Will Emotion Trump Reason In 2016?

What kind of president would Donald Trump be?

He regularly contradicts himself within a single speech and seems to believe that anything he says can be walked back. The GOP nominee’s tendency toward the rash and the offensive points to a strategy locked on voters’ hearts rather than their minds.

Last weekend on "Meet the Press," Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Friedman described the difficulty journalists are having grasping the Trump phenomenon: “So many of his supporters seem to be listening through their stomach not their ears. He’s made some gut connection with his followers that I don’t think we’ve fully plumbed.”

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is forcing many to vote solely with their ears and brains, and ignore that sinking feeling in their gut that change won’t come this time around, either.

Can we be certain of anything Trump will do as leader of the free world? Well, according to Trump himself, yes, there are a couple of things we can be certain of. Namely, that he will build a wall on the Southern border. “Get your money ready because you’re going to pay for the wall,” Trump exclaimed earlier this week.



So he’s going to force Mexico to pay for a wall. It defies common sense to think that such a policy would do anything but harm him in a general election. Maybe, he’ll start spending on marketing campaigns that attempt to convince voters of the benefits of such a move. But then again, that’s catering to voters’ stomachs, not their minds.

Back in 2008, a fascinating study by the American Psychological Association asserted that one can “predict somewhere between 80% and 85% of the time which way people would go on questions of presumed fact from emotions alone.”

Adding importantly that this was the case “even when we gave ... empirical data that pushed them one way or the other.”

This preponderance of emotional decision-making may work in favor of both presumptive nominees. Facts have not, and most likely will not, change the minds of Trump supporters. The same can be said for the millions of voters who are viscerally opposed to a President Trump.

5 comments about "Will Emotion Trump Reason In 2016?".
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  1. Ronald Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, May 6, 2016 at 1:14 p.m.

    GOP loses even if Trump wins. Trump is making promises about the wall, job growth, international trade, immigrant deportation, etc. that he cannot fulfill and therefore will be a big disppointment to the people who have high expectations of him. This will make them even angrier with the system and the Republican party. This could be a dangerous situation. 

  2. Ronald Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, May 6, 2016 at 1:25 p.m.

    If Trump loses, he could take down many other Republican candidates running for a branch of congress. Either win or lose, Trump is a lose/lose predicament for the Republican party, which will have to reconstruct itself (and hopefully with a more populist and practical agenda).

  3. Rick Thomas from MediaRich Marketing, May 6, 2016 at 2:08 p.m.

    No matter the outcome this is marketing genius.  Donald Trump's climb to the presumptive nominee is genius.  Love him or hate him and I dislike the man from top to bottom he has pulled off one of the most incredible marketing campaigns in political history.

    He stays on message.

    He knows how to create energy for his product...that being he.

    He continually markets his message by being available to the media...what do we say about frequency in advertising?  The more you hear a commercial the more you'll buy the product.

    And he knows his audience. 

    Thom Friedman and other journalists don't get it because they are journalists and not marketers as is Donald Trump.  Nothing confusing. 

    Here's the challenge...this is like a bad infomercial.  All sizzle but the problem here is if he wins there's no money back guarantee.  You're stuck with this product for four years.  Most products that you are sold that don't deliver you can get your money back in what 30 days. 

    I hate him but he's brilliant.  A marketing giant.  Trump Steaks may have failed, Trump University was a rip-off.  This product is simply brilliant.

    Until now...yesterday Paul Ryan tore this new product apart like Consumer Reports.  Now Mr. Trump will have to truly deliver or...well the electoral math does not lie.  Once the word gets out about a bad product voters may return Mr. Trump back to Trump Towers.   

  4. Alan Westendal from West End Communications/Consul, May 6, 2016 at 2:58 p.m.

    This is a very interesting analysis, but it discusses only the “pull” side of consumer choice in a 2-product market. As much as Mr. Rosenstein may hate Donald Trump there are plenty of folks who hate Hillary Clinton and will feel “pushed” to vote against her, as distinct from voting for Mr. Trump. Same effect, but since we’re talking marketing, let’s be mindful of the difference. If there’s one thing that a majority of voters can agree on it might be that it’d be a good idea to hold your nose while casting your ballot. 

  5. Chuck Lantz from, network, May 6, 2016 at 5:11 p.m.

    The Trump campaign is exactly the same as a travelling carnival and side-show. He lies constantly. He's cheap and tawdry, with no sophistication at all. In fact, he's anti-sophistication and his target audience loves it.

    Like a travelling carnival, hitting hick burgs in the sticks, his target is small and dumb. But once "Professor Trump and his Magic Cure-all Elixir and Side-Show" hits the major metro areas in November, he'll be booed out of the country, hopefully on a rail, covered in tar and feathers. 

    He is, and always has been, a buffoon who is currently enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame. And while buffoons have been elected before, they had an entire political party machine backing him. Trump does not. 

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