For those of us in Copywriting or Marketing there’s an irresistible urge to share our two cents about the lessons from the 2016 presidential election. Everywhere I turn, there’s someone eager to reveal the cause behind Trump’s win. Consider these examples:
– 7 Marketing Lessons Gleaned From Donald Trumps Win
– Why Trump Won
– Donald Trump’s Persuasion Secrets
– How Trump Controlled The Masses
I hereby decline to do one of those obligatory posts about the election. Why? Because the conclusions prove unreliable, my own included. Sure, I have my guesses as to why Trump won. A quick gander at the highlights provides insight that might aid me in my own work. Any insight, however, can be boiled down to guesswork.
Let’s Play Connect-The-Dots
As humans we have a tendency to play connect-the-dots. For example, Google did these three things and became worth 500 billion. So, if I start a company and do those three things, I’ll be worth at least 100 million. It’s a nice, neat story we tell ourselves. Ironically, the lack of information make it sound all the more reasonable. Adding in more information that doesn’t quite fit can spoil that neat story in our minds.
The same goes for the election. Trump did these three things better than Hillary and won the election. We get a nice, neat present wrapped up in a bow. As in the Google example, the reasoning always makes sense. After all, there’s no way to disprove it.
In an earlier article I wrote about how creating connect-the-dots logic makes it easy for your prospect to come to a desired conclusion. Like any useful tool, there’s a downside. The nearly infinite number of variables that produce an outcome, clouds the analysis.
Filtering Out 99.9% Of The Data
With the presidential election we had the uniqueness of the candidates, Russian involvement, Hillary’s emails, the Congress makeup, fake news, overall economic picture, globalization, automation, the primary process, other primary candidates, money, celebrity status of Trump, Clinton being a woman, the social views of the population at this moment in history, weather and how it affects voter turnout, third party candidates, behind the scenes power plays we are not privy to and an infinite number of other considerations.
All of those variables had some impact on the ultimate voting results. Would you trust analysis that ignores 99.9% of the variables and uses the remaining one or two to draw a definite conclusion?
I will go out on a limb and guarantee that the 2020 election will encompass its own unique variables that all play a part in determining the outcome.
Should We Ignore The Lessons
It’s our nature (and a bit of fun) to boil down who won to a few sound bites. Donald Trump won because he did A, B and C. If a few thousand votes had switched to Clinton’s favor in Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania we’d get the opposite analysis. And those reasons would make just as much sense as the reasons Trump won.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t learn from history. We can look at the past election and determine which strategies seemed to help each candidate and which strategies hurt each candidate. Politics can be tricky. People often ignore the candidate and vote the party (yet another variable to consider).
Enjoy the debate and the lessons learned about why Trump won and Clinton lost. Just don’t change your strategies because of the findings.
Side Note: I wrote this article around 8AM. I edited it around 4PM. Just before my editing session a new podcast popped into my feed. It read: How Facebook Determined The ElectionRead More →