My daughter asked me a very salient question last night when she came in and saw me watching Trump's Indiana victory speech on TV.
She asked me "Why does everyone get him (Trump) why don't they get the others?"
• He paints a picture
• He then tells a story to go with that picture
• Then he talks about the tactics that will make this picture happen
In the world of politics, this is an all-but unknown formula for success. Leaders usually start with tactics and then move to story and then create a picture.
He paints a picture of success for you
Instinctively Trump knows due to technology we always need the picture first.
Everything about technology is a visual. This works because we are all stressed and don't have time to read. This is what I call the pendulum effect and it happens after a bad economic period in history and is usually partnered by a new technology.
People get tired of being treated like pawns and they go so far to the other side so quickly that it shocks us. It happened in the 1930's with the wide spread use of the telephone and the demand for unions. Normally it is a good thing, it moves accountability in leadership when people start to push for themselves.
It means they won't accept the status quo. Trump is definitely not the status quo and he painted a picture of an old-fashioned America where everyone wins, except those who aren't American. Whether you want that or not - you were very clear on what he was going to do.
He created his hero arc with a story
Trump talked about the fact that the field of candidates went from 17 to just him. He created the hero arc, how he started at the bottom, how everyone made fun of him and how he has risen from this to become the candidate. He talked about the hard times he had during this campaign and what pulled him out of it and he talked about how the establishment now has to accept him, then he talked about his opponent. Trump doesn't spend a lot of money on his campaign because he understands how important the hero arc is to the voter. They want to know that their leader is winner and that he/she has suffered a loss.
He talked about the actions he will take
In his May 3 speech Trump talked about his "wall," he talked about mining, he talked about the military and what would happen to companies like Carrier that took their business out of the country. He did none of this until he painted the picture and told his story. He is a great sales person.
Trump is winning because he is not just creating a picture of a past America but because he is using the same communication techniques as a very famous president, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Roosevelt was a populist who had a great new deal for a very tired American population who were dealing with the Great Depression. Like Trump, FDR was wealthy and campaigned against his own class. Whether Trump in office would act like a New Dealer remains to be seen.
Roosevelt had his storyteller gift and the Great Depression. He painted an amazing picture, told a great story and had tactics in his New Deal that appealed to weary voters. Trump has the Great Recession. (Ask average Americans if the economy is great and they will tell you a far different story than what Warren Buffett said this past weekend).
Whether you love him or hate him Trump won last night because he is a great communicator.
I'd love to have him take one of my generational communications courses because he's a once in a generation communicator. You don't have to believe me, just ask those 16 Republican candidates who unwittingly all got to play the role of loser in the Grand Old Party's game of The Apprentice.
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