Monday, March 21, 2016


(Scott Adams / Universal Uclick 1991)
Donald Trump will win in a landslide. *The mind behind ‘Dilbert’ explains why.
SCOTT ADAMS remembers just how the game turned. He was young and improving at chess, but the masterful kid across the board would outmaneuver Adams till the game seemed a runaway. Now, this kid didn’t want to just beat Adams; he wanted to embarrass him. “So after he’d picked away three-fourths of my pieces and I was discouraged,” Adams recounts, “he would offer to turn the board around and play with my pieces.” And then effectively “win” again.
On those occasions, Scott Adams, the creator of “Dilbert,” got insight into the type of personality that loves not only the challenge of game strategy, but also the thrill of overwhelming the competition. It is the sport of meticulously plotted domination.
And that is part of why Adams believes Donald Trump will win the presidency. In a landslide.
Adams, in other words, believes that Trump himself has turned the campaign game around. On the stump, the real-estate mogul is not running on the knowledge of his numbers or the dissection of the data. He is running on our emotions, Adams says, and sly appeals to our own human irrationality. Since last August, in fact, when many were calling Trump’s entry a clown candidacy, the “Dilbert” cartoonist was already declaring The Donald a master in the powers of persuasion who would undoubtedly rise in the polls. And last week, Adams began blogging about how Trump can rhetorically dismantle Clinton’s candidacy next.
Adams, mind you, is not endorsing Trump or supporting his politics. (“I don’t think my political views align with anybody,” he tells The Post’s Comic Riffs, “not even another human being.”) And he is not saying that Trump would be the best president. What the Bay Area-based cartoonist recognizes, he says, is the careful art behind Trump’s rhetorical techniques. And The Donald, he says, is playing his competitors like a fiddle — before beating them like a drum.
Most simply put: Adams believes Trump will win because he’s “a master persuader.”
The Manhattan mogul is so deft at the powers of persuasion, Adams believes, that the candidate could have run as a Democrat and, by picking different hot-button issues, still won this presidency. In other words: Trump is such a master linguistic strategist that he could have turned the political chessboard around and still embarrassed the field.
Adams does not claim to be a trained political analyst. His stated credentials in this arena, says Adams — who holds an MBA from UC Berkeley — largely involve being a certified hypnotist and, as a writer and business author, an eternal student in the techniques of persuasive rhetoric. (His self-help memoir is titled “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.”)
“The most important thing when you study hypnosis is that you learn that humans are irrational,” Adams tells Comic Riffs. “Until you understand that, hypnosis is hard to do. … For me, it was this great awakening to understand that humans are deeply irrational, and it’s probably the greatest influence on me in terms of my writing.”
“This was a trick I learned from Bil Keane,” the late creator of “Family Circus,” Adams tells Comic Riffs. “He basically taught me to stop writing for myself, which I realized I had been doing — writing a comic that I wanted to read.”
So Adams pivoted to write more about the workplace, and the budding “Dilbert” in the early ’90s became “about this huge part of people’s lives that was invisible to the rest of the world and about suffering in a hundred different ways.”
“By simply mentioning that world,” Adams says, the comic connected with readers “on an emotional level.”
And isn’t that essentially, in turn, what Trump is doing? He is acknowledging the suffering of some, Adams says, and then appealing emotionally to that.
And he bolsters that approach, Adams says, by “exploiting the business model” like an entrepreneur. In this model, which “the news industry doesn’t have the ability to change … the media doesn’t really have the option of ignoring the most interesting story,” says Adams, contending that Trump “can always be the most interesting story if he has nothing to fear and nothing to lose.”
Having nothing to lose essentially then increases his chance of winning, because it opens up his field of rhetorical play. “Psychology is the only necessary skill for running for president,” writes Adams, adding: “Trump knows psychology.”
Within that context, here is what Candidate Trump is doing to win campaign hearts and minds, according to Scott Adams:

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