May 27, 2016

702 words 4 mins read

The Thrilla in California

Try not to imagine the worldwide television audience for the Trump vs. Sanders debate. Super Bowl ratings would look skimpy by comparison. Trump vs. Sanders would be the most watched political event ever. And I’m including the future in “ever.” And a Trump vs. Sanders debate would effectively kill Democrats' chances in November. This is huge.

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Yesterday, I wrote about Trump’s remarkable honesty at his press conference, but that wasn’t the big story of the day. The Trump vs. Sanders debate was the big story, and it will remain so. Yesterday, I just couldn’t get my head around it. It’s that big.

Think about it: Trump has agreed to debate, not his likely opponent, but her challenger. And Trump wants to use the debate to raise at least $10 million for women’s charities. While Trump and Sanders prepare for their Olympic debate that helps women directly, Crooked Hillary prepares for her imminent indictment. Talk about campaigns going in different directions.

Most of all, this debate settles once and for all the question of Trump’s political skills: he’s the best ever. As Jonathan Tobin, who’s not a fan of Donald, writes on Commentary:

But it also illustrates that, despite his being a swaggering, vulgar bully who has unleashed terribly negative nativist and isolationist forces into the political mainstream, Trump is clearly the most able politician left in the race. Part of his brilliance stems from his willing to think outside of the box since a more conventional candidate might have shrunk from the risks accepting a debate challenge against someone like Sanders with nothing to lose.

Trump always sets himself up with many ways to win and no likely way to lose, as Dilbert creator Scott Adams points out:

As usual, Trump has created multiple ways to win and only one (improbable) way to lose. If the debate never happens, Trump wins by making the offer and getting the attention. If the debate happens, it minimizes both Clinton and Sanders. The only risk is that Trump loses the debate to Sanders in a huge way. And that seems deeply unlikely.

Adams, by the way, is a trained hypnotist who studies persuasion. His August 13 blog post, Clown Genius, eventually caused my 180-degree turnaround on Trump. (It took a while, but eventually saw everything Adams saw in Trump early on.) Adams is not a Trump supporter. He merely studies and explain’s Trumps unbelievable skill as a political persuader. This was August, mind you, and Adams had already predicted Trump would win the election in a landslide. Not just the nomination, the general election. In that August piece, Adams listed Trump’s accomplishments:

If you’re keeping score, in the past month Trump has bitch-slapped the entire Republican Party, redefined our expectations of politics, focused the national discussion on immigration, proposed the only new idea for handling ISIS, and taken functional control of FOX News. And I don’t think he put much effort into it. Imagine what he could do if he gave up golf.

Since then, Trump has shooed away 16 top-notch political opponents and wrapped up his nomination before Crooked Hillary. Who predicted the GOP race would end earlier than the Democrats? Nobody except Scott Adams. Nobody. And that’s one of the reasons I predicted on May 13 that Trump will win in a landslide.

By the way, if you’re relying on polls and electoral maps to argue with me, wait. None of that matters yet. Look at the trends. Two months ago, everyone said Ted Cruz would force a contested convention. But Trump obliterated Cruz. A month ago, most people said Crooked Hillary would crush Trump and destroy the Republican Party. Now, even hardcore Democrats say the election is a toss-up. Trends matter and the current trend is Trump gaining 11 points a month. By October, most people will say Trump is practically running unopposed, as Scott Adams predicted.

Trump is running away with this election because he’s free to put his strengths to work. His greatest strength is negotiation, and he negotiates exclusively with psychology, not math. The Trump vs. Sanders debate is a psychological nuclear bomb that threatens to blow up Democrats' chances in November. And it’s detonating right before your eyes.