Trump wants to discriminate based on religion!

Persuasion: Clarify to the subject of your persuasion that Trump only wants to discriminate against non-citizens. That is literally the job description of a president. 

For context, point out that Islam is unique among religions in that it includes an order from God that Muslims should overthrow any government that is not compatible with Islam. Moderate Muslims around the world ignore that part of the religion, but refugees are coming from places where it is considered mandatory.

I don’t think other religions have a mandatory requirement to overthrow the government. So comparisons to other religions are nonsense. And the job of the president includes knowing when to make exceptions. 

If you think we can screen Muslim immigrants well enough to stop all of the terrorists and future revolutionaries, just think about any job in which you had coworkers. Remember how incompetent some of them were? Those are the types of people screening immigrants. Does that feel safe to you?

Objection 4: Trump is anti-women and anti-LGBT

Persuasion:

Trump is the only candidate calling out Islam for its followers’ views on women and the LGBT community.

Trump wants women to have the right to own guns to protect themselves. 

Trump is the only candidate concerned about crimes against women that are perpetrated by illegal immigrants from Mexico.

Trump has a long business record of promoting women to executive positions in his company. He was doing it years before it was fashionable.

The women in his personal life – including his ex-wives – seem to like him. 

Trump is offensive in the way he has talked about women. But keep in mind that Trump has offended nearly everyone at some point. 

The way to know your persuasion is working is that your subject will change the topic instead of addressing your point. 

Example:

You: Mexico is not a race.

Subject: Well, Trump also had bankruptcies.

Don’t allow the topic to change. Instead, say again whatever you said just before it did. Make each point about three times, with slightly different wording each time. After the third restatement of your point, without an objection from your subject, allow the topic to change. It means you won.

Let me know how it works out.

Note: I endorsed Hillary Clinton for my personal safety, because I live in California. But my political views do not align with any of the candidates for president.

Personally, I would do better under a Clinton presidency. If Clinton gets elected, no one will blame me for anything she does in office. But if Trump wins, my blogging about his persuasion skills will make it look like my fault every time he does something you don’t like. I don’t need that trouble.

Also, as a top one-percenter, I’m winning under the current system. Trump is the only candidate who has the persuasion skills to increase tax rates on the rich, so #imwithher, for selfish reasons.

If you think this blog post has some persuasion in it, you should see my book