"Make no small promises. Instead, promise a life-changing experience; a miraculous result. People are too busy to pay much attention to anything else you might be selling."
Tony Farrell, brand manager for Trump Steaks
|"World Greatest Steaks"|
People wonder how Trump gets away with so much. He isn't restrained by self reflection.
Trump is a showman and a salesman. His opponents are the worst ever. His friends are the best ever. He is the very best, the very smartest, the most effective. Superlatives.
Trump sticks to his story, unapologetically. If he decides to change his story, he does it without apparent memory of the past. We just saw him go from belittling Kim Jong Un as a tyrant and madman into being a man who is a very nice man who loves his people.
No explanation. No looking back.
A great many voters appear to like this. Just yesterday he tweeted an endorsement for the opponent of Republican Congressman Mark Sanford, saying Sanford "is better off in Argentina," an allusion to an extramarital affair by Sanford. Donald Trump--of all people--mocks someone for an extramarital affair? Does he dare do this? Yes. Admit nothing, acknowledge nothing. Accuse.
Most pundits assumed that the Trump bravado would wear thin under the burdens of governance as contrasted with campaigns. Governing calls the bluff. Governing isn't pretend. I thought so, too. I might have been quite wrong.
Lots of people dislike it, butTrump is getting away with it with some 40% of the electorate. Republican voters like Trump. It is now the party of Trump, not Romney or Ryan or Bush. If the economy stays strong he will pick up the other couple of percent of voters necessary to keep his governing majorities.
Trump's ability to keep his base is assisted in large part because media allies at Fox News adopts the Trump style: adamant assertion of points of view, with no admission of history or facts to the contrary.
The following three minute compilation of Fox News' stories on Obama and Trump show how this works.
Click: Fox on Obama; Fox on Trump.
They express no sense of memory, contradiction, or hypocrisy. They have their story and they sell it. Obama was the worst. Trump is the best.
The 2018 election. The North Korea summit is a problem for Democrats. Trump calls it masterful diplomacy by him. Fox agrees. His various spokesmen agree. If Democrats express hesitation and reservations they look like nay-sayers--people cheering against what they call the stupendously successful summit.
Meanwhile, GOP voters are seeing what they want to see in Trump, scoring him high on "Stand up for what he believes in," "Can get things done," and "Tough enough for the job." Trump has confirmed his brand. Opponents call it bluster and bullying; supporters see it as strength.
Obama looked like he addressed problems while Trump promised he would solve them greatly.
|Click: Survey, May, 2018|
A powerful restraint is the desire for consistency and predictability. People are restrained by their own past selves. People are restrained by their sense of shame.