Trump’s professional media strategy

 Persuasive Design, provocations and use of anticipated reaction

Mikael Hertig

Mikael Hertig (c) Mikael Hertig is Master of Political Science

Michael Moore has given five reasons why Donald Trump is going to win the presidential election (link).

I will present explanation number 6.
While MM’s article is built on precise analytical points about the electorate and the decisive minorities and states this article has to do with Trump’s superior use of provocation and persuasive design. Since Carl Rove made use of targeted political strategies the refinement of political communications many have understood that the real battle is concentrated on smaller parts of the population. There is no reason to spend money on people, groups or states where the result seems obvious.

It is my impression that the strategies of both of the two candidates will be working very concentrated with these items.  But just as MM has done it until now we have to reflect on the question: How did he succeed in winning the republican race?  But I will look at his use of persuasive design.  The messages are presented visually, the language is simple, not complicated. Whether the statements are false or true does not matter as long as he is in infight against the establishment.

billede af Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Provocation  and establishment’s reaction as amplifier

In the analysis of political power and the idea of ‘anticipated reaction‘  has been very central. The traditional aspect of this has to do with government’s more or less  strategic manipulation with public attention. Just like a magician the political use of strategic communication you can attract  attention to topics or you can hide them by moving the view away from some movements in the shadow.

I am Danish and am living in Nuuk Greenland. Thus, please do not regard me as expert in American politics in any way. What I write here is seen from a long distance.   Just like Michael Moore I am interested in understanding why Trump has outmanouvered what seems more competent and experienced politicians.

It is also obvious that his scope is presenting himself as a simple and effective person fighting ‘the establishment’. He wants to figure himself as the only one who understands the concerns of the lower middle class American.

Billede af hånddukke

Mester Jakel Hånddukke
(c) Nicole Gordine

To me he uses provocation as a central means of communication. Let us look at the famous wall at the Mexican border. While the more sophisticated establishment – both editors and politicians – discuss how realistic the building of this wall is they actual are amplifying his simple message: He will stop illegal immigrants at the border.

It is all about attracting attention. The establishment itself confirms what can be seen as ignorance towards topics concerning the normal middle class American. Imagine that this reaction is included in Trumps media strategy. His staff knows how Hillary Clinton will react. This reaction is directly embedded as a part of the Trump communication plan. That the establishment charactizes Trump as simple or unqualified amplifies his image as their enemy.

In this way, Trump is reducing Press & Washington establishment to a puppet. Instead of distracting he is attracting attention – not to himself – but to the insufficency of Hillary’s campaign – seen from the simple American’s point of view.


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