How you Liking the Show? – Trump and POTUS as Entertainment

I recently read Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need and found it an interesting book that (in my opinion) doesn’t go far enough. Yes, some may claim there’s a problem and Klein does a dynamite job detailing what that problem is.

Where are the actionable solutions? Where are step by step plans for solutions? Where shall we look for solutions?

What’s really missing is a recognition that Trump’s getting the White House can’t be a surprise. In a YouTube culture where the ultimate achievement is eventing yourself, he’s the King. There’s a great exchange (one of many, really) in the movie Gladiator between Lucilla and Maximus. She tells him his gladiatorial skills give him power in Rome. He replies, “The power only to cause a mob.”

She answers, “That is power. The mob is Rome.”

Flash forward to modern America. The mob, the masses, won’t do much about Trump as President because he’s entertaining and modern America, more than it wants to be governed, wants to be entertained. Supposedly Bill Murray said “So, if we lie to the government, it’s a felony. But if they lie to us its politics.” (he didn’t really. It’s just so much better when we think he did) and that so fits people’s expectations of government in modern America (my opinion, that).

I mean, aren’t we all wondering, every time we read or hear or see yet another completely inane presidential tweet, if we as a nation are on Candid Camera?

Bolton Bluntness

John Bolton for President. For the run-of-the-mill conservative, such a concept is interesting — almost startling. What is also interesting, but not startling, are the results of the NSE analysis of the interview with Bolton. These results are very much in line with the public persona of Bolton as he has presented himself for some years, now.

The fact that he has a very low BS factor would suggest he’d had a chance to prepare responses for the interview ahead of time, but having seen quite a few interviews with him through the years, I doubt it was necessary. Bolton has always displayed the trained, practiced diplomat’s control of language to choose the precise word to convey the precise meaning for the precise situation. The biggest difference is he is always very fluid with the language, never slowing down the sentence to be sure of selecting each word properly. Some of the less precise formulations of the interviewer suggest this is a transcription of a real, off-the-cuff back and forth interview, and I would be surprised to learn otherwise.

While his might not inspire media venom like a Palin candidacy would, Bolton does not have a reputation for being a smooth politician. His appointment as UN ambassador was a recess appointment, a foreshadowing of the bloody battle he would face against livid liberals. And his reputation among some coworkers at the State Department was that of an “abrasive” character. (Some might find that a sterling recommendation, actually, in that environment).

The abrasiveness among fellow diplomats and his performance as UN ambassador, not to mention his public pronouncements since then, show his focus is clearly on the foreign policy challenges the country faces, not on going along to get along. And this fits well with the “vision” measures where his vision for the country has a much stronger reading than his vision for himself. And given his feisty, sometimes contrarian positions, even while in office, it’s also no surprise he gets relatively low ratings in the “man of the people” category, compared to some of the more experienced elected officials who may run.

Bolton is a realist, and I feel confident he does not expect a sudden movement to draft him into the candidacy. And Nolte, the interviewer, is an astute analyst and also sees little prospect of such an event. I suspect any dancing around that shows up in the Compatibility Gauge has to do with Bolton’s well-known bluntness. A blunt, unpredictable respondent is always a terrifying prospect in an interview.

Aside from what the Political Analyzer Tool shows, I suspect Bolton’s coming out publicly has more to do with wanting to put pressure on the field to keep foreign policy relevant in the 2012 elections, and perhaps a bit of wistful longing to work with a successful candidate to finish what he did not get a chance to finish while Bush was in office.

Senator Grassley’s Age Old Issues

NextStage: Predictive Intelligence, Persuasion Engineering, Interactive Analytics and Behavioral MetricsOne of the modern perceptions of political life is that the first thing you start doing after winning an election is start campaigning for the next election.  Rather than looking at web sites for candidates for office in the coming two years, I was curious to see what the web sites of recently elected candidates showed.  The first site I viewed was Kelly Ayotte’s Senator Ayotte, U.S. Senator for New Hampshire.  Senator Ayotte has not yet been in her office for 100 days and the Spartan appearance of her site seems to reflect it.  So I went to the other side of the spectrum.

Senator Charles Grassley was elected to the Senate in 1980 and his 2010 election, in which he garnered 63% of the vote to 33% for the Democratic nominee, was his closest election as an incumbent. For all intent and purposes, Senator Grassley appears to be entrenched and, as such, is seems to have no concern about speaking his mind.  In 2009, Senator Grassley suggested AIG management that collected bonuses off Federal bailout money should “follow the Japanese model” and resign immediately or commit suicide.  And perusing his Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa site, you’ll find a large number of defined changes he is seeking to make with his post in the Senate.  There is plenty to disagree with depending on your leanings, but it provides legitimate issues to discuss instead of arguing which party likes children, families, small businesses, and the middle class more.  It also demonstrates that those politicians who are not at risk of losing of losing their political seat or chasing a greater one are more likely to speak their mind.

The web page though is a bit bland.  Rather than analyze the page, we analyzed one of Senator Grassley’s e-newsletters (links to which can be found on his web site) Senator Grassley eNewsletterNextStage’s Political Analyzer has this to say about the page: Senator Grassley’s “The Scoop” Newsletter Analyzed 8 Mar 11 2:30pmET.

Go ahead.  Take a look.  I’ll wait …

I was disappointed by the age demographic.  So I went back and looked at the e-newsletter to try to determine what Senator Grassley could do to target a broader audience.  The format of the e-newsletter is that of front-page headlines, but the opening sentences are 30 words, 16 words, 27 words, 13 words, 21 words, 24 words, and 26 words.  The average word is about 5.25 characters long.  Compare that to Mitch Daniel’s 2011 CPAC speech that ran 19 words/sentence and averaged 4.75 characters/word.  Mitch Daniel’s speech also targeted a younger and broader audience.  Certainly, these are not magic numbers, but it appears those who author Senator Grassley’s pieces need to simplify their statements to reach a younger, broader audience.

There is also some jargon in these sentences.  I know that Senator Grassley has long been known for his support of ethanol and ethanol subsidies, but I don’t know that biofuel and biodiesel have entered the common vernacular (perhaps they have in Iowa).  He also used TARP for Troubled Asset Relief Program and Special IG for Special Inspector General.  These terms and abbreviations may be necessary for Senator Grassley to convey his point, but particularly for a newsletter front page that is going to be light on substance out of necessity, the language should be quickly and easily digested.  Avoiding specialized jargon and industry abbreviations increases the likelihood a reader will process the headline and first statement and click through to read more.  Utilizing specialized jargon and industry abbreviations sends the signal that this content is not for me, it is for someone specialized and familiar with the industry.  I would encourage the authors of this newsletter to drill down the topics, avoid abbreviations and specialized language, keep these headline sentences to 12-15 words/sentence.  These changes will encourage more readers to read the articles and, I’d like to think, create more of an opportunity for worthwhile political discussion.

Senator Grassley’s “The Scoop” Newsletter Analyzed 8 Mar 11 2:30pmET

This analysis was done at the request of Todd Sullivan, one of our commentators. I’ll offer that it’s worth noting the difference in Senator Grassley’s 9 Messages and the 9 Messages of all those who either are running or are running but not officially.

Also worth noting is the skewing of the age chart. We usually encounter such skewing when two things occur. One, someone is using jargon, meaning many of the words aren’t part of the general public’s everyday lexicon hence someone of more experience — an older person — is needed to understand it.

Two, this kind of skewing will occur when someone is presenting arguments that require the reader/listener/observer to stop and think, to consider, to evaluate. Our technology equates that to requiring more “life experience”, hence an older audience.

What we analyzed – Senator Grassley’s “The Scoop” Newsletter on 8 Mar 11 2:30pmET

Senator Grassley's 'The Scoop' Newsletter 8 Mar 11 1430ET

Political Messaging
Part 1 – What Senator Grassley Wants You to Believe

Senator Grassley's 'The Scoop' Newsletter 8 Mar 11 1430ET 9

Political Messaging
Part 2 – What the SpeechWriter Thinks

Senator Grassley's 'The Scoop' Newsletter 8 Mar 11 1430ET What did the speech author think?

Gender Persuasion

Senator Grassley's 'The Scoop' Newsletter 8 Mar 11 1430ET gender breakdown

Age Persuasion

Senator Grassley's 'The Scoop' Newsletter 8 Mar 11 1430ET age breakdown

What is Senator Grassley Really Communicating? – Every politician wants the public to believe they are the best for the job and can get things done.

However, no individual can achieve anything in elected office unless they believe certain things about themselves because without those core, personal and identifying beliefs they will not have the intellectual power, the charisma, the social awareness and sensitivity, the negotiation skills or the creativity necessary for success in public office.

In this case, Senator Grassley:

  • Has an idea of where their town/city/county/state/country needs to be but doesn’t know if they’re instrumental in making that vision a reality.
  • Has an idea of where their town/city/county/state/country needs to be and does not believe they’ll be part of the leadership that takes it there.
  • Has a sense of destiny for both themselves and the town/city/county/state/country but doesn’t have a clue how to make it happen.
  • Has a sense of destiny for both themselves and the town/city/county/state/country and aren’t convinced anybody — including themselves — knows how to make it happen.
  • They’re paying more attention to their advisors than to the public.
  • Is going after Boomers.

Regarding the real author of this material:

  • They want this candidate to win this race.
  • They really worked this to remove any BS before publishing.

The original analysis can be found at Senator Grassley’s ‘The Scoop’ Newsletter 8 Mar 11 1430ET Analyzed Analyzed.

Values Generated Are:

  • Political Messaging

    • I Am Leadership Material – 54
    • I Am Electable – 33
    • I Have a Vision – 41
    • I Have a Vision for This Country – 100
    • I Am Listening – 16
    • I Am Listening to You – 20
    • I Can Lead Us to a Better Place – 58
    • I Can Get Us Out of This Problem/Mess/Situation – 36
    • I Am a Man/Woman of The People – 21
  • Speechwriter’s Confidence in Candidate’s Success – -58
  • Speechwriter’s Determination of How Much BlueSky was in Candidate’s Speech – 1
  • Gender Persuasion
    • Male – 69%
    • Female – 31%
  • Age Persuasion
  • ? – 24yo – 0%
  • 25 – 34yo – 1%
  • 35 – 44yo – 1%
  • 45 – 54yo – 3%
  • 55 – 59yo – 5%
  • 60 – 64yo – 10%
  • 65 – 74yo – 19%
  • 75yo + – 37%

Changes by the hour to www_newt_org_newt-direct (morning and afternoonET, Friday, 4 Mar 11)

During the 2004 and 2008 campaigns we noticed that political messaging could change within minutes due to world events, responses to media queries, just about anything, really.

Here’s an example: we analyzed www.newt.org/newt-direct Friday, 4 Mar 11, around 11amET then got too busy to post the analysis. Later, when we had time to post we decided to do another analysis, just in case and yes, things had changed. Here we share the analysis of the morning and afternoon sites.

Enjoy!

Political Messaging Part 1 – What Newt Gingrich Wants You to Believe at 11amET, Friday, 4 Mar 11

Newt Gingrich's website 11amET, 4 Mar 11 9

Political Messaging Part 1 – What Newt Gingrich Wants You to Believe at 4pmET, Friday, 4 Mar 11

Newt Gingrich's website 4pmET, 4 Mar 11 9

The only recognizable difference here is in the “I Am a Man of the People” metric. It is two points higher at 4pmET than it was at 11amET. Perhaps Newt was warming to his audience?

Political Messaging Part 2 – What the Content Author/Designer Thinks at 11amET, Friday, 4 Mar 11

Newt Gingrich's website 11amET, 4 Mar 11 What did the speech author think?

Political Messaging Part 2 – What the Content Author/Designer Thinks at 4pmET, Friday, 4 Mar 11

Newt Gingrich's website 4pmET, 4 Mar 11 What did the Content Author/Designer think?

Here the change is a bit more obvious. Whatever updates were made to the site between 11am and 4pmET, the person or team making those changes were less than sure of them.

There were no recognizable changes in the gender and age persuasion metrics between 11am and 4pmET.

Gender Persuasion at 11amET, Friday, 4 Mar 11

Newt Gingrich's website 11amET, 4 Mar 11 gender breakdown

Age Persuasion at 11amET, Friday, 4 Mar 11

Newt Gingrich's website 11amET, 4 Mar 11 age breakdown

What is Newt Gingrich Really Communicating? – Every politician wants the public to believe they are the best for the job and can get things done.

However, no individual can achieve anything in elected office unless they believe certain things about themselves because without those core, personal and identifying beliefs they will not have the intellectual power, the charisma, the social awareness and sensitivity, the negotiation skills or the creativity necessary for success in public office.

In this case, Newt Gingrich:

  • Has an idea of where their town/city/county/state/country needs to be but doesn’t know if they’re instrumental in making that vision a reality.
  • Has a sense of destiny for both themselves and the town/city/county/state/country and are aren’t convinced anybody — including themselves — knows how to make it happen.
  • Has a sense of destiny for both themselves and the town/city/county/state/country and believes they are the only individual who can make it happen.
  • Is convinced they know how to improve the current situation.
    • But does not believe they will be able to act upon it.
  • They are paying close attention/are sensitive to public opinion.
  • They’re paying more attention to their advisors than to the public.
  • May be considered politically towards the Left by their audience.
  • Is targeting a reasonable demographic.
    • But not strongly enough to stand out/win/be recognized as leading the pack.

What Newt wanted people to believe didn’t change between 11am and 4pmET. However, the author/site designer/webmaster’s thoughts changed dramatically.

Regarding the real author of this material at 11amET, 4 Mar 11:

  • They don’t think this candidate has a real chance of winning the race.
  • They don’t think any amount of fact-checking will be good.

And at 4pmET, Friday, 11 Mar 11:

  • They don’t think this candidate has a real chance of winning anything.
  • They were laughing their heads off creating this material and think you should be, too.

Values Generated Are:

  • Political Messaging (no change between 11amET and 4pmET)
    • I Am Leadership Material – 66
    • I Am Electable – 58
    • I Have a Vision – 40
    • I Have a Vision for This Country – 96
    • I Am Listening – 19
    • I Am Listening to You – 37
    • I Can Lead Us to a Better Place – 100
    • I Can Get Us Out of This Problem/Mess/Situation – 65
    • I Am a Man/Woman of The People – 34
  • Speechwriter’s Confidence in Candidate’s Success – -66 at 11amET, -75 at 4pmET
  • Speechwriter’s Determination of How Much BlueSky was in Candidate’s Speech – 56 at 11amET, 92 at 4pmET
  • Gender Persuasion (no change between 11amET and 4pmET)
    • Male – 59%
    • Female – 41%
  • Age Persuasion (no change between 11amET and 4pmET)
    • ? – 24yo – 4%
    • 25 – 34yo – 8%
    • 35 – 44yo – 15%
    • 45 – 54yo – 30%
    • 55 – 59yo – 58%
    • 60 – 64yo – 30%
    • 65 – 74yo – 15%
    • 75yo + – 8%