Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Trump tapping voter self-interest

Published:Monday | August 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM


There have been many instances in athletics and politics where an overwhelming favourite loses - and sometimes outrightly. Conversely, a contestant not given an outside chance sometimes wins and does so convincingly.

So, Donald Trump may be the next United States president, even though he is seen by many as unfit to serve. But how did Trump, who some commentators and opponents describe as arrogant, bigoted, crude, divisive, even intemperate, irrational and racist, rise to become the nominee for his party and possibly next US president?




Nothing rises or stands without support. It, therefore, means Trump's beliefs and behaviour connected and resonated with an influential and significant number of Americans who see him as trumpeting their cause.

Maybe it is not about the persona of Trump, but the pains and problems people are having, perceived or real, and critically important, the benefits to be derived from supporting him.

People have needs, and every master marketer knows that at the heart of every need is an emotional component that cannot be appealed to or satisfied rationally. And so the strategic marketer or politician will appeal to the five key emotional motivators of people. People, they know, will do anything for or support someone who: encourages their dreams, justifies their failures, allays their fears, confirms their suspicions and helps them to destroy their enemies.

Wild promises are often made. Politicians know that what is crucial is not whether promises are sensible, sustainable, or even feasible, but for them to be believable. Once they are in sympathy and solidarity and seen as shepherd-like and solution-oriented, they can win mass support.

Every election campaign is about the message, meaning and mass motivation for a cause. The media often influence outcome, and of utmost importance is the presidential hopeful who can best use the most popular station to which everyone is in tune. Yes, for sure, it is the universal WIIFM: What's In It For Me?

And it is this self-interest, individually and collectively, which may ultimately determine whether Clinton clinches victory, trounces Trump, or if Trump eventually triumphs.