Donald Trump is now facing impeachment. And in November 2020, Trump will win the US presidential election.
This is not a political text. It places no value on his policies and WHAT he says.
It is a text about messages. It is about HOW he says what he says.
how to build a personal brand with stories.
It is also about how crucial clear messages and good storytelling are in communication today.
Most people know what Obama’s message was when he became president in 2008.
Yes. We can.
Most people know what Trump’s message was when he was elected president in 2016.
Make America great again.
What was Hillary Clinton’s message?
Nobody knows that. Hardly herself.
So here is a little reminder: “I’m with her”, “Fighting for us” and “Stronger together”. None of them anything that makes your heart skip a beat.
As the third US president of all time to be impeached, the timing couldn’t be better for Trump.
Yep, you read that right.
This more or less guarantees that Donald Trump will be re-elected as US President in November 2020. This is because the sequence of events fits his narrative – his story – perfectly.
As the fourth US president of all time to be impeached, the timing couldn’t be better for Trump. This more or less guarantees that he will be re-elected as President of the United States in November 2020.
All good storytelling has a protagonist who faces a challenge that cannot be solved without an expert. What Obama did so well in 2008 and Trump in 2016 was to find this structure in storytelling and shape simple and clear messages around it. Both made the American people the protagonist. The situation in which the country and its people found themselves was the problem. The experts/guides were themselves, Obama and Trump.
Yes, we can. An inclusive message where citizens are the hero of the story. Yes, WE can solve this.
Make America great again. Citizens together are America. Of course we will be great again.
Both messages are clear in the subconscious communication; they talk about the goal for us being something better than what we are today. Moreover, they make the voters the protagonist of their message.
That’s how it works.
“I’m with her” and “Fighting for us” made Clinton the hero of the story.
Classic mistake. Which does not work.
You should never make yourself the hero of the story.
Many thought that once he became president, Trump would tone down his tweeting. We know how it went. Today, the whole world has got used to it. There is something coming all the time.
The genius of Trump’s tweeting is that it creates dramatic impact. Highlight a problem. Communicate how bad it is. Solve the problem. Your achievement looks bigger than it is.
It is easy to show that Trump is a master at this. There are basically any number of examples. Here are a few:
When Trump calls North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ‘Little Rocket man’ and then a few months later visits North Korea, it appears to be a greater relationship and peace-building achievement than if quiet diplomacy had resulted in the visit.
“Build that wall” is simple but effective storytelling.
When Trump paints illegal immigrants from Mexico as robbers, murderers and rapists, he is painting a picture of a problem that threatens the protagonists, the American people. It is about the fundamental need of the protagonist: to feel safe. When he chants “Build that wall”, he takes the dramaturgical position of the expert who can solve the protagonists’ problems.
It is a simple dramatic formula that works.
This is what Trump has understood.
Good storytelling is based on clear and simple conflicts.
That’s why he does it all the time. The truth does not matter so much. The key is to create conflict, dramatic impact and, if the situation is resolved, the illusion of a greater achievement than it is.
It is political storytelling. And it is very, very effective.
It is political storytelling. And it is very, very effective.
Similarities with the dramaturgy of classical storytelling
Why does it work? Let’s go to one of the most successful movies in history: Star Wars.
Luke Skywalker is the hero in question. When his relatives are murdered, he faces a challenge to save the world from evil. He cannot do it on his own, but needs a guide in the form of a Jedi. Darth Vader symbolizes the cruelty of the enemy.
In basic storytelling, you only need the first three. A protagonist who faces a challenge they can’t solve on their own and enlists the help of a guide (if the protagonist can solve the problem, the story ends). There are a number of other standard characters in storytelling, with a clear enemy being the most important. It is with a clear enemy that you create leverage and dramatic impact in the challenge the protagonist faces.
All this is in Trump’s narrative. In his storytelling.
Why Trump will win the 2020 elections
Looking ahead, there is no opposition to clear messages for the 2020 elections. Neither in the Republican primary nor in the presidential election.
Moreover, Trump’s message is even stronger today.
You can think whatever you want about Trump. It can be argued, with a fair amount of evidence, that the man has a number of screws loose.
But the US economy is doing better today than in a very long time. Unemployment is lower. Taxes as well. (Whether this is due to economic doping that macroeconomically impoverishes public finances is another question).
From a message perspective, Trump has made America better.
For that, he has been hounded by the Democrats for three years. First with Muller’s investigation and then now with the Court of Justice.
Democrats make an enemy of themselves
It is easy – very easy – for Trump to paint the Democrats as the enemy in the story. The American people are always the protagonist of his important stories. The problem is always something that affects and concerns the American people. Trump is always the expert/wizard who can help them solve the problem. The Democrats (and the media) are always the enemy, constantly trying to stop him from making the American people the heroes of their own history.
It’s a perfect story. Which is only made better by impeachment.
The Democrats control the House of Representatives. There, Trump is convicted. Then it goes to the Senate. To be removed from office, two-thirds of the Senate must also vote to remove him from office. The Republicans control the Senate. For political reasons, this will not happen (the constitutional morality debate is also another issue).
So what the whole impeachment process comes down to:
It is a great opportunity for Trump to paint the picture of the enemy in the Trump story even more clearly. NWhen it’s all over, Trump will have an even stronger dramatic message to deliver. Assume that he will talk about this non-stop until the elections.
In the 2016 election, he had to create enemies – usually the media – to get the dynamic of an enemy in his story. The Democrats are now single-handedly making themselves the enemy of the story.
The undecided voters, the ones the whole campaign is about, do not choose the best politician. They choose the politician they understand best.
Clear message and storytelling make Trump stronger
Trump has 30-35% support no matter what he does. That will not change. The undecided voters – the ones the whole election campaign is about – do not choose the best politician. They choose the politician they understand best.
Among the Democratic alternatives available today, no one has a clear message that can upset Trump’s story.
So as Trump faces impeachment, we can only congratulate him on his victory in the 2020 presidential elections.
The truth is not so important.
It is the story and the message that matters.
Trump’s story – and message – is stronger than ever.