There is a segment of cynics who see Donald Trump’s path to victory running directly through the default reptilian brain of a lame electorate. One of these cynics is Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert. Adams insists that Trump will win in a landslide because he is a master persuader, but Adams is operating on an old model. It’s like when people say “Americans vote based on their pocketbooks” and I have to correct them and say “some white Americans vote based on their pocketbooks.” That used to be enough to determine elections. It is not the case so much anymore. In the same way, some white people are susceptible to Trump’s brute strategy.
Adams seems to be locked in a fantasy that the electorate is as culturally non-diverse as Dilbert’s office (which has more animals than black people). FACT: Black people exist and will not vote for Trump. FACT: Hispanic people exist and will not vote for Trump. FACT: It is not likely that a majority of women will vote for Trump. The math has already been done and in order for the Cheeto-toned conman to win, he must win a proportion of the white male vote that has not been achieved in recent history. Sixty-three percent of the white male vote no longer sweeps someone into the Oval Office.
The Adams scenario also assumes that Hillary Clinton does absolutely nothing. Sure, it’s possible that she will decide to go on vacation from now until Election Day, but that’s not bloody likely. Admittedly, Trump presents some challenges as a brute, but just because Scott Adams may have been savaged by d-bags in his miserable past does not mean that d-bags are not vanquishable. Cynical Scott Adams believes that we are too animal-like to be moved by any rational answer to Trump’s barrage of bluster. He believes that Clinton's inability to appeal to our survival instinct will seal her doom. He is wrong. Unlike the characters in his comic strip, real people are not monolithic stereotypes. They are a little more complex and there are simple ways to appeal to their humanity. One of Clinton’s winning strategies is when she talks about her mother and how she was raised. Not only does it personalize her (which people seem to like), it also reminds other people of how their mothers raised them to be. Regardless of how many jerks are out there, how many of them were actually raised to be like Donald Trump – to lie, to mock, to bully, to boast? If Clinton frames the election around a picture of a mother’s best aspirations for her children, It will put the elusive ceiling on Trump’s success. Interestingly enough, the story Clinton loves to tell about her mother is how she was taught to stand up to bullies. I think that story will come out a couple times this Fall.