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Trump’s "linguistic killshot"

Scott Adams, the Dilbert guy, writes perceptively about Trump’s skill verbally assassinating his opponents with what Scott kills a “linguistic killshot.” His example is Trump labeling Jeb! as “low-energy.” It’s the type of description that cannot be countered and cannot be unheard. Adams notes that Trump is both very calculating and very smart about this.

But he predicts that Trump’s shot against Hillary Clinton will be that she is not “credible.” I think I disagree. For one thing, that’s been the explicit beef against her for twenty years. For another, I don’t think it will have much traction with the people Trump needs to reach, because independents are just as likely to think that Trump negotiating with allies is more of a Dukakis-in-the-tank moment than a vision of credibility.

Assuming that Hillary is the nominee, I think maybe Trump will go after her as “always flapping her jaws,” as “chatty but no one can understand what she’s saying,” as “blah blah NATO blah blah Excuses blah blah Policy Report #45278 Part A.” But that’s not what America needs, he’ll tell us. We need someone who will stand up to our allies and kill our enemies. “It’s not that hard, folks. And we don’t need a Chatty Cathy for that.”

This has the effect of neutralizing her deep expertise, especially in foreign affairs, thus turning her strength against her. It makes her look weak-willed. There is no effective counter to it. And it’s deeply misogynistic. In short, it’s got Trump in big gold letters all over it.

2 Responses to “Trump’s "linguistic killshot"”

  1. […] Trump's "linguistic killshot" […]

  2. I’ve not thought this through too much (it is hard, and it leaves a bad taste, to think about Trump), but for what it is worth, I doubt he’ll be the nominee. I’m expecting (hoping?) he will withdraw after several personal attacks, or insults, or… get to him. He’ll claim that they (the attacks and the candidates or reporters) are unfair and that people don’t understand him and how good he would be for the country.

    If here were the candidate, or even before he withdraws, I expect him to be more overtly a misogynist in remarks about Secretary Clinton. It is hard to guess where his aim will be, but appearance, age, more Bill are not unimaginable.

    I’m renewing my passport.


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