Trump’s Landslide Tipping Point Is Breathing Down Your Neck

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We’re getting close, folks. So close you can feel it. Close your eyes and feel the soft, warm breath on the back of your neck. (Now open your eyes and continue reading. You’re such a good reader.)

As you watch the polls shift rapidly toward Trump, you might wonder what’s happening. What’s happening is completely natural, but it’s not normal. Elections don’t usually go this way.  And two psychological phenomena are working to deliver the Trump landslide I predicted long ago.

Hillary’s Self-Doubt Phenomenon

The 2016 election is more like sports than any other election in my lifetime. In fact, it’s a lot like the 1964 National League pennant race. Think of Trump as the St. Louis Cardinals and Hillary as the Philadelphia Phillies. (Where was the DNC convention this year?)

In sports, losing and winning both produce psychological changes. I’m not talking about the hot hand fallacy. I’m talking about subconscious expectations, the same things that cause people to sabotage themselves. The voice in the back of your head that says, “you’re not good enough” and “here we go again.”

You can see this happening to Hillary every day. She wrote off 27 percent of Americans as “irredeemable” and “deplorable.” She hid her major health problems. She lied. She said “bombing” then said Trump shouldn’t say “bombing.”

Just as she lost the primary in 2008, she’s losing the election in 2016. Her mind is whispering “you can’t win” and “here you go again,” and she’s listening.

That’s the first step. The second though is more intriguing, and you’ll now begin to see it develop before your eyes like a post-hypnotic suggestion.

Trump’s Tipping Point of Support

In many circles, it’s been unpopular to admit support for Trump. In the spring, I literally watched a man go from bashing Trump to praising him the moment the two people he was talking to admitted “we’re both for Trump.” Let’s call him Mike.

Mike’s eyes popped open and he said, “Oh, so we’re safe here.” It was as if a runaway slave realized he’d wandered into a meeting of local underground railroad conductors. While the polls were showing Trump down, guys like Mike kept their true opinions about Trump to themselves. They felt alone and “different.”

Now that the Mikes of the world know that many, many people just like them support Trump, they’re free to say “I support Trump.” It’s happening everywhere.

And the more people who hear someone say “I support Trump,” the more people support Trump. It’s called a “preference cascade,” and it’s picking up steam.

Deeper Than Preference Falsification

The formal name of the Bradley Effect is preference falsification. Named for the black former mayor of Los Angeles, the Bradly Effect means people tell pollsters they plan to vote for the politically correct candidate, but they actually vote for the other guy. Falsification skews polls.

While that’s happening in the presidential race, it’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about actual human behavior. I’m talking about people who’ve secretly supported Trump and are now flooding out of the closet and the effect they have on undecided voters or soft supporters.

It’s Social Proof

This flood of people admitting they support Trump influences the people around them. It’s called social proof. It means that, when in doubt, most people do what they see people around them doing.

Say you softly support Hillary because your family and friends might beat you up if you supported Trump. You don’t really like Hillary, but you feel safer saying you do. And you plan to vote for Hillary because . . . you don’t want to be a liar.

Then one day, a woman you work pulls into the parking lot with a Trump sticker on her car. “If Madelaine can say she supports Trump, maybe I should take another look,” you think.

Pretty soon, you put a Trump sticker on your car. And you work up the courage to come out to your family and friends. When you’re all sitting around talking about the election, you might find yourself saying, “I’m for Trump.” Chances are you won’t be alone. Someone else in your conversation circle will admit “I’m for Trump, too.”

That’s how preference cascades work. They are influenced by polls and they influence polls. But they’re really about the way we influence each other.

It’ll take some time for this work out, but expect to see a tipping point in the polls very soon. The tipping will come when the RCP average of states shows Trump is expected to win 270 electoral votes—enough to capture the election. At that point, people will move so fast to the Trump column it will make your head spin.

The RCP magic could happen in a week or two after the first debate on September 26. It takes time for the RCP average to work out the old polling data from weeks or months ago. But it’s going to happen, and when it does something amazing will happen.

The question is how the media will portray it. Will they talk about Trump’s magnificent rally or about Hillary’s historical collapse?

An Election Unlike Any Other

Reading Time: 7 minutes

France’s population had changed considerably since 1614. The non-aristocratic members of the Third Estate now represented 98 percent of the people but could still be outvoted by the other two bodies. In the lead-up to the May 5 meeting, the Third Estate began to mobilize support for equal representation and the abolishment of the noble veto–in other words, they wanted voting by head and not by status. While all of the orders shared a common desire for fiscal and judicial reform as well as a more representative form of government, the nobles in particular were loath to give up the privileges they enjoyed under the traditional system.  —History.com

This is about special years where the old rules don’t matter.

Most of the time, the Republican establishment’s views line up well with grassroots conservatives. Both teams oppose federal regulation and meddling in business. Both teams favor lower taxes. Both teams hold favorable views of business, especially of entrepreneurs. On social issues, the sides sometimes clash, but those are minor squabbles. And the establishment always win. Except when everything bursts like a piñata at a birthday party.

Behind the scenes, the establishment thwarts innovation and uses regulation and enforcement to destroy disruptive competitors. But people don’t see this happening, so they don’t worry about it. And if the people believe today is pretty good and tomorrow will be even better, what’s a little shadiness hurt? Until things rupture like a birthday piñata.

Once in a while, though, the stars align crooked. When things seem to be going badly, the people demand change. When the people see their interests—jobs, income, savings, safety, education, kids—at risk, they become risk seekers. When today seems bad and tomorrow looks worse, we become far more willing to gamble and to take matters into our own hands. Trust in institutions plummets like candy from a piñata on your birthday.

It’s all part of prospect theory, and I’ve written about it before. But here’s a quick review:

When facing a certain loss, people become risk-seeking. Try it yourself. Say you take your car in for routine maintenance, and your trusty mechanic tells you your transmission has a problem. He says, “I can fix it now for $1,000. If it fails completely, you’ll need a new transmission at about $4,000.”

You ask, “what are the chances it will fail completely if I don’t get it fixed now?”

“About 85 percent over the next four years according to the diagnostics report.”

So here’s your situation: Would you prefer to lose $1,000 for sure, or take an 85 percent chance of losing $4,000 and 15 percent chance of losing $0?

Most people will take their chances. It’s an irrational decision, but it’s what most people do. When facing a certain loss, people seek risk.

When people think their state and their country are on the right track, they become risk averse. We can test this the same way.

You find an old coin in a drawer and take it to a coin dealer. He tells you he’ll pay $1,000 today for the coin, but there’s an 85 percent chance that the coin will be worth $4,000 in four years. Of course, there’s a 15 percent chance that the coin could be worth nothing four years from now.

If enough people take this poll, most people will gamble when facing loss and will take the sure thing when facing a certain gain.

Now, let’s look at Right Track/Wrong Polling. You probably know that about 71 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. You can probably guess that Missourians feel our state is also on the wrong track. People feel we’re on the wrong track because they face diminishing wages, fewer job prospects, zero raises, diminishing savings, increasing crime, and constant terrorism threats.

In other words, the vast majority of Americans are facing a certain loss if things keep going the way they are. In the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president, things were going well and people expected things to get better. Then, we were facing a certain gain.

via Gallup: http://www.gallup.com/poll/1669/general-mood-country.aspx

In 1997 we learned the President had sex with an intern in the Oval Office, his wife blamed a vast right-wing conspiracy, and Bill Clinton lied repeatedly under oath about the affair. Yet the American people opposed his impeachment. Sure, they told pollsters they opposed impeachment because sex is a private matter, not a national concern. But any psychologist will tell you the real reason was risk aversion. If tomorrow’s likely to be better today, why would you take the chance of making it worse?

In the 1990s, people were risk averse. We avoided disruptions that could derail our right-track future. Now, though, we’re risk-seeking. We’re willing to take a chance with massive changes because doing nothing will make our lives worse day by day. We all know that.

Great Expectations = Great Disappointments

My favorite historians and my favorite psychologists agree on this: people believe the future will be a linear progression of the recent past. When we feel better off today than we did six months ago, we believe we’ll feel even better six months from now. But if we feel worse off today than six months ago, we assume we’ll be in worse shape six months later.

Most of the time this strategy works. The problem is that eventually that trend line breaks. And we have no idea when that will happen or why. A financial collapse, a terrorist attack, a criminal indictment of the Democratic candidate for president. Anything can snap a winning streak. Anything at all.

Look at that Gallup chart above. When Drudge first introduced us to Monica Lewinsky, satisfaction with America’s direction was in the high 40s. It had been rising steadily since 1992. From that perspective, the risk of deposing a president seemed ridiculous–like turning down a sure $1,000 for the chance of turning it into $4,000 in four years.

Beginning with 9/11/2001, though, the regression line turns south. And stays there. And this time is different.

As you can see, the line usually goes up gradually, drops sharply, then begins its upward ascent quickly after a shock. But that didn’t happen after 9/11. The trend line jumped a bit after Obama’s election, but the overall regression curve has been negative for 15 years.

Everybody now expects tomorrow to be worse than today. Projecting out, we all know that if nothing changes, America will lie in ruins in 20 years. People now in their 50s will be homeless or dead. People in their 20s will be living in government squalor or holding down four jobs just to survive. The American Dream will look like a nightmare scene from an Upton Sinclair novel.

We also know we can’t trust institutions or associations. They’re rigged for the people with power and control.

When the institutions are rigged and the future looks bleak, who you gonna call? Generation X.

Here’s the best description of Gen X written when we were young in 1993. From 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail:

As a group, they aren’t what older people wish they were, but rather what they themselves know they need to be: street-smart survivalists clued into the game of life the way it really gets played, searching for simple things that work in a cumbersome society that offers little to them.

As a generation, we had our fun young and became hardened realists during that steep decline in expectations. We knew the world was looking for a chance to fuck us, and it did.

Unlike all other generational archetypes, though, the Nomads of Generation X won’t fold up and cry. We don’t need no stinking safe spaces. While Millennials think of themselves as snowflakes, we think of ourselves as cinders. Both fall from the sky in winter, but a little sunlight melts the snow. Us carbon cinders will be here forever. Heat only makes us harder. Generation X is a base element. If we get in your eye or shoe, we hurt. If we get in your head, you’re dead.

As I said before, 2016 is the Gen X election. Gen X was the first generation in American history that expected to be worse off than its parents. And we are, so don’t say we never get anything right. For all our playful fatalism, we see through the bullshit of the establishment. We know why the Farm Bureau broke tradition to support a Democrat for governor: the Republican establishment told them to. We know a bottom when we see one.

When you mix a bleak forecast with Gen X attitude, you get a wild combustive. You get 2016.

Greitens and Trump

There are a lot of similarities between the messages of Eric Greitens and Donald Trump. Be careful with this. While I support both men, Eric Greitens is a remarkably polite man by Midwestern standards while Donald Trump skates on the edge of politeness by Brooklyn standards. (And those two standards are very different. Believe me.) Their styles have nothing in common.

But their messages are remarkably similar. And their message is: it’s time for someone outside the political class.

Face it: the political class made the mess we’re in. While the political class thinks it can fix it, it can’t. We all know that. And two of Greitens’s opponents recognize the people’s distrust of establishment politicians. From STLToday.com:

“Sometimes, you just are on the wrong end of a phenomenon,” said Catherine Hanaway. She made history more than a decade ago as Missouri’s first female House speaker and was attempting to repeat the feat at the gubernatorial level. “We got hit with the tidal wave of the ‘outsider.’”

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder concurred. “[Greitens’] entire campaign was based on being an outsider, at a time when that appears to be compelling nationally and in Missouri,” said Kinder, who had hoped to cap his unbroken 25 years in state government by seizing its top prize.

One thing I’ve noticed since getting deeply involved in politics is that many of the politicians don’t know how they’re manipulated. Neither do their supporters. Neither do the voters.

Rest assured that we’re all manipulated a lot. For example, if I asked you to think of a children’s birthday tradition right now, what would pop into your head?

If you’re from the Midwest and you read my blog, there’s about a 5% chance that piñatas are part of su familia birthday tradition. But I’ll bet way more than 5% of you clicked on piñata. Because I anchored piñata way up top. I wasn’t even subtle about it.

You probably knew that when you saw the options. But you clicked piñata anyway. And you’re probably justifying your choice now, telling yourself you’re into diversity or you really like piñatas. But if you clicked the piñata on this post, it was because I anchored you at the top.

We’re all victims of our brains.

So are politicians. It’s not their fault that they become tools of the lobbyists. It’s human nature.

And the voters let it happen for many years. Until, finally, the results we’re getting aren’t worth the comfort of sitting back and letting someone else handle things.

At these moments, we take control. We leave the comfort of our living rooms, fire the political class, and usher in a new political class.

2016 is a great year to be alive. The political order that took power after WWII is dead. The people who earned their power in 1945 were dead long ago. Usurpers took their place and tried to play the same game. But these usurpers failed. They didn’t have the mettle. They never earned their chops.

So we’re shaking the Etch-a-Sketch. We’re taking things back to zero and turning the knobs ourselves for a while. We’re taking a chance on Trump and Greitens because, at this point in time, it’s actually riskier to not gamble on something very different.

In 2016, we’re all Gen Xers. We’re all “street-smart survivalists clued into the game of life the way it really gets played.” In 2016, the outsiders have the inside track.

It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Purpose Trumps Policy and Principles—Video

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Why did Trump beat Ted Cruz? Probably the biggest reason is that Trump talks purpose while Cruz talks policy and principles.

When people hear Trump, they hear a purpose that aligns with their purpose. I know I do. And it’s similar to the purpose Arthur C. Brooks explained in his great book, The Conservative Heart.

Ted Cruz never seemed to have a purpose, just policies and principles. Cruz spoke of abstract principles and left it to the people to figure out if those principles would make their lives better or worse.

To paraphrase Steve Jobs, it’s not the voters’ jobs to figure out how your principles improve their lives. In fact, if you focus on your purpose, you never have to mention your principles.

Here’s a great example of Trump’s simple purpose. At a recent rally in Portland, Maine, protesters with whistles interrupt Trump’s speech. Here’s how he handled the interruption:

Perfect. Pay attention to Trump’s words, because they will hook just about any sane adult:

And what are we looking for? We want strong military, we want jobs, we want good education and healthcare, right? We’re looking for the same things sort of. You want to have a good life, you want safety.

What everyone hears when Trump speaks is just that: jobs, safety, education, healthcare that works. When those things are in place, there’s a chance for living the good life.

That’s all people want.

This is really important to understand, folks. Purpose trumps policy. Actually, purpose determines policy. Principles guide policy, but neither policy nor principles can influence purpose. Purpose is much higher.

By purpose, I mean your end goal. Mine is this: to build a society where every person experiences the dignity of meaningful work, including jobs that give satisfaction and fulfillment, fostered by a government that protects its people and institutions from attack and leaves them alone to live their best lives, successfully or not. That is my purpose, and very few people oppose it. Who would say “no” to dignified work and freedom? 

And here’s where the principle comes in. 

History shows that constitutionally limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility are the best means to those ends, which is why I support those means. But that’s the ONLY reason I support those means. I try to keep the means subordinate to the end, even if I sometimes mix them up.

Trump doesn’t talk about his principles and doesn’t spend too much time on policy. His focus on is on his purpose, and his purpose is remarkably similar to mine and to Arthur C. Brooks’.

You can learn even more about this stuff in my book Turning On Trump which is available in paperback or Kindle.

Being the Oddball Sucks

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Could you stand by a “wrong” answer?

Let’s pretend you’re in a room with 10 people about your age and background. You’ve been talking for a while, and you’ve gotten to know the others. Then the task begins. It’s straightforward.

On a large TV, you see a line drawing of a face. The instructor calls out people by name and asks if the face is a happy face, a sad face, or neutral face.

The first image looks like this:

The instructor calls on a very attractive woman you’d been talking to most of the night, Amy. Amy doesn’t hesitate. “Sad,” she says.

Your opinion of Angela drops. A lot.

Then the instructor calls on Dave who you knew from your kids’ baseball team even before tonight. “He looks sad to me,” Dave says.

Wow. These two should get together, you think. And not have kids.

Next, is Barry, a business school marketing professor. “Yeah, that’s sad,” Barry says. You make a note not to send your kids to his crappy school.

Then, she calls on a woman sitting behind you. You don’t know her, but she looks like an elementary school teacher from the 1950s. You put all your faith into this woman to get it right.

“Oh, sad, yes,” she says.

You realize that you are likely the only person in the room who interprets the image as a happy. You wonder if, maybe, they’re seeing something you’re not? Were they primed with an even happier face that you didn’t see, one that makes this one sad by comparison?

Now the instructor calls your name. You notice every eye in the room trained on you as if you were the approaching bus they’ve been waiting for.

Do you say, “that’s the happiest damn face I’ve ever seen, and you people are all nuts,” insulting all the other people, or do you go along with your idiot mates and agree that the face is sad?

Standing Alone Hurts

In the scenario above, your classmates were confederates of the instructor. They were actors playing people who thought that image represented sadness. The goal of the test was to see how you would respond when it came to your turn.

Most people have no idea how difficult it is to be the only person who disagrees. In psychological studies, intelligent students who know better will agree to the wrong answer if four other students before them gave the wrong answer first. “It appears that when we are unsure of how to perform a task or how to behave, we may take comfort in agreeing with a large number of other people (Lumbert, Samantha P., 2005).”We’d rather be wrong than be seen as wrong. And fMRI studies of the brain show that the pain of being the outcast is similar to severe physical pain. It’s why we give in to peer pressure.

Trump Stands Alone

At the first Republican debate in August, all the players were real. There were no confederates.

Bret Baier of Fox News asked the 15 candidates to raise their hands if they would NOT promise to support the Republican candidate for President. If you are trying to win over Republicans, there is only one right answer: you keep your hands at your sides.

On August 6, 2015, 14 candidates had a knee-jerk reaction to a softball question: raise your hand if you might not support the eventual Republican nominee. Each of those men (and they were all men that night) did quick math. They all believed they would win and if they didn’t, someone like them would win. Because that’s what we always think–if not me, someone like me. So they kept their hands down.

One man thought different. That man realized he might not win and the person who does win might be very different from him. Too different. In fact, being a strategic thinker, this man realized that if he did not win, the winner was likely to be very different from him. And despite the pain of being the outcast, Donald Trump raised his hand. Alone.

Later, after he had time to thnk about it, Trump signed the pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee, so help him, God. So did all the others. But Trump was the only one who took the time to contemplate the commitment. He didn’t make a rash, impulsive decision, did he? He made his decision like a man who’s made a lot of big decisions. And like a leader who’s comfortable with being seen as wrong. And he suffered the pain of being the outcast for weeks.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see why Mr. Trump contemplated his commitment. Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Jeb! Bush, and Marco Rubio impulsively signed the pledge without considering the consequences, and now they wish they hadn’t. Now they’d all like to be like Trump.

Leaders Must Stand Alone

When it comes to being presidential, the sin Cruz, Kasich, Bush, and Rubio committed was not the sin of breaking their word to the Republican Party, it was the sin of rushing into a commitment without thinking about the consequences. (For the lawyers among them, that sin was mortal.) It was the sin of avoiding immediate discomfort. Each of those four men later chose to break his word, which is also painful, but less painful than breaking his identity claim.

That sin of Cruz, Kasich, Bush, and Rubio is in the past. It can’t be undone. Endorsing Mr. Trump now will not erase the rash the fact that they made rash decisions in August.

When is comes to executive skills, Trump beat them all. Hands down.

P.S. In a related psychological study, researchers tested groups in several age groups. They found that older adults were more likely to answer accurately even if doing so violated the norms of their group (Lumbert, 2005). Maybe Donald Trump was the only candidate old enough to give the right answer instead of the easy answer. In other words, the others might become better leaders and better decision makers over time. See this for more on these fascinating studies.

Source: Lumbert, Samantha P., 2005, Conformity and Group Mentality: Why We Comply, Rochester Institute of Technology

Caution: Identifying as ‘NeverTrump’ Changes Your Brain

Reading Time: 5 minutes

When a person declares himself “NeverTrump,” he thinks he’s making a political statement. Or a moral one. But he’s not. He’s making a psychological commitment that’s very difficult and painful to break.

Identity is the highest, most powerful form of persuasion. Identity also drives our decisions in parts of the brain we don’t really have conscious control over. I realize many conservatives reject brain science, but, for those of you who are open to learning, I’ll explain as best I can in a moment.

Before that, I’ll tell you that I am not a brain scientist. I’m a persuasive design strategist, and I study this stuff every day. I even work with some brain scientists. But I’m not one. So I’ll have to quote some of those professional, certified scientists to show you how this works.

Our Brains Decide Before We Do

First, our brains decide before we do. In a famous study by neuroscientists at the Max Planck Institute, researchers watched brain activity while subjects responded to images with either their left hand or their right, depending on the image. The images slowly resolved, so it took a while for the subjects to get enough information to make the decision. Here’s what happened:

By monitoring the micro patterns of activity in the frontopolar cortex, the researchers could predict which hand the participant would choose 7 SECONDS before the participant was aware of the decision.

“Your decisions are strongly prepared by brain activity. By the time consciousness kicks in, most of the work has already been done,” said study co-author John-Dylan Haynes, a Max Planck Institute neuroscientist.

Those subjects felt like they made a conscious decision, but they really didn’t. The brain decides before we do. And the brain makes its decisions, in part, based on defaults and filters we consciously implant.

Identity Is Everything to the Brain

One of the most powerful defaults we implant in our minds is identity. For example, I identify as a Blues hockey fan. I don’t know all the ways this affects my behavior, but I know it does. And I now know, after years of studying brain science, that my Blues fan identity affects my behavior in ways I will never be aware of. I’m okay with that. It’s how we’re wired.

But what does that have to do with NeverTrump? Everything.

NeverTrump is not a slogan. It’s an identity claim. Sam Gosling, a personality psychologist at the University of Texas, puts it this way on Eric Barker’s Barking Up The Wrong Tree blog:

Identity claims are deliberate statements we make about our attitudes, goals, values, etc… One of the things that’s really important to keep in mind about identity statements is because these are deliberate, many people assume we are being manipulative with them and we’re being disingenuous, but I think there’s little evidence to suggest that that goes on. I think, generally, people really do want to be known. They’ll even do that at the expense of looking good. They’d rather be seen authentically than positively if it came down to that choice.

Some people think I look like an idiot when I wear a Blues hockey sweater. I’m 52 and I haven’t played ice hockey for 15 years. But I wear it anyway because I’d rather be seen as a Blues fan than positively.

The Brain Wants to be Consistent

When someone publicly identifies as NeverTrump, he makes a commitment. And most people behave consistently with their prior commitments.

My favorite persuasion scientist, Dr. Robert Cialdini, demonstrated this phenomenon in a famous experiment.

In one posh neighborhood, very few residents were willing to place a rather ugly Drive Safely sign in their front yards. But in a similar neighborhood nearby, four times as many residents said “yes” to the sign.

The only difference between the two neighborhoods: a week before, the residents of the second neighborhood were asked to place a small postcard in their windows that read “Drive Safely.” Many of these residents agreed to the postcard. Almost all of the people who accepted the postcard also accepted the sign.

These folks had made a prior, public commitment to safe driving, so they had to “yes” to the big sign. They behaved consistently with that commitment even though they probably didn’t know why they said “yes” to the big, garish sign. They identified as pro-safe driving.

NeverTrump Is Dangerous

In my morning post, I came down pretty hard on the consequences of NeverTrumpism: increased abortions, increased racial violence, and potential assassinations. It’s all true, but I know people didn’t want to read it. If you think I was just lashing out at people I disagree with, this post might change your mind. Here’s why.

NeverTrumpers identify as NeverTrump. Some, like Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol, make NeverTrump their primary identity claim. In their brains, all decisions are filtered through the NeverTrump lens. We’ve already seen the science on this, so you know this is true.

As the election gets closer, their fantastical hopes of a viable third choice for president–someone other than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump–will fade. They will realize what you and I already know and have known: the choice for president is binary. It’s crooked Hillary or Donald Trump for president. There will be no third way. 

When that happens, most NeverTrumpers will choose consistency. It won’t be a conscious choice. They’ve already surrendered their conscious decisions to the NeverTrump filter in their brains. They will feel like they’re making conscious decisions about how to vote, but they won’t be. They’ll just obey the defaults and filters they’ve implanted.

Unless they turn soon.

There’s Still Some Time

So those NeverTrumpers, to be consistent, will actively work against Donald Trump. In the voting booth, that will mean wasting their votes on a non-viable candidate. But before that, they will do whatever it takes to throw the election to Hillary Clinton. Their identity claim will demand it.

The reason I wrote such a powerful statement this morning is to warn others: be careful when making identity claims because you will become that identity. You’ll probably lose control of your decisions. And you will suffer serious emotional pain if you break from that identity, especially if you value consistency. Remember, the brain decides before we do, and the brain decides based on prior commitments. One of the most powerful commitments a person can make is an identity claim, like “NeverTrump.”

You can call my other post “tough love” if you wish, or you can call it me being a dick. I don’t care. But I do care about the damage Hillary Clinton has done and will do to this country with the help of NeverTrumpers.

After all the good they’ve done in their lives, it’d be a shame for Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol to be remembered as the Republicans who fed America to the Clinton wood-chipper. The NeverTrumpers are in for four emotionally painful years unless they break their self-defeating identity claims soon. And they will blame the voters, never themselves.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. NeverTrumpers can go through the pain of breaking their commitment to NeverTrumpism before the election and work to influence Trump’s administration and Congress. It will hurt for a moment, but they will be heroes in the end. I wrote a book to help them.

There’s time to turn, but that time is draining away fast. Choose wisely.

 

Why You’re Mad At Trump

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A lot of people seem to be mad at Trump. You might be one of them.

You probably think you know why you’re mad at him. For instance, you might not like what he said about the judge in a lawsuit he’s involved with. Or maybe you didn’t like what he said about Rosie O’Donnell. You might even be mad that he said Saddam Hussein was a bad man who was good at killing terrorists.

[BONUS VIDEO BELOW]

You probably think your decision to be mad was yours and yours alone, right? No one told you to be mad, and you wouldn’t have listened anyway. You’re smart enough to know that it’s stupid to give someone else power over your emotional state. Like most of us, you’ve learned that saying (or thinking) things like, “he makes me so mad,” means you’ve surrendered control of your emotional well-being to somebody you don’t like.

You’re too smart for that.

So you must be mad at Trump out of your choice, right?

You certainly were not tricked into your feelings, were you? You probably know that Trump has been using the line about Saddam Hussein killing terrorists since last summer. No one disputes that. You chose to get mad today because . . . because . . . Well, you had your reasons for choosing today, after all these months, to get mad.

And it was your choice, right? The fact that all the major news media simultaneously said “people are mad about Trump’s comments” had no influence on you. Nor did the fact that the media started covering the story shortly after Trump’s opponent’s campaign released a statement calling on people to get angry about Trump’s comments.

You know that anyone who lets a stranger like Hillary Clinton or NBC News make them mad is mentally weak and emotionally irresponsible. Psychologists pretty much all agree on this. So I’m sure you have fantastic, logical reasons for choosing to get mad today about something Trump’s been saying since at least November 2015. It’s just a coincidence that Hillary Clinton and NBC News told you to be angry on the very day you decided to be mad.

Just a coincidence.

And since you can’t be influenced by anyone, I won’t bother asking you to buy my new book.

(Note: also posted on Medium)

BONUS VIDEO