Why Hillary and The Democrats Lost

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A friend after looking at this blog suggested that I read Allan Lichtman (The Keys to the White House, The Thirteen Keys to the Presidency) and a Salon interview of George Lakhoff, cognitive linguist, who argues that liberal-progressives fail to understand that you can’t win or persuade with facts and reason. There is a most interesting September Washington Post interview with Lichtman. I recommend reading both interviews.

In particular Lakhoff argues that liberal-progressives fail to understand that you can’t win or persuade with facts and reason, you have to address world views and use “framing” to shape people’s views of what you’re presenting to them. An example from the Washington Post interview:

Trump said we’re going to get rid of regulation, when there’s a new regulation we’re going to get rid of two for every new one that comes in. But what are regulations? Why do people have them? They’re there for protection of the public in every place. Why do you have environmental regulations? To protect against pollution and global warming and so on. Things that are harmful. Why do you have an SEC regulation? To protect investors, and protect people who have mortgages. Why do you have food and drug regulations? To protect against poisons. This is important. You’re protecting against corporate malfeasance. Corporate harm to the public. When they say, “We’re getting rid of these regulations, no one reports in the media, “They have gotten rid of protections, and they’re going to get rid of more protections!”

Again from the Washington Post – Trump is very clever in ways that liberals, Democrats and the media do not understand. His tweets are a good example. Trump’s tweets have at least three functions.

The first function is what I call preemptive framing. Getting framing out there before reporters can frame it differently. So for example, on the Russian hacking, he tweeted that the evidence showed that it had no effect on the election. Which is a lie, it didn’t say that at all …

The second use of tweets is diversion. When something important is coming up, like the question of whether he is going to use a blind trust, the conflicts of interest. So what does he do instead? He attacks Meryl Streep…

The third one is that he sends out trial balloons. For example, the stuff about nuclear weapons, he said we need to pay more attention to nukes…

Paraphrasing what my friend took away from the articles:

Fighting with facts is ineffective and even counterproductive. Just mentioning Trump’s claims reinforces them. He doesn’t care about truth vs. falsehood, he’s a master of using bullshit to work in his favor. He’s an attention whore: being ignored or regarded as irrelevant hurts him way more than butting heads with him. The lesson: phrase what you’re trying to persuade the other side of in terms that resonate with their world view; otherwise, it just makes them dig their heels in as to what they believe.