Wednesday, November 9, 2016

PSYOP Comes To The Presidency

It is pretty clear that the President Elect understands the principles of PSYOP and marketing. Simple, direct messages targeted at a clearly defined audience combined with concentrating your efforts where they will do the most good appear to have been keys to his unexpected success.

Task and Purpose a military oriented site published an article (see:; which is also the photo source) which, in my view sums up how the President Elect defeated the ‘establishment’.

The article and the campaign contain great lessons for PSYOP, but the end results and the new Administration’s ability to craft a cohesive and workable political strategy and the military strategy behind it remain to be seen.

The article summed up Mr. Trump’s success in one sentence: ““He benefited from a very easy to understand and appreciate message: ‘Make America great again,’ ... That’s not about Donald Trump; that’s about the American worker who used to be punching in at the textile plant.”

Voters, especially those whose manufacturing jobs, and the economy surrounding them understood the Message, agreed with it and voted for the Messenger.

We also learned that celebrity is perhaps more important in the U.S. than any sort of qualifications or experience. To be fair, Mr. Trump is a showman, and he may stand for the proposition that there are limits to political correctness.

Mr. Trump also knew his target. While the media proclaimed that his sweet spot was “non-college-educated white voters”, anecdotally I know quite a few ardent Trump supporters who are indeed college educated and the numbers are far too big to include only this group.

Trump targeted the voters who make up the majority of the electorate and according to the article, Secretary Clinton was not able to garner the kind of support that President Obama did either in the black or Latino community.

Mr. Trump also did very well in the ‘up for grabs’ states. I’ve often posted about needing to concentrate on those on the fence rather than trying to move those on either end of your message’s spectrum.

The Clinton campaign also had some PSYOP examples, unfortunately, not many of them are good ones. Her campaign seemed to appeal to educate elites and was more often focused on Secretary Clinton herself. The “I’m with her.” didn’t resonate because, only a few wanted to be and they were concentrated in the liberal blue states.

The next test for Mr. Trump will be to appoint competent and experienced people to help him guide the nation and to control his mercurial nature. He may surprise us all, or in 2020 the US will tell him “You’re fired!”

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