Lisa Mascaro's column in Sunday's Tribune (Sep 18, 2016) says some of Donald Trump's communication style may leave a mark on the medium.
She says, "Experts say he employs a very deliberate, effective communications approach unlike any other presidential candidate in recent memory. The Trumpisms--'Believe me', 'People say', 'Sad'--have become so well known they are the subject of spoofs. But, like a savvy salesman or breakthrough advertising campaign, Trump's techniques carry a quiet power."
Ms. Mascaro lists seven Trump techniques and explains why they work. The first is, "The art of the insult". "Trump's name-calling may sound like simple bullying. But labelling his opponents with cutting nicknames also creates simple frames--catchphrases--that stick in voters' minds, often because they reinforce existing perceptions." She compares them to a good advertising jingle.
The next technique discussed is saying something over and over. She quotes linguistics professor George Lakoff. "The more a word is heard, the more the circuit is activated and the stronger it gets, and so the easier it is to fire again."
As to Trump's catch phrase, 'Believe me', Ms. Mascaro writes, "Experts say it plays to listeners' desire for a strong leader with easy solutions. Trump becomes like someone who is huddling close to tell a secret or like a salesman giving you the inside scoop on a deal." "People say", she notes, is "one of Trump's signature constructs when he's about to say something controversial--even conspiratorial--but wants to lean on others to do it. The 'people say' construct allows him to float an idea without taking full ownership or blame."
"Trump rarely issues a public apology, no matter how wrong he is proven to be or how strong the public pressure."
Ms. Mascaro notes that one of Trump's biggest strengths is his ability to speak plainly and keep everything very simple. "He convinces supporters that simple solutions would work and that intractable problems linger only because of the 'stupidity of U.S. leaders.'"
Finally, she notes his constant exaggeration. "Trump's plans are 'tremendous'. His victories 'HUUUGE'. Exaggeration and hyperbole are hallmarks of Trump's communication style". There is some controversy whether he keeps saying "bigly" or "big league" but like Starbucks' coffee, big is the smallest comparative he uses.
When you're already in love, the object of your affections can say or do no wrong. Trump says he could shoot someone and not lose a vote. The great dictators were not trying to persuade their masses of supporters. No question, when you already have a fish on the line, reel it in. But when you're talking to someone who is ready to listen and is capable of being persuaded, Trump's techniques are going to backfire sooner or later. The story of Donald Trump's rhetoric is still being written. P.T. Barnum's famous statement seems quite applicable; You can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.