I finally watched a replay of Donald Trump Jr.’s speech at the GOP Convention. It was a home run for content and delivery. I especially liked his approach of labeling Clinton as the “risky” candidate. That’s good persuasion. No one wants risk in their lives, and you can make a good case that Clinton brings some. It directly counters the impression that Trump is the dangerous choice.
But it was also A-B testing for his dad. If the media picks up on “risk” as a good theme, you will see more of that from Trump himself. But I don’t think it got much traction.
What I’m starting to sniff in the zeitgeist today is that Trump’s kids are totally changing what people think of the father. People are making the semi-rational assumption that anyone who can raise such good kids must be very different in private than he is on the campaign trail.
That’s what I call a “fake because.” I talked about the “fake because” in relation to the book Influence. Studies described in that book show that people see anything that follows the word “because” as a logical justification for the first part of the sentence even if the second part is nonsense. In other words, we are primed to look for reasons for our actions, and we see those reasons even if none exist.
This brings us to Donald Trump. A large number of voters – I’m guessing about 20% of the public – want to support Trump but find it impossible because of the way he has so far presented himself. His brand is too toxic. So people lay low and wait for a “fake because” so they can throw their support to him. The Trump kids are the “fake because” that people needed. We’re seeing people say stuff like this: