[OPINION] – Why do people who favor Donald Trump’s candidacy have only a superficial and vague sense of his policies outside of three or four seminal issues? Dig just a little deeper into Trump’s public language and you will see that Mr. Trump himself has not offered a deeper and comprehensive plan in his appearances. Trump’s message has all the resonance of an old familiar tune that you only hum the first two lines over and over again.
Here is how to listen to Trump-speak and understand the simplicity of the communication strategy. It’s really as simple as an old rock and roll tune. It is widely known that the main body of artistic work in the genre of pop and rock music is built on just about 3 or 4 chords, played over and over again in an artistic arrangement. And while requiring artistic aptitude it is technically very simple, and very compelling. The human ear (brain) has evolved to a state finding pleasure or comfort in patterns and repetition. It’s simple, it’s easily recalled and so it creates a sense of confidence and comfort.
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is perhaps the most compelling and recognizable musical sound and can be identified with the four ominous opening chords. The variations on those four chords in the rest of the composition are brilliant artistry. If you dissect those chords and study the recurrence of those keys you will not likely “see” this work quite the same ever again.
Herein lays the key to success in Trump’s unlikely candidacy and the elusive element of style within this demagogue that renders him simultaneously loathsome and attractive. The meter and rhythm of Trump’s message is anchored by a few core themes such as immigration, defense and healthcare. These are America’s open sores that keep getting picked at and not allowed to scab-over and heal. All Trump needs to do to capture our collective attention was to pluck his fingers into those sores and instantly his message was recognizable, without one utterance of how he planned to accomplish it. It was Beethoven’s opening “da,da, dah…daahhhhhh”.
With his core message secure it only has to be revisited and reinforced from time-to-time, Trump is free to engage in almost any manner of discourse he chooses as long as he does not go too far from his base message. Ask anyone who supports Trump and they will quickly recall three or four of his positions, but only in one or two sentences…or words. It’s brilliant! Recall! It’s gold to candidates.
Ask a Clinton, Rubio, Bush or Cruz supporter to name a few of their candidate’s positions and you are likely to get a silent, glazed-over look at best. These candidates are trying to sell Toscanini operas at a rock concert…few people can appreciate the complexities of Sopranos, Tenors, baritones and a bass, let alone understand Italian. While elegant, sophisticated and complex, they are as welcomed as a screen door on a submarine.
Yet, Trump seems to be deeply involved in all manner of issues and discussions, but he is not. At least not in any meaningful way; Trump has mastered the art of lighting the fuse on some of the most bizarre issues and dropping them on the ground only to have the rest of the clueless field rush over to pick them up just as they are exploding in their faces…and they are doing it over and over again.
On the darker side of the Trump messaging strategy, he is consistently keeping it simple, employing a clear strategy of winners and losers. It is core human survival instinct plain and simple. Trump gets it, and to some extent Cruz gets it, none of the others truly get it. The Republican candidates come out like it’s a ballroom dance at the debates and move pompously to the center of the dance floor in their powdery pastel party gowns, curtsey, bow and extend their hands daintily to their dance partner, only to get sucker-punched squarely in their mouths and knocked on their asses by a belligerent and bellicose Trump. The symbolic image of Jeb Bush (and mostly all the others) sitting on a floor, legs spread, dolled-up in a pretty, frilly ball dress looking up at Trump in shock while holding their bloody noses is indelibly etched in my brain.
Trump has completely eviscerated Bush; even emasculated him and Bush has never recovered from the “low-energy”, “weakest guy in the room” moniker that Trump hung around his neck in the first encounter. Jeb Bush just let it happen like he was a schoolboy and the school bully forced him to walk around with a “kick me” sign on his back.
I like to think of myself as somewhat intelligent and rational, a person who could make my decisions on the basis of rational discourse. In reality, I am probably no different from the average American. But I’m not arrogant enough to deny my own human nature, I can’t. That type of rational debate and discourse is not going to happen now or ever in this election and guys like Carson and Kasich come across as the nerdy kids preaching temperance and chastity on prom night. Those two will not be going to the cool kids’ party, that I can virtually guarantee. They may be the ones you want your daughter to marry, but you’re not having them back for the next party.
That dichotomy of character virtues painted so effortlessly by Trump on his opponents is again simple, and very powerful. Why is it simple? With Trump there is rarely a “win-win” scenario. Trump employs vicious court-room tactics; and although he talks about deal-making, Trump’s dealings usually include a winner and a loser. And in many cases Trump does not need, or always want to win, he just has to make the opponent a loser, and most times that is easier than winning. And still his opponents are clueless. The man is having a virtual fight with God…and he’s winning. He is not winning because he is really virtuous, he is winning because he simply changed the argument to a losing proposition (albeit an outlandish one) for the Vatican.
We have only entered the initial stages of the age of political correctness and already there is exhaustion with its bureaucracy. It’s also the age of anti-bullying, ultra-sensitivity and positive reinforcement; compassion and caring are wonderful hallmarks of an evolved civilization. We give trophies to all the kids for effort, and that eliminates hard feelings for those who would otherwise never succeed in physical activities. We adhere to special, socially popular diets with absolutely no scientific reasoning for doing so, other than the appearance of holistic living or empathy with animals. Some of these trends have merit and some less so; it’s still a matter of opinion.
Make no mistake they have no place in Trump’s world and judging by his popularity, the political correctness pendulum is about to cut hard to the right. In times of prosperity and peace, the practice of refined social graces are accepted and even embraced by many. But as the barbarians are approaching the gates, social niceties and liberal ideals are going to be soundly rejected in a hurry. America and the world are in difficult times and they are likely to get a lot worse before they get better. The notion or emotion of compassion is clearly subordinate to the survival instinct and even to the less extreme instinct to be a bountiful provider. I am not saying right or wrong, but merely stating a very well-substantiated empirical observation. When you’re about to be overrun, the bully may appear to be your best chance to hold off the horde as opposed to the nerd, and we hate the bully for making us choose him.
Some of Mr. Trump’s “successes” like his casino business was built on forcing failure (bankruptcy) on creditors. Plain and simple, Trump borrowed money for his casino business, when it failed he used bankruptcy laws to strip creditors and vendors (workers and small businesses)of the right to collect money they lent or were owed for providing goods and services to the Trump business. For Trump, it was not a matter of a carpenter, an electrician or a plumber losing out on a few months’ worth of pay; it was all very surgical and sterile in dark rooms of bankruptcy courts out of the light of day and scrutiny of the public eye. It is likely that in any Trump “win”, there is likely to be a trail of losers.
Mr. Kelly is an expert in online marketing, search engine optimization, content development and content distribution. He has consulted some of the top brokerages, media companies and financial exchanges on online marketing and content management including: The New York Board of Trade, Chicago Board Options Exchange, International Business Times, Briefing.com, Bloomberg and Bridge Information Systems and 401kTV.
He continues to be a regular market analyst and writer for ForexTV.com. He holds a Series 3 and Series 34 CFTC registration and formerly was a Commodities Trading Advisor (CTA). Tim is also an expert and specialist in Ichimoku technical analysis. He was also a licensed Property & Casualty; Life, Accident & Health Insurance Producer in New York State.
In addition to writing about the financial markets, Mr. Kelly writes extensively about online marketing and content marketing.
Mr. Kelly attended Boston College where he studied English Literature and Economics, and also attended the University of Siena, Italy where he studied studio art.
Mr. Kelly has been a decades-long community volunteer in his hometown of Long Island where he established the community assistance foundation, Kelly's Heroes. He has also been a coach of Youth Lacrosse for over 10 years. Prior to volunteering in youth sports, Mr. Kelly was involved in the Inner City Scholarship program administered by the Archdiocese of New York.
Before creating ForexTV, Mr, Kelly was Sr. VP Global Marketing for Bridge Information Systems, the world’s second largest financial market data vendor. Prior to Bridge, Mr. Kelly was a team leader of Media at Bloomberg Financial Markets, where he created Bloomberg Personal Magazine with an initial circulation of over 7 million copies monthly.