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December 29, 2015


Money well spent by whoever in the Republican constellations of money spent it. Sometimes you have to know the worst. In a sense this reminds me of a grade ten biology class experiment in which, working in pairs, we collectively determined that a pill bug, exposed to bright light, moves away from that light. No big surprises there. And not much more complexity to be found in the Trumpian horde. I'd bet a considerable sum that whoever paid this Trumpian investigation was looking chinks in their pill bug armor that could be used to erode his support. The key to defeating Trump is to demonstrate that he is not a winner and that he can lose.
What Luntz established is what we all essentially believed but that does not invalidate the experiment. Nor does it mean that all the results were made public. If there is a way to turn at least some of Trump's supporters away from him and I were a Republican operative I'd sure want to know how. And if there isn't I'd want to know that too.

Donald Trump is not the id of the republican party so much as he is the id for the American public. The part of the American public that doesn't follow politics, probably don't even know who their own congressperson is, yet seem to have the authority to claim "both sides are bad" and all politicians are the same. They don't care that he basically says the same things over and over again, without being specific about anything. They take him for a Washington outsider because he's never held elected office. But he claims to know how the system works, because he openly says that he gives politicians money and then they do what he asks. Doesn't that just as easily make him a political insider? The late, great George Carlin used to say that the reason he didn't make jokes about politicians, was because they come from the people. He said it wasn't the politicians who suck. It's the people who suck.

I'm with Peter G. Anything valuable that came out of the focus group wasn't written about in the FT. Luntz is a skillful propagandist and it's a mistake to underestimate him.

There is a meta aspect to focus groups that people like Luntz use. Take a group of Trump supporters and let them hear each others views. If you give them long enough the opinions of the group will to some degree converge as some members adopt the views of the more persuasive or strident members of the group. Inside the bubble you get to see in real time what arguments and what consensus can be forged to reinforce existing views or change them. You aren't necessarily looking to find out what they think so much as how that thinking can be shaped. That's what the dark lord of the ego, Luntz, does extremely well. He isn't going to tell us those results. They only go to whoever paid for those insights.

We're definitely in the wrong business.

Right. You never know when he's going to hit another one out of the park like renaming the inheritance tax the "death tax".

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