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OPINION

We Can Learn From Trump's Rhetorical Superpowers

caracature of a condident donald trump smiling in front of an american flag
(Dreamstime)

Ralph Benko By Thursday, 06 June 2024 12:48 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

(Editor's Note: The following opinion column does not constitute an endorsement of any political party or candidate on the part of Newsmax.)

Love or hate Trump, we should learn the superpowers of narrative and of declaration from him.

I have written about Trump’s mesmerizing superpowers before at Newsmax and its aspiring rivals Fortune, Forbes, The Economic Standard, and the National Guild’s Journal of Hypnotism. Donald J. Trump’s resilience among his fans — roughly half of the electorate — is remarkable.

Let’s learn! Learn what?

As Napoleon once remarked, “Imagination rules the world.”

Two of the five known forms of rhetoric, narrative and declaration, appeal to the imagination. By their use you, like Napoleon and Trump, can, at least for a while, rule the world.

Use your newfound powers only for good.

So here comes a Big Reveal (in which I lump Thomas Jefferson and Donald Trump into the same category for the first, and probably last, time).

One of the earliest thought leaders for us propagandists (long before the iconic Edward Bernays and his less saucy, more ethical successor, Michael Schein) was Samuel P. Newman, who taught America A Practical System of Rhetoric.

Newman taught us that there are four modes of rhetoric. Three are weak, one strong.

The weak ones? Description, exposition and argument.

Alas, most of my fellow conservatives bitterly cling to the three weak forms of persuasion. The latter, argument, is especially beloved by conservative-adjacent libertarians.

The strong one? Narrative.

Narrative means a compelling story with a hero (or, in Trump’s case, anti-hero) fighting (or at least kayfabing) a villain (or implacable impersonal force such as climate change). A story engages the imagination of, in this case, the voters.

Millions thereby are motivated to pay attention, attend rallies, send money, provide advocacy, and vote for the candidate with the best story … or declarations.

Leftists, from “progressives” (the preferred euphemism for totalitarians) to honest center-left liberals, employ narrative and declaration. With these epic stories, the left consistently opens up cans of powerpuffs on us noble conservatives. Ouch!

Following Newman’s discovery of narrative, I, a professional propagandist, discovered a second strong form of persuasion, declaration. Thomas Jefferson did not draft the “explanation” or “description” of or “argument for” independence.

He wrote a declaration. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

By making a declaration, Jefferson conjured these truths into evidence and these rights into existence. Such is the power of strong rhetoric!

Luckily for us right wingers, only one known progressive (hi, Joan!) is suspected of reading my columns. Thus, I can with impunity reveal my own discovery of a second strong mode of rhetoric with which to raze the progressive house of cards to its foundations.

Hopefully, this grand discovery will inspire you to bestow upon me the kind of glory enjoyed by Samuel P. Newman. Donald Trump, meanwhile, has achieved unique mastery of narrative and declaration, propelling himself to three presidential nominations, thereby tying another great orator, William Jennings Bryan.

Then, on to election as president and, quite possibly, a second term.

So. WWDD? What would Donald do?

Would? What does he do?

As Billy Bush (of Access Hollywood tape infamy) observed in the New York Times a few years ago that “[Trump] … once told me … after I called him out for inflating his ratings: ‘People will just believe you. You just tell them and they believe you. ...’”

As reported by Vanity Fair in 2015, Trump “was known to be making shocking deals now that he never could have made two months before. ‘Trump won’t do a deal unless there’s something extra — a kind of moral larceny — in it,’ one of his rivals once said of him. ... 'Give them the old Trump [BS],’ he told the architect Der Scutt before a presentation of the Trump Tower design at a press conference in 1980. ‘Tell them it is going to be a million square feet, sixty-eight stories.’”

As @ HaackJoe330 observed at X:

“Trump consciously uses repetition: The ‘illusory truth effect’ — a tendency to believe false information as true if repeated. This phenomena (sic) was identified in a 1977 study at Villanova. Repetition leads people to believe that the repeated conclusion is more truthful than if not repeated.”

None of Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination, nor President Joe “Dark Brandon” Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, have anything even close to the mastery of the strong forms of persuasion — narrative and declaration — of Donald Trump.

Trump is no real archconservative’s idea of a conservative. That said, his mastery of narrative and declaration rival or exceed that of our archenemies, the “progressives.”

And so, love Trump or hate him, it behooves us to learn from him… if only to stymie the left.

Imagination rules the world!

Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of the 200,000+ follower "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply-Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $104T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


RalphBenko
Trump is no real archconservative’s idea of a conservative. That said, his mastery of narrative and declaration rival or exceed that of our archenemies, the “progressives.”
donald trump, 2024 elections
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2024-48-06
Thursday, 06 June 2024 12:48 PM
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