As amazing as this sounds, I watched a video clip of Dr. Drew explaining to CNN’s Don Lemon that Trump does NOT show signs of insanity or dangerous narcissism. Indeed, as Dr. Drew explained, some healthy narcissism is probably helpful for leaders because they want to be seen as successful. (I have said the same in this blog post, and also this one, which are totally worth another look.)
Is the amazing part of this story that Dr. Drew thinks Trump is probably sane?
The amazing part is that Team Clinton’s persuasion is now so powerful that the question of Trump’s sanity seemed like a legitimate question for the press.
Okay, okay, I know you don’t think the press is legitimate, and CNN is clearly favoring Clinton. But even under those conditions you still need events in the real world to support your pro-Clinton narrative. And apparently CNN thought it had that justification. They had cover from all the pro-Clinton pundits who are saying Trump is mentally unbalanced (with different language).
Keep in mind that Trump has run an empire for decades, raised several great kids, doesn’t drink or do drugs, and has no known history of mental issues. And as I have explained, the craziest stuff Trump does is mostly (but not always) compatible with good persuasion technique as we know it.
The stuff Trump does that isn’t part of persuasion technique, and still looks crazy to you, is something unfamiliar in the political realm: honesty and politically-incorrect humor. For example, when Trump said about McCain’s war record that he preferred someone who didn’t get captured, it was an adaptation of a well-known joke form, and it made me laugh when I heard it, in large part because it was so politically incorrect. The wrongness, along with the clever twist, is what made it a joke. See my six dimensions of humor to understand why.
I support the troops, by the way. But I think most of them know the difference between a bullet and an offensive joke. Only one of them is harmful.
Anyway, my point is that Clinton’s campaign has such strong persuasion going right now that she is successfully equating her actual misdeeds of the past with Trump’s imaginary mental issues and imaginary future misdeeds.
Clinton’s side (which is my side too, for my personal safety) has made you fear the imaginary monster under the bed so you’ll ignore the thief going through your drawers. That’s weapons-grade persuasion.
I still predict a landslide win for Trump because of the Shy Trump Supporter Effect. But he’s losing on persuasion in the past week or so. That could change on any given day.
In related news, Trump’s comment on Mrs. Khan’s silence at the Democratic convention made the country go nuts for a week. On the surface, it looked like a terrible week for Trump, as team Clinton successfully framed his comment about Islam and gender into something about their son, which it wasn’t. In the long run, you’ll forget Trump’s insult. But you will never forget the optics of Mrs. Khan deferring to her husband on stage. Short term, Trump got slaughtered on that issue. Long term, Trump has enough credibility with veterans that it won’t matter any more than the McCain joke did.
But you won’t forget the visual of the Khans on stage, and the husband looking in charge. That will stick with you. It was a gutsy persuasion play from Trump, but we will never know if it worked. My best guess is that the whole situation is just a bump in a long road.
If you support the troops, you might like my book, because both of them have a sense of humor.