Donald Trump is worried about Ben Carson. For a while there he was sure he had the GOP nomination wrapped up, as the yes-men surrounding him kept saying "Yes, Mr. Trump, you won the latest poll."
But even the brownest of noses can't say that with a straight face anymore, so Trump has abandoned his old 'counterpunch' strategy and has begun using every dirty rhetorical trick he can come up with, to smear attack Carson. Here are two Madison Avenue tricks the Fifth Avenue liberal used this week.
Trump's argument used to be that everyone loved his immigration plan. Then it became that he's a winner and everyone else is a loser. Now his argument is.. well.. to use rhetorical tricks to attack Ben Carson. No issues, no substance, just tricks.
This 9-minute tirade against Carson shows us what the game is, and it's very transparent. First, he throws a bone to his strongest Internet supporters, the white nationalists, immediately at the start of the video:
TRUMP: Now Carson's an enigma to me.
TRUMP: I didn't say it! [Laughter]
Why are they laughing? What didn't he say? Let me break up the word to elucidate: e-NIG-ma. Trump's message in this whole passage is that Carson is a violent monster, and the racist stereotype of the black goon. So he's got to get that 'nig' part in there to hammer his point home. "I didn't say it," Trump says. Not that he didn't mean it, but just that he didn't say it. Trump is using base innuendo to hint at something he can't actually get away with saying, just like any crude ad on television or radio these days.
Then, he uses a psychological trick, one he's used in other appearances, such as at 20 seconds in this interview. Notice how in this interview he leans forward, and emphasizes the words "child molester." Donald Trump makes sure you heard the words "child molester" loud and clear. The idea is to get you to associate those words with his target, because Donald Trump repeats the words "child molester" next to the name of his opponent over and over again.
In the end, Donald Trump hopes you will associate child molestation with his opponent. It's a dirty trick of a candidate who has no message left. But hey, I guess it's better that Donald Trump is talking about child molestation, than going on and on dating his daughter. Yes, much better that Trump sets himself up as an expert on child molesters.
Photo by Gage Skidmore on flickr