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George Lakoff: Understanding Trump

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  • Liberal Democrat
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    George Lakoff, Huffington Post, July 16, 2016: Understanding Trump

    George Lakoff is a UC Berkeley Professor of Linguistics. I have often referenced him in this website. As many of us have scratched our heads trying to understand the appeal of Donald Trump, I think Lakoff pretty well nails it. This article will be enjoyed by all wonks; as such Lakoff leads off with an apology of sorts to others.

    "I am writing it because I think it is right and it is needed, even though it comes from the cognitive and brain sciences, not from the normal political sources. I think it is imperative to bring these considerations into public political discourse. But it cannot be done in a 650-word op-ed. My apologies. It is untweetable. "

    I don't want to extract any lines or bias the reader. Read the whole article.

    Comments?

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
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    Pensacola, FL
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    The bottom line is Hillary needs to cancel debates. The article goes through great lengths to resolve Trump but the bottom line is charismatic. Trump has nothing to lose. The Presidency is just something he wants to do. For Hillary it is the only thing she wants to do. I don't know how to help her other than she needs to make a big change. Trump will destroy her in a traditional debate forum. Consider choosing a thoracic surgeon to do your bypass based on a debate performance.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
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    Pensacola, FL
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    Consider them both on stage and which one "looks" like a President. And that is before the first word is spoken.

  • Liberal Democrat
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    No Hillary Clinton does not need to cancel debates or anything else that appeals to us wonks. Nevertheless, it would seem she is aware of Lakoff's findings and recommendations as she has modified much of her campaign rhetoric and TV commercials to appeal more to the emotions. I live in Colorado and get to see many of her ads on TV. I think they are having some effect....repetition, repetition, repetition. Same points hammered in again and again. I get sick of those ads, but she is only doing what Republicans have been going for years, and now Donald Trump in his demagoguery. She is trying to get into people's heads.

    I know that's a sorry state of affairs for a presidential election, but you need to fight fire with fire. In our political environment of the Tweets versus the Wonks, there is still a middle ground. Not all people fall into one or the other bucket. That's why you are reading this post.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
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    Pensacola, FL
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    She already has the people that those ads appeal to. She has to capture people that haven't made up their minds. At this point the people that haven't made up their minds aren't swayed by logic and common sense. You nailed it with fight fire with fire. She has to make Trump look bad in a way that people will arrive at that conclusion emotionally.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
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    Pensacola, FL
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    First of all she has people that are well known trained experts guiding her strategy. Well, they are wrong misguided and trying to prove their worth. They dondon't know who to talk to or what to say. Here is the solution. Kids. Maternal instinct. Focus only on his jobs promise recognizing what that means to who. He said: get more jobs than anybody, don't raise minimum wage, keep wages low. What he left out was raising the work week to 80 hours so a person could survive by working two starvation jobs. When you tell mothers that they won't be able to get good food for their kids and then their kids will have to work 80 hours a week to try and survive then you will have an unstoppable force. People will decide for themselves that Trump is bad news. But none of it is said in an accusatory manner. Revealed in such a way that you are not telling them what to do. Focus only on jobs and people will realize he doesn't care about them, doesn't know what he is talking about and that he is willinh to sacrifice the health and future of kids to get his way. That is all. Anything else has only the possibility of helping Trump. He has positioned himself as the benefactor and any attacks will backfire. I have called it from day one of Trump's candidacy and just a little thoughtful thinking reveals who he is, what his appeal is and who he is talking to.

  • Independent
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    Excellent article. I believe I have stated here as well as elsewhere (borrowing from Parke Godwin) that this country is as susceptible to charlatans as dog is to fleas.

    charlatans reinforce internal rational or irrational belief structures. They are particularly and peculiarly dangerous as the author points out. I have also stated elsewhere that this election is unlimited thermonuclear war. But as in all wars care must be taken regarding strategy and tactics again as the author notes. If care is not taken the war can be lost. All weapons must be used but they must be the correct weapons.

    this war, this election, is critical. We understand the flaws in the democratic candidate but it is necessary that we succeed.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
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    Pensacola, FL
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    And here is the dangerous thought process spreading around. Gridlock is the consensus of how the President and congress get along. What harm can Trump do because he is at odds with his party. But it is not balanced evenly pertaining to Hillary. Trump is probably the biggest threat to working people in the history of the world. People don't understand that he is battling with the Republican Party because he is not Republican enough. He can get full R congressional support on a myriad of lower class set backs. There is no limit to cuts in taxes, social programs, entitlements and any other lower class actions that will get 100% Republican support. Trump will have 100% Republican backing on any cuts. The fact that he said he won't raise the minimum wage and will keep wages low is all that is needed to predict how he will help all his working class supporters.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
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    Purusing the internet I find Trump predicted to lose the election for the same reasons he was predicted to lose the nomination.
  • Liberal Democrat
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    What Trump really hates is when fellow billionaires deride him as "not one of them". We heard what Michael Bloomberg said about him at the convention attacking Trump's business values and implying he was a "con".

    “We’ve heard a lot of talk about needing a leader who understands business. I couldn’t agree more. I built a business and I didn’t start it with a $1 million check from my father.”

    “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s running his business? God, help us, I'm a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.”

    Now fellow billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, went up to his hometown of Pittsburgh to speak to blue collar workers in their language. Cuban called Trump a "jagoff".

    "You know what we call a person like that in Pittsburgh? A jagoff. Is there any bigger jagoff in the world than Donald Trump?"

    I have never heard that term before so when I looked it up in the urban dictionary it says, "Pittsburgh's way of saying "jackoff." An annoying, ass hole." Also, a "stupid incompetent person".

    In my hometown of Butte, Montana, the term "jackoff" fits Trump nicely with the miners' language. None of this politically correct "jagoff".

    This is the kind of blue collar language that George Lakoff says we need to use again and again and again. Whether he is a jagoff or a jackoff, the messaging is the same. It has more teeth to it than Bill Maher calling him a "whiny little bitch".

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I love that other Billionaires are questioning him. This morning on the news, Warren Buffet was saying how he intends to vote Dem.. That's an accomplished man.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
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    Pensacola, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote:

    George Lakoff, Huffington Post, July 16, 2016: Understanding Trump

    George Lakoff is a UC Berkeley Professor of Linguistics. I have often referenced him in this website. As many of us have scratched our heads trying to understand the appeal of Donald Trump, I think Lakoff pretty well nails it. This article will be enjoyed by all wonks; as such Lakoff leads off with an apology of sorts to others.

    "I am writing it because I think it is right and it is needed, even though it comes from the cognitive and brain sciences, not from the normal political sources. I think it is imperative to bring these considerations into public political discourse. But it cannot be done in a 650-word op-ed. My apologies. It is untweetable. "

    I don't want to extract any lines or bias the reader. Read the whole article.

    Comments?

    A billionaire has to have a unique appreciation of themselves.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Politicus: Donald Trump Promises To Put Sarah Palin In His Cabinet If He Is Elected President

    I put this bit of information in this thread about understanding Trump because as soon as we think we have it all figured out, then he says this about Sarah Palin:

    "According to Politico, Trump said that he would put Palin his cabinet or seek her advice:

    “She’s really somebody who knows what’s happening. She’s a special person. She’s really a special person. And I think people know that and she’s got a following that’s unbelievable,” he
    continued. (Palin has more than 4 million Facebook followers.)

    “I’m looking at some of these candidates, they’re weak, they’re ineffective and to a degree that’s almost hard to believe. And, you know, they like the Sarah Palin kind of strength. You just don’t see very much of it anymore,” Trump mused."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Wow, I'm sure that Trump has little respect for her intellectual ability, but he knows how the evangelicals adore her...those and old white men. He seems to be shoring up his base instead of expanding the demographics of his supporters.

    So what cabinet position would Sarah Palin fill? Anyone want to make a case for Secretary of State? She can keep an eye on Russia from her home.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    According to msnbc, Trumps numbers are falling. I ask - How is that possible ? Don't stupid white males account for 80% of this country ? Sarcasm....... I tried to find something I posted many many months ago. I believe it suggested that Trump was not in this to actually win but instead to show how crazy and unbalanced our system is.

    The ones who fall through the cracks are interesting. Any woman voter, any Hispanic voter, any Black person, any LGBT person, any poor person person, any veteran, any Muslim....... these numbers should make anyone excluded. Mr. Trump keeps rumbling along doing every possible wrong thing. He DOESN'T however send (get ready for the worse thing known to mankind !!!!!!!) E mails...... The horror !!!!!! I bet most of the white idiots not taking facts into consideration have actually sent less than 20 e mails in their lifetimes.

  • Liberal Democrat
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    TJ -- You make a good point. I do wonder if Trump realizes that he does not have the right stuff to be president, and that's why he keeps doing untraditional, sometimes shocking politically incorrect statements appealing to a certain demographic, but unappealing to the majority. He enjoys being in the spotlight where he has to take no responsibility for anything he says. If by some miracle he were to win, it might just be his worst nightmare in having to choose his words more carefully.

    Regarding e-mails, you also make a good point. On my last few days of work before I retired for good, I deleted thousands of e-mails from my work desktop computer, but I know that they still resided on the company's server if they ever wanted to extract them in some legal case. When the people you work with are also the people you socialize with, it is very difficult to keep your e-mails separate.

    Here is a Sample Internet and E-Mail policy. My company's policies were similar. Here's one extract:

    "Keep in mind that the Company owns any communication sent via email or that is stored on company equipment. Management and other authorized staff have the right to access any material in your email or on your computer at any time. Please do not consider your electronic communication, storage or access to be private if it is created or stored on work systems."