Did the United States Just Elect a Monster?
No. Clinton’s team of cognitive scientists and professional persuaders did a terrific job of framing Trump as scary. The illusion will wear off – albeit slowly – as you observe Trump going about the job of President and taking it seriously. You can expect him to adjust his tone and language going forward. You can expect foreign leaders to say they can work with him. You can expect him to focus on unifying an exhausted and nervous country. And you can expect him to succeed in doing so. (He’s persuasive.) Watch as Trump turns to healing. You’re going to be surprised how well he does it. But give it time.
I’ll be doing my persuasive best to help our new president unify the country. I’m not a monster either – just a little bit deplorable when the situation calls for it. And I would ask other Trump supporters to step up and be useful as well. If you helped elect Trump, you have a responsibility to calm the nerves of Clinton supporters who also have their country’s best interests in mind. Let’s all be worthy of our decisions.
How did you know this would play out like a movie?
About a year ago I started telling you in this blog that the Trump journey to the presidency would play out like a great movie script. And it did. Movies generally have three acts:
Act 1: The hero’s life abruptly changes.
Act 2: The hero encounters and solves one problem after another, in an entertaining fashion.
Act 3: The hero faces a seemingly insurmountable problem.
Finale: Against all odds, the hero succeeds.
The audience can’t always tell when the third act has arrived because all of the hero’s problems seem big until solved. I thought we reached the Third Act in Trump’s campaign about five different times since May. In retrospect, the real Third Act happened on election night when Trump was behind in nearly every poll. THAT is an insurmountable problem.
Then Trump won anyway. Like a movie.
How did I predict it would turn out so movie-perfect? I saw the following situation developing:
1. The social bullying coming from Clinton’s supporters guaranteed that lots of Trump supporters were in hiding. That created the potential for a surprise result, so long as the race was close.
2. Trump’s powers of persuasion are better than I have ever seen from a living human. That made it likely that the election would be close. And people generally vote for their party’s candidate, so that too promised a close election.
3. The mainstream media backed Clinton. That created a situation in which she was likely to be ahead at some point near the end of the election cycle.
4. The business model of the news industry guarantees lots of “scandals” on a regular schedule. Small things get inflated to big things, and I assumed there would be plenty of them. Trump has the skill to overcome medium-sized scandals and bumps in the road. That’s all you need for an entertaining Second Act.
5. Once I framed this election as a movie script, it primed you to see events that way. Our brains are movie-trained to recognize the three-act form. That’s why all movies use it.
6. Act One happened when Trump announced he was running. Act Two developed during the primaries and continued to the general election when Trump overcame one medium-sized problem after another. Act Three was defined by the Access Hollywood tape and Trump subsequently falling behind in the polls all the way to Election Day. The Finale was our collective discovery that Trump was right about the polls undercounting his support. It turns out he was Keyser Söze all along – and by that I mean smarter than you thought.
And that’s your movie.
I ask Trump supporters not to gloat too much. Be good to your fellow citizens. Be inclusive. Be useful. The country needs you at your best.
You might like my book because the election was like a movie.