I watched much more of the Democratic convention than I thought I would because it was a great convention, or at least it seemed so to me and most commentators. But I don’t know how many Americans took it that way as I don’t know what so many Americans will base their vote on. That’s why I am anxiously waiting to see if Hillary Clinton gets a nice bump in the polls this coming week.
I am anxious because I think voters are much more idiosyncratic than all our polls and pundits would seem to indicate. Except for those who are clearly against Trump, like me, or clearly against Hillary like some friends of mine, the voting decision will depend on one or two aspects that seem clear to them amidst the confusion.
Trump’s rise is proof there is a wide swath of resentment and blame that wants a chance at change, no matter what. If you are in that mind set, the thought of voting for Trump must be exciting. Whatever Trump would do as president would be unusual, hence interesting. And you will have had a role in that, which is a powerful feeling given the sense of political impotence most of us have.
I get that feeling, but I also feel scared at the thought of what might happen because Trump’s genius has been in self-promotion and his primary drive has been to make himself always the center of attention. Tony Schwartz, the fellow who actually wrote The Art of the Deal (not just co-wrote it) has talked about Trump’s incessant need for attention, and it doesn’t matter if it is laudatory or defamatory, as long as he gets it.
Just watch the guy. Isn’t that obvious? And isn’t there something wrong with a guy like that, especially as our president? Well, apparently for many not so much, which is why I am anxiously waiting to see that convention bump appear in the polls this week.
With that in mind let’s turn to Scott Adams’ blog about the election. Adam’s, the creator of Dilbert – one of the few comic strips I read -has asserted for months that Trump will win the election by a landslide because he is a “master persuader”. Adams knows because he is a long time student of persuasion, including being a hypnotist.
Frankly, I often find his analyses dubious, but the emphasis he places on the irrational nature of our political decisions (and most else it seems) is especially relevant to this election. His forays into our irrationality are thought provoking whether you cotton to them or not.
In a recent post he conjures up reasons why Hillary’s polls might surprisingly go down this week, not up. While he notes the convention went great for those already pro-Hillary, he argues for the possibility that for men who are undecided, she did nothing to attract their votes, but instead the reverse, making them feel, well, less manly, even if it is happening only at a sub-conscious level. Adams even talks about testosterone levels going down. And along with that decline so might go Hillary’s polls.
Rather than me trying to summarize his rationale I suggest you go to his post found here.
My hope is that Adam’s theory falls flat, but if that bump doesn’t appear, I’ll reread the post and think about the issue some more.
In any event, I agree with his emphasis on the significance of irrationality in this election even when I doubt his rationales for this irrationality.