I am absolutely convinced that Trump's speaking style played a MAJOR role in his victory

I followed the 2016 election avidly, I watched every debate in the primaries and the general election, I watched dozens of Trump rallies and Hillary rallies, both the DNC and the RNC, etc. I predicted at that time - to the vehement disagreement of virtually everyone I know - that Trump would win, and I was proven right, although I don’t go around rubbing it in peoples’ faces because it wasn’t the result I wanted, even though I felt it was inevitable.

I’ve long thought that Trump’s style of speaking was a critical component of how he was able to win, but yesterday after hearing him on the radio (there was a live broadcast of a speech about vocational schools, which I cannot find now, on POTUS, the channel on Sirius XM) I made up my mind that it was in fact his speaking style more than his policies that contributed to his victory.

What I’m about to say is essentially apolitical. It transcends ideological allegiances.

Speech is, for all but the hearing-impaired, the primary way that humans relate to each other. It is the primary method for transmitting concepts, more so even than the written word, since there are vast numbers of people who are unable to read but are able to speak in a reasonably articulate way. It’s even the most critical component of the shows, movies, and other media that we take in which people think of as ‘visual’ but is really more auditory. After all, you can listen to a movie or a show with the picture turned off and, in the vast majority of instances, be able to discern what is going on with a reasonable degree of accuracy. The reverse is not remotely true.

To put it very simply, Donald Trump speaks - to huge crowds of people - the way most of us speak in casual conversation with our friends. I’m not talking about what he says, I’m talking about how he says it. He is arguably the first president in American history to speak predominantly in a colloquial and conversational tone.

Is he articulate? No. He repeats himself a lot, his diction is sloppy and almost sounds somewhat like he’s drunk even though he supposedly does not drink, and he goes off on rambling stream-of-consciousness tangents. But he still speaks as if he is part of a casual conversation, and I think this makes all the difference.

The American public had never experienced a candidate like this before. Previously, all politicians sounded like politicians. They spoke in a polished manner, and their objective was to sound like an authority on whatever it was that they were discussing.

It’s my hypothesis here that Trump’s casual and colloquial style of speech struck a major emotional chord with people in a way that nobody else had done. He connected with people, he made them feel like they were being talked to and not at. The stream-of-consciousness rambling tangents were an asset, not a liability - that is the way most people’s internal monologue sounds. Trump doesn’t have an internal monologue, he just has a monologue full stop. And it’s always running.

Obviously he does not appeal to a lot of people, because of what he stands for, and so those people didn’t vote for him. But for those who even vaguely share his politics, that emotional connection is what knocked Bush, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, and all the rest of them, down like so many bowling pins.

By the way, Bernie Sanders had many of the same characteristics. And I know tons of people who adored and continued to adore Sanders without really understanding what his politics are - they like him because he “seems like a good guy.”

Does this mean that there are a hell of a lot of uninformed people out there who are voting on their intuitive brain rather than their rational one? YES IT DOES!

You know when that situation is going to be rectified? The answer is, whenever someone figures out a way to genetically engineer the human brain to be, in the main, a different piece of equipment than what it currently is and has always been. Because the fact is, human beings, collectively, operate more on emotion than logic.

I am not sure what is going to happen in the next three or seven years, politics-wise. One thing I am certain of, though, is that we are going to see a lot more politicians, of all stripes, who speak the way that Trump does.

Hitler (apologies for Godwinizing the thread in the very first response) was a noted speaker, and it was given as a key factor in his rise to power.

All this really tells us is that popular election isn’t a terribly good mechanism for ensuring that our leaders are qualified, moral, and visionary.

Sorry - no - I think he’s a bore and an asshole - he regularly employs bully antics as well as smear campaigns.

He doesn’t even lie convincingly.

His style is that of a blowhard.

He is not elequant - he cannot convey ideas and when he reads from a script he looks like an empetuant 2 year old that can’t wait to get done with his chores.

You want someone that speaks well? Reagan - he could give a speach. Obama as well.

Trump is not an orator.

From the School of Life:

[QUOTE] Between an intellectual democracy and a democracy by birthright. We have given the vote to all without connecting it to wisdom. And Socrates knew exactly where that would lead: to a system the Greeks feared above all, demagoguery.

Ancient Athens had painful experience of demagogues, for example, the louche figure of Alcibiades, a rich, charismatic, smooth-talking wealthy man who eroded basic freedoms and helped to push Athens to its disastrous military adventures in Sicily. Socrates knew how easily people seeking election could exploit our desire for easy answers. He asked us to imagine an election debate between two candidates, one who was like a doctor and the other who was like a sweet shop owner. The sweet shop owner would say of his rival: ‘Look, this person here has worked many evils on you. He hurts you, gives you bitter potions and tells you he not to eat and drink whatever you like. He’ll never serve you feasts of many and varied pleasant things like I will’.

Socrates asks us to consider the audience response: Do you think the doctor would be able to reply effectively? The true answer – ‘I cause you trouble, and go against you desires in order to help you’ would cause an uproar among the voters, don’t you think? We have forgotten all about Socrates’s salient warnings against democracy.

We have preferred to think of democracy as an unambiguous good – rather than as something that is only ever as effective as the education system that surrounds it. As a result, we have elected many sweet shop owners, and very few doctors.
[/QUOTE]

I think he also benefited from having a noticeably regional accent. We tend to see non-standard dialects as conveying authenticity (even if not necessarily other good qualities).

(When was the last time there was a big difference in accent and the one with the more Newscaster-like accent won? 1980? I guess maybe 1988, I don’t know what Dukakis sounded like.)

Yeah, he’s not. That’s my point.

He’s an idiot. He talks like an idiot. He looks like an idiot. He acts like a buffoon. There’s no trick to his speech. People just believed his lies. Now here we are.

Trump is also one of the most unpopular presidents in recent history, reaching levels of disapproval within his first year that most presidents didn’t see until a major scandal or the ends of their terms.

Part of me just thinks that Republicans have been so conditioned to hate/fear democrats that anyone/everyone with an R next to their name is preferable (to them) over a democrat.

However so many republicans are wildly in denial about what Trump is, to the point where what they believe is the opposite of true. I hear republicans say things like:

He is intelligent
He is an excellent speaker
He is honest
He brought dignity and respect back to America
He was the least crooked candidate

Things that are the complete opposite of how reality works, and they fully believe these things. That part still confuses me.

I think you will see more politicians like Trump on the right, but I’m not sure about the left. The left is not full of frightened white nationalists who score high on authoritarianism. So we probably will not succumb to some wanna be strongman and live in a bubble of misinformation.

My point is only that there are going to be people on the left who figure out that speaking in a really colloquial way, going off on “oh by the way” tangents in the middle of speeches, asking the audience rhetorical questions, and throwing in the odd vulgar imprecation, actually gets people more energized than being calm and collected.

It’s worth mentioning that Trump is also one of the first politicians to make frequent use of humor. I know it’s crude, lowbrow humor, but it is still humor. My jaw was on the floor when Trump had audiences howling with laughter during the 2016 debates, simply because it was so unprecedented, but I quickly realized that it was really, really effective.

Making people laugh is serious business, to use a very predictable expression. Humor is a major part of the human courtship process that leads to sexual reproduction, for instance. There’s virtually nothing that endears people to someone as much as making other people laugh, short of handing out money or free drugs.

IT DOESN’T MATTER in the long run that Trump’s brand of humor is idiotic and appeals to idiots. Humor is humor. Whether it’s in response to Homer Simpson or Aristophenes, the emotional response elicited is exactly the same.

What lies?

He’s done, or attempted to do, pretty much all of his major campaign promises–trade, immigration, conservative judges, rolling back regulation, etc.

I’ve got a little list.

You really think this is some kind of new or insightful observation? What you’re talking about is his persona, and of course that appeals to certain people–generally to people who don’t realize it’s just part of a schtick, part of his dog and pony show–to people with little or no critical thinking skill who can’t see through his act.

Why do you think the only thing he wants to do is go speak at rallies? It’s one of the few things his reptilian brain is adapted for, and it gets him lots of positive attention.

These are the lies.

Money and fame on TV is all it took. He could’ve consistently did his imitation of a handicapped reporter over and over and leaving debates in ah huff and low-class, uneducated would’ve still voted for him.

Of course, he’s not rich at all, so maybe that will change things.

Imagine him as the same guy but simply owning three pizzerias in bumfucktown. Never being heard of before. He wouldn’t have made the ballot for almost any state primary.

Trump has lied 4,229 times in the last 558 days.

I guess you can’t see the forest for the trees. The biggest lie of all is that these things were going to help “the forgotten” Americans, as he put it.

There have been plenty of Socialist strongmen and they were very popular.

If you think it can’t happen to the Left, that’s almost certain to lead to complacency and a failure to protect against it. You might, for example, get rid of superdelegates and instead move towards greater populism - which would be a dangerous precursor to the rise of a populist demagogue on the left.

I think Trump is excellent at publicising himself.
He will lie, make outrageous promises and use personal insults. This is manna from heaven to news outlets.

I think there is a serious rift in the US between Democrats and Republicans. Any chosen nominee benefits from this support.

I think unhappy people will seize upon any candidate who claims they can change things.

Now I’m from the UK and I’ve enjoyed visiting the US many times. I’ve had several US friends visit over here. I like a lot about the US (wide range of cuisine; customer service; ease of travel etc.)
So it appals me that Trump can get voted in.
Compare these remarks…

President Kennedy “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

President Reagan “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

fictitious President Bartlet “Today for the first time in history, the largest group of Americans living in poverty are children. 1 in 5 children live in the most abject, dangerous, hopeless, back-breaking, gut-wrenching poverty any of us could imagine. 1 in 5, and they’re children. If fidelity to freedom of democracy is the code of our civic religion then surely the code of our humanity is faithful service to that unwritten commandment that says we shall give our children better than we ourselves received. Let me put it this way: I voted against the bill because I didn’t want to make it harder for people to buy milk. I stopped some money from flowing into your pocket. If that angers you, if you resent me, I completely respect that. But if you expect anything different from the President of the United States, you should vote for someone else.”

President Trump “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

I don’t see it happening in the same way on the left. At least, not the left as it currently exists. The strongman personality that Trump has is just fundamentally at odds with current U.S. left thinking. Plus the left doesn’t really have the anti-intellectual bent that I definitely believe was needed for Trump to succeed. We’re also bigger on the whole anti-abuse wagon, which makes identifying people using abusive tactics easier for us to notice.

That’s not to say that there can’t be a version of the Left that could fall for someone like this, or that there isn’t a different sort of populist that could pull this off on the Left, just that the specific kind that Trump is wouldn’t work with the current U.S. Left.

So the bit about keeping an option to prevent a populist takeover is still relevant, and I agree with you there. They shouldn’t be needed, but they could be.