DILBERT KNOWS BEST: Details the methods of Donald J. Trump!


Part 2—Narrative all the way down:
Yesterday, we thought we saw something troubling at the new Salon, a relentlessly dumbed-down site.

What we saw speaks to the general spread of the political culture sometimes described as Trumpism. The troubling manifestation appeared in one of the new Salon's patented gong-show headlines:
TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2016 03:30 PM EDT
TV ad blasts “Debt Trap Debbie” Wasserman Schultz for supporting predatory payday lenders
Allied Progress campaign condemns the DNC chair for "sabotaging" federal regulation of payday lenders, who fund her
As usual, the new Salon's headline was misleading. In a break with current practice, it was only slightly so.

The new TV ad in question doesn't specifically refer to Wasserman Schultz as "Debt Trap Debbie," at least not in its spoken content. That said, the low-information ad does direct viewers to a site, DebtTrapDebbie.com, through its use of a chyron.

The ad and the site come from a "progressive" group supporting Wasserman Schultz's opponent. To our mind, this suggests that the low-IQ culture called Trumpism is growing and spreading quite fast.

At present, Candidate Trump is running against an opponent he persistently describes as "Crooked Hillary." This follows his use of similar simple-minded references against his primary opponents.

Is Hillary Clinton actually "crooked?" In the end, inevitably, that's a matter of judgment.

But as a matter of political argument and reasoning, no major party nominee has ever adopted such simple-minded rhetoric as the rhetoric Trump employs when he throws darts in this manner.

The technique comes straight from the cartoon culture of Superman comic books, where Metropolis was constantly under threat from cartoonized comic book villains. Its logic comes from the low-IQ world of professional wrestling, a world with which Candidate Trump has a long association.

Candidate Obama was the first black major-party nominee. Candidate Trump will be the first major-party nominee who is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately, he speaks and "reasons" exactly like such a candidate.

As the general election approaches, Candidate Trump rails against the person called "Crooked Hillary." In Florida, a progressive group now rails against "Debt Trap Debbie." As we see this rhetoric spread, we see a quantum leap in the dumbing of our nation's political discourse.

According to the creator of Dilbert, this dumbing of the public discourse explains why Trump will win in November.

Will Donald J. Trump get elected this fall? We have no way of knowing. But we do think it's a possibility, and we think Dilbert's line of reasoning is very much worth a review.

Dilbert's creator is Scott Adams; he has a background in hypnosis, which can be a handy tool. According to the Washington Post's Michael Cavna, Adams thinks Trump will win for the following reasons:
According to Dilbert, six reasons why Trump will win
1. Trump knows people are basically irrational.
2. Knowing that people are irrational, Trump aims to appeal on an emotional level.
3. By running on emotion, facts don’t matter.
4. If facts don’t matter, you can’t really be “wrong.”
5. With fewer facts in play, it’s easier to bend reality.
6. To bend reality, Trump is a master of identity politics—and identity is the strongest persuader.
In his profile of Adams' thinking, Cavna briefly explains, or attempts to explain, each of those points. Cavna's explanations aren't great, but those basic points deserve full consideration.

Might we note one more basic point? Cavna is describing a process we've long discussed at this site.

This process didn't start with Candidate Trump. We've discussed the decades-long growth of this process—of this intellectual culture—within the work of the professional guild and social club still described as "the mainstream press corps."

We've endlessly described this culture in the following way:

Increasingly, facts and logic have come to play almost no role in the work of the mainstream press. Facts are no longer a part of the game. It's narrative all the way down.

Essentially, that's the culture Adams describes as he analyzes the work of Candidate Trump.

When Trump reduces the discourse to fact-free, wildly embellished accounts of the depredations of "Crooked Hillary," he is dumbing the discourse all the way down. But he's following a model which has long been established within the mainstream press corps.

"Al Gore is willing to say and do anything" isn't much different from "Crooked Hillary." But these silly, cartoonized portraits have been the basic stuff of "the mainstream press" at least from 1992 on.

Tomorrow, we'll revisit The Manchurian Candidate. For today, let's stress a few more key points:

The dumbness of this cartoon culture represents the death of the Enlightenment ideal of the democratic process. When the public discourse gets this dumb, that process has ceased to exist.

That said, it's important to understand these points:

The spread of that culture through the mainstream press has been tolerated by the liberal world every step of the way. Beyond that, the silly cartooning which Trump employs is increasingly an artifact of our own "liberal" culture.

Rachel Maddow now sells us cartoons every night of the week. She has been getting rich and famous as part of this low-IQ process.

We liberals seem to be too dumb to spot this process when it occurs within our own tents. Now we rush to play the same game, inveighing against Debt Trap Debbie.

The use of such lingo is pure Trumpism; it's Trumpism all the way down. So is the cartooning and clowning in which Maddow routinely engages.

We liberals! We can't seem to spot the Trumpism being performed within our own tribe. Have we been hypnotized in some way? Are we hypnotized all the way down?

Tomorrow: Maddow and Trump in Manchuria


  1. "In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements,” the report noted.

    The staff member recalled that the director said Clinton’s personal system had already been reviewed and approved by legal staff “and that the matter was not to be discussed any further,” according to the report’s language.

    “As previously noted, OIG found no evidence that staff in the Office of the Legal Adviser reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton’s personal system,” the next line of the report reads.

    The other staff member who raised concerns said the director stated that the department’s mission is to “support the Secretary and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.”

    1. As Lawrence Wilkerson (aide to Colin Powell) pointed out, it wasn't part of the job description of the Office of the Legal Adviser to approve Clinton's email system. She did consult lawyers, just not those particular ones. I think you have correctly gotten the point that Clinton was the Secretary of State and that she set the rules, and not her staff or other random people attending meetings.

      If you read the whole report, it criticizes the State Department for not having policies in place to archive information, not assessing and recommending solutions to data problems, etc. This was s systems failure, not Clinton's fault. She was just doing what the previous Secretaries of State had done. The matter is bureaucratic trivia ginned up into a pseudoscandal by conservatives.

    2. The FBI and IG are investigating HRC and her staff because of HRC's unique use of a private server for all of her emails while at Foggy Bottom because conservatives are running the FBI and Obama's Department of State. HRC's spinmeister Brian Fallon tried to dismiss the scandal as a right wing conspiracy but only managed to persuade folks like yourself who couldn't care less if their candidate is corrupt.

    3. The FBI and the IG are investigating HRC... because they can. You are here doing what you are doing because...

    4. This isn't the right example to prove to anyone that HRC is corrupt. She has turned over mountains of emails (and no one else has), she has complied with all requests. My understanding is that the FBI has said it is not investigating HRC. The IG has but came up with nothing. Do people understand that this is the result of a FOIA harassment suit focused on her staff's connections to the Foundation, and that nothing has been found to be improper there either?

    5. @Gamaroc

      The FBI and IG picked HRC's name out of the phone book at random for criminal investigation? Ok. You are here doing what you do because HRC supporters couldn't care less about HRC's lackadaisical attitude to securing communications while at Foggy Bottom.

    6. @7:17

      Which or the numerous examples of HRC's perfidy would you rather discuss?

    7. cicero

      I advise you to listen to Comey. There is no criminal investigation into HRC. You have been duped, or you know better and are attempting to dupe others.

    8. ¬ℵ¬¬∩⠿⣸⣸ΞJune 1, 2016 at 11:34 PM


    9. @10:32

      You mean the Comey who said he has no idea what HRC is talking about when she says the FBI is doing a "security review/inquiry."


    10. Yeah, that's the guy.

      Seems like a pretty honorable man. Stood tall during the GWB U.S. Attorney Dismissal Scandal.

      In May 2007, Comey testified before both the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and the House Judiciary subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on the U.S. Attorney dismissal scandal. His testimony contradicted that of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who said the firings had been due to poor performance on the part of some of the dismissed prosecutors.

      Oh my, another Republican administration scandal. Another Republican Attorney General getting caught lying.

      Thems' were the days, eh?

      Just curious, cicero. Did Director Comey clarify this and say specifically what exactly we should call it?

    11. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refers to HRC email server as "criminal investigation."
      1:06 into video


  2. Here at the Howler, readers are conditioned by the hypnotic impact of endless repetition. When alerted to "Trumpisms" employed by Bob Somerby they deny he does such a thing.

    1. Repetition is important when you are doing a political campaign, or trying to persuade people in an issue campaign. The difference in whether it is good or bad is whether what you are repeating is true or not.

    2. Thanks. As a liberal I was too dumb to spot that.

    3. Yes. Thank you for putting my mind at ease. Who pays these respected journalists, and what motivations they, through their bosses, may have does not matter in the least. They say they're on my side, and that's good enough for me!

      Bob's just a crank. He's jealous. He lies. He's not on our side. He's boring. He's not funny. He's stupid.

      And I'm so mad at him that no one should ever discuss the changes in journalism in the current climate, because ... hypocrisy!

      Oh, and I almost forgot, who wants to be able to detect the way in which professional writers misdirect readers? What an utterly worthless skill to have! Look away!

    4. You repeat like Rachel and snark like Somerby.

      When I snap my fingers these comparisons will be reversed. And your mind will be more at ease than ever before just as if this never happened.

  3. There is a basic problem with scandal politics. If it doesn't work, by being the accuser, you look like a narc. When it does work, your enemy gets ousted, but the electorate has not been informed about any policy matters. The next election is just a do-over. The next office holder will probably have the same policy outlook as the target of the scandal-mongers, just a little cleaner (scandal-wise).

    1. Reform governments are less effective than the people they replace. They lack experience, they do not have communication pathways in place, there is no clear hierarchy, and in their zeal they throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    2. Valuable point, anon 12:06

  4. Adams is a funny cartoonist, but Hillary will win. Why?

    Trump has to flip some blue states to win. Unlikely.

    Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election between 1992 and 2012. 242 electoral votes.

    By contrast, 13 states have voted for the Republican presidential nominee in each of the past six elections. 102 electoral votes.

    If Clinton wins the 19 states that every Democratic nominee dating to her husband has won and she wins Florida (29 electoral votes), she wins the White House.

    Or if she wins the 19 reliable Democratic states and Virginia (13 electoral votes) and Ohio (18). Or the 19 states plus Nevada (6), Colorado (9) and North Carolina (15).

    There many ways for Clinton to get to 270 electoral votes. There are very few ways for Trump to get there.

    1. We'll find out at some point won't we. What is the purpose of all this projecting who will win? Not just you, but that seems to be pretty much what all the coverage is about. And for what it's worth (I know not much) Dilbert isn't very funny. Zippy is funny.

  5. How horrible of Salon to mislead. What are the degrees of "slightly" misleading. What could they have done to make it "less" misleading.

    Who coined that inflammatory "debt trap" term? Who gave Salon the idea they should repeat such a thing?
    And who in their right mind pimps poppycock with such alliteration?

    1. The answer in all cases is Bernie. He wants to remove DWS.

    2. Shultz is a disaster at times but there is nothing wrong with supporting her opponent but what happens to the GONG SHOW when DWS gets re-elected? Most of us are governed by Republican Govs because THE VOTERS prefer it that way. Throwing tantrums and ridiculing is of no use but "a lot of fun" Fun gets you HOW FAR ? {Nowhere IMHO}

  6. I tend to approve of the attacks on DWS and it seems fact based to me. Here are what I consider to be facts.

    1. payday lenders are pernicious companies that prey on the desperate and the stupid
    2. they should be regulated, completely out of business if it was up to me
    3. they are very profitable
    4. as such, they can buy their way out of regulation
    5. DWS, among her other flaws, appears to have been bought

    Calling her out for it by calling her a name seems like as good a tactic as any other. At least, I am more inclined to be critical of DWS on this than I am of my own allies in this matter.

    1. This is coming from Canova's campaign (supported by Bernie). She is promoting a bill that would delay regulations for two years. States with existing regulations are exempt from it, including Schmidt's own state of Florida, so she is not doing the bidding of any Florida constituents. It might be a good idea to look at the bill and see why the delay is being proposed, what it contains, and why Democrats (besides Schultz) are urging a delayed phase in of regulations of payday loans. The delayed phase-in might be the only way to gain sufficient support for extending the regulations beyond the states that already have them.

      But, if you'd rather just call names...

  7. If you don't think like Bob you are using your lizard brain. Don't be prehuman like dumb tribal liberal rubes.

    Stand up for the Enlightenment ideal of the democratic process. Or else the wrestler wins and culture dies.

  8. Sometimes they call it Trumpism.

    Now we rush to play the same game, inveighing against Debt Trap Debbie.

    The fiery Rachel Maddow—she’s sometimes called The Nun.

    The use of such lingo is pure Trumpism; it's Trumpism all the way down. It's now known as the "Maddow Edit."

    We liberals! We can't seem to spot the Trumpism being performed within our own tribe. Have we been hypnotized in some way?

    Let's ask Chris Hayes. He's sometimes called "The Puppy." When he agressively pimps. I think.

    1. She calls herself the nun. Doesn't it make a difference who is calling who what? Somerby has called Hayes a puppy, but I think that adjective does capture his bumbling enthusiasm. Hardly the same connotation as "debt trap Debby" in my opinion.

    2. Lord the depths the brainwashed go to defend their bloggin' Bobby boy.

      From now on @ 4:46 I shall refer to you as the Commenter Sometimes Called "Full Immersion"

    3. Lord the depths the troll goes to to pretend Somerby ain't right, Maddow's all right, journalism isn't broken.

      From now on, we shall refer to him as "The Self-Important Suckup."

  9. चिचेरो त्रोल्ल्स फ़ोर् कोपेक्स वहिले सोमेर्ब्य स्विङ्ग्स अत लोव-हन्गिन्ग पिनतस.

  10. My life became devastated when my husband sent me packing, after 8 years that we have been together. I was lost and helpless after trying so many ways to make my husband take me back. One day at work, i was absent minded not knowing that my boss was calling me, so he sat and asked me what its was all about i told him and he smiled and said that it was not a problem. I never understand what he meant by it wasn't a problem getting my husband back, he said he used a spell to get his wife back when she left him for another man and now they are together till date and at first i was shocked hearing such thing from my boss. He gave me an email address of the great spell caster who helped him get his wife back, i never believed this would work but i had no choice that to get in contact with the spell caster which i did, and he requested for my information and that of my husband to enable him cast the spell and i sent him the details, but after two days, my mom called me that my husband came pleading that he wants me back, i never believed it because it was just like a dream and i had to rush down to my mothers place and to my greatest surprise, my husband was kneeling before me pleading for forgiveness that he wants me and the kid back home, then i gave Happy a call regarding sudden change of my husband and he made it clear to me that my husband will love me till the end of the world, that he will never leave my sight. Now me and my husband is back together again and has started doing pleasant things he hasn't done before, he makes me happy and do what he is suppose to do as a man without nagging. Please if you need help of any kind, kindly contact Happy for help and you can reach him via email: happylovespell2@gmail.com

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