Trump’s bombastic invitations to get mad, get even and hate someone are actually reaching willing ears, especially when he spews his lies about what “we’ve lost” and what’s been “taken from us” and what “we could lose” in the future.
I’m not talking about “loser” in the schoolboy insult meaning that Trump uses to denigrate his political opponents.
It turns out that lots of folks think of themselves as “losers” in some very specific ways. James Surowiecki spelled it out recently at NewYorker.com, read it here
"When Donald Trump appeared at the N.R.A.’s recent national convention, he had a simple message: Hillary Clinton “wants to take away your guns.” This was familiar rhetorical ground: warning of dire losses has been the core of Trump’s campaign. Free trade means that “we’re losing our jobs, we’re losing our money.” China’s trade practices amount to “the greatest theft in the history of the world.” We need a wall to stop illegal immigration because “we’re losing so much.” In Trump’s world, things are much worse than they seem, and it’s because American prosperity has been stolen: “We’re losing everything.”
…Trump is playing to one of the most powerful emotions in our economic life—what behavioral economists call loss aversion. The basic idea, which was pioneered by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, is that people feel the pain of losses much more than they feel the pleasure of gains. Empirical studies suggest that, in general, losing is twice as painful as winning is enjoyable. So people will go to great lengths to avoid losses, and to recover what they’ve lost…
…A study by the Pew Research Center last fall found that seventy-nine per cent of those who lean Republican believe that their side is losing politically. A Rand survey in January found that voters who believed that “people like me don’t have any say about what the government does” were 86.5 per cent more likely to prefer Trump. Trump supporters feel that they, and the country, are losing economically, too…
…As one study puts it, “People are willing to run huge risks to avert or recover losses.” In the real world, this is why people hold falling stocks, hoping for a rebound rather than cutting their losses, and it’s why they double down after losing a bet. For Trump’s voters, the Obama years have felt like a disaster. Taking a flyer on Trump actually starts to feel sensible…
…Hillary Clinton has recently been emphasizing what a risk Trump represents. That’s fine when rallying the Democratic base and appealing to genuine independents. But it will only make Trump more popular with those who already believe in him. When he says, “We’re losing our country,” it doesn’t sound overwrought to his supporters. It sounds like the truth. For them, Trump is the long shot who may come in and give them back all that they have lost.”
Either Trump or Clinton is going to be the next president of the United States.
No sensible person can think there’s no difference between them.
Vote in November—if you don’t, everybody else is going to pick the next president.
Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.