If you are following the media coverage after the GOP convention, you know that Democrats and their surrogates are describing Trump’s speech as “dark.” The first ten times I heard the word, I thought it might be a situation in which someone clever used the term once and others copied it.
That is not the case.
“Dark” is a linguistic kill shot from the left. I assume all the TV pundits on Clinton’s team got the message to use the word “dark” right out of the gate. I confess that at first I didn’t recognize how good it is. It’s designed, Trump-style, and it didn’t come from an amateur. The Clinton team is playing some serious 3D chess now.
Do you remember all of those policy details Clinton talked about this week? Me neither. She’s done with that uselessness now. She went full-Voldemort on Trump this week and unleashed a “dark” spell. It’s a good one.
Let me tell you why “dark” is so good.
1. It’s unique. That’s a Trump trick. You haven’t heard “dark” used before in a political context. That makes it memorable and sticky. And it brings no baggage with it to this domain because no other politician has been so labelled.
2. Dark makes you think of black, and black makes you think of racism (in the political season anyway), and that makes you reflexively pair Trump with racism even though it makes no sense.
3. Dark can describe anything scary. It invites the listener to fill in the nightmare with whatever scares them the most about Trump. That’s a hypnosis trick. Leave out the details and let people fill in the story that persuades them the most.
4. Repetition. Dark is the kind of word that pundits can work into almost any answer when talking about Trump. That means you’ll hear it a lot.
I don’t think this one word will change the election by much. But it’s a sign that Clinton has at least one world-class persuader/advisor on the team. I have a feeling I know who. This linguistic kill shot has a partial fingerprint. If I’m right, Godzilla just got into the game.
But if I’m wrong, you might also like my book.