【雙語】明星、政客、開發商──為什麼「三度進化」的川普真的能贏?

【雙語】明星、政客、開發商──為什麼「三度進化」的川普真的能贏?

【本文以中英雙語刊出/中文編譯:黃維德】

沒來論述嚴肅又無聊、關於台灣經濟的看法,而是寫些偏向主流的東西,實在不太像我。但看見《換日線》其他作者書寫旅遊經驗和體會,明顯獲得了更多的流量和讚數,我決定來做件台灣人最會做的事──用稍低一些的品質模仿、複製他人的東西──大談我在美國出差時,對於川普和共和黨全代會(剛好在我出差之時舉行)的觀察與想法、寫寫他的演說和小孩。

上週,川普發表提名演說、誇誇其談超過一小時,成為史上最長的提名演說。一如過往,演說主題包山包海、沒什麼焦點,內容缺乏相關細節,而是以選民的情緒、恐懼和焦慮為本。以黨代表大會這種造勢場合來說,川普的演說其實不錯──算不上經典,但也夠像個總統候選人了。

我在波特蘭前往西雅圖(三小時車程)的路上,一邊開車、一邊聽共和黨全代會;我聽得非常仔細,好在這段漫長的車程中對抗時差。

川普

演說中雖然充滿浮誇之詞,但在接下來幾個月,川普只要避開瘋狂種族歧視者的形象,他就有機會勝選。這場演說並沒有引燃新的怒火,選民也已經開始習慣他先前的那些氣人之處;因此,從策略來看,這場演說的表現非常好。如果川普繼續如此、繼續避免引燃新怒火,將焦點放在當個政治人物而非名流,嘗試拿下幾個搖擺州,他真的能贏。

攏絡人心方面,川普家族則是全代會的焦點之一。眾人似乎將他們比作廣受民眾喜愛的甘迺迪家族,而不是布希家族或是川普當前的對手柯林頓家族。小唐諾和艾瑞克 ‧ 川普彷如傑克和鮑比 ‧ 甘迺迪;梅蘭尼亞 ‧ 川普縱使講稿寫作出問題,仍舊讓人想起賈桂琳 ‧ 甘迺迪──沉默、知性又優雅。伊凡卡 ‧ 川普本身就是名人,自然也是他父親的重大資產。我們那不理性的大腦會忽視空洞和膚淺,只看見新的甘迺迪家族,而且希望他們能更常出現在我們眼前。在一個只是假裝在乎政治的國家,這就是選舉魔法的強大之處。

在川普的提名演說中,我想不起任何無趣的政策聲明,部分原因在於,演說中幾乎沒有政策這種東西,而且沒有人會在看川普演說的時候在乎這種東西。正如我先前所言,空洞造就的是舊有的憤怒,這些怒火在一陣子之後就會疲弱無力。不過,在說服人心方面,我倒是有下列印象:

1. 川普表示,因為他對穆斯林移民採行強硬態度,所以他才是真正的、LGBTQ 社群的保護者。這個說法有其合理之處(編按:傳統伊斯蘭教義和多數穆斯林國家,嚴格禁止同性戀行為,並視之為罪惡),那些強調事實的人也會忽視此事,因為它太過於「真實」了。川普提出此論點後,無論希拉蕊在保護 LGBTQ 方面提出什麼說法,都會顯得虛偽造作。結合反恐和 LGBTQ 人權,也是個非常聰明的手段:反恐、或是成為「法律與秩序」的代言人,已然成為川普的主要焦點。即使共和黨對 LGBTQ 族群的看法不是那麼寬容,但也正如川普的詮譯:我們(共和黨)的寬容程度真的比不上激進伊斯蘭團體嗎?

2. 川普最棒的脫稿演出,就是他謙卑地承認,他或許根本不配擁有福音派基督徒的支持。這是說服人心的神來之筆:想讓信仰虔誠的人愛你,最棒的方法就是承認你根本不值得他們愛。川普從來就不虔誠,個人品牌亦建立於炫燿和傲慢之上──這樣的人如今卻展露謙卑覺醒的態度,必定會讓老派、虔誠的基督徒激動地流下眼淚。

3. 川普數度提及包容。但以說服人心來說,他表現最棒的地方就是借用希拉蕊陣營的口號「我和她站在一起」,改為「我和你們站在一起」。這是非常厲害的借力使力,他先是承認對方口號的真實之處,接著就讓那個口號顯得荒謬無比。

4. 全代會的有趣時刻之一,即為知名穆斯林領袖薩吉 ‧ 塔拉身穿西裝領結,帶領眾人祈禱。他請全場觀眾一同向上帝祈禱:部分宗教傾向強烈的川普支持者或許會想,他們和他是不是在向同一個上帝祈禱。接著,我們看見身為 LGBTQ 社群一份子的矽谷創投家彼德 ‧ 泰爾上場,他強調這場選舉的關鍵議題,並非種族或他自身的 LGBTQ 權利,而是美國的經濟實力。這些事件的有趣之處在於,它們為大會的觀眾創造了視覺和邏輯上的衝突。穆斯林領袖現身基督徒佔多數的觀眾之間,兼具同志身份的矽谷(矽谷以民主黨支持者為大宗)明星提出不甚寬容的說法,告訴觀眾 LGBTQ 人權應該讓路給經濟;以全代會來說,這真的非常非常怪異。

小孩

兒子成為父親的陪襯,亦十分值得一提。川普的對手曾表示,核彈密碼不該交到川普的手中,小唐諾 ‧ 川普則替希拉蕊打上了「高風險」候選人的標籤;此話由川普的兒子說出口,相當具有說服力。對選民來說,沒有人想承受生命危險,由希拉蕊的電子郵件爭議出發、批評她「判斷力不佳」,進而強調希拉蕊帶有的風險,也是相當合理的說法。川普其中一個兒子的演說,直接反制了「川普是個危險選擇」的印象。

民眾對川普的觀感不佳,各界的共識則是,川普的小孩改善了民眾對川普的看法。人類常會做出這樣的半理性假設──能養出這麼棒的小孩,他私底下一定與選舉場合不同。我也不例外:那當然並非事實的全貌,然而,這樣的想法確實曾經閃過我的腦海。部分專家稱之為「偽因為」──不管接在「因為」二字後頭的字句多麼不合理,人類都會視之為具備邏輯性的理由,證實「因為」二字之前的說法有其合理性。換言之,我們是在替自己尋找藉口,並將藉口視為合理的理由,即使那根本不合理。

許多選民想支持川普,但川普多年來所創造的形象實在太過負面,他們無法真的支持川普。因此,許多人努力地嘗試、等待「偽因為」出現,好讓自己能支持川普。川普的小孩就是大家需要的「偽因為」;演說之後,我們開始聽見這樣的說法:

「川普的小孩,讓我們更了解他們父親。」

這樣的說法,可以翻譯為「我想投川普,先前我投不下去,但現在可以了;他應該是個很棒的父親,因為他的小孩很棒。

要是沒有川普的小孩、要是川普沒有開始推銷整個川普家族,我們就會繼續比較川普和希拉蕊在視覺上的吸引力;最近,川普又加上了剛從大學畢業的小女兒蒂芬妮,以及年僅 10 歲的兒子。一旦我們看到整個川普家族凝聚為一體,我們的視覺大腦就會開始將他們視為套裝商品;視覺大腦通常會蓋過試圖裝出理性的任何大腦區域,而以視覺吸引力來說,整個川普家族對上柯林頓家族,根本就是場大屠殺。

說真的,接下來八年,你是比較想看比爾和希拉蕊 ‧ 柯林頓在你眼前日漸衰老,還是比較想看蒂芬妮的實境節目《真.華府第一小孩》?別忘了,蒂芬妮在 Instagram 上已經是個名人了。以娛樂性來說,前者完全比不上後者,而在民眾心中,娛樂性通常會凌駕於政策之上。就算是在台灣,我們也能在晚餐後的政治談話節目裡,年復一年、日復一日地看到同一批人,卻一點也不厭倦。

我的思索

兩位候選人都是我孩提和成年時代的一部分。柯林頓夫婦一直都是政治人物,另一方面,川普則有如「寶可夢」(Pokemon)一般地三度進化──在我小時候,他是個不動產開發新星;我住在加拿大時,聽說他破產了。然而,我念大學之時,他有了自己的實境節目,依照「川普主義」在節目中訓練參賽者,要讓他們變得和自己一樣「成功」,成為「百萬富翁」和「億萬富翁」。我還記得,我和同學一起在宿舍裡看節目、想著他這週會開除誰的情景;我知道那只是個節目,但樂趣依舊。

等到 2009 年、我搬回台灣之時,他成了極右派運動人士與「出生派」(聲稱歐巴馬沒有美國出生證明,沒有資格成為美國總統)。他就像是寶可夢,從生意人進化成生意人+電視明星,再進化成生意人+電視明星+政治人物。

但最終,我們應該認清川普就是個不動產開發商。我們都知道,不動產開發商最擅長販賣願景和夢想,說得明白一些就是,他們販賣未完成的商品,讓買家在房屋還沒開始蓋之前就付錢。他們現在說了什麼,與成品完全沒有關係──我們也都知道,成品通常與我們在展示間裡看到的 3D 模型天差地遠。

再配上他在演藝圈的經驗,使得川普極度擅長銷售自己的品牌,也非常清楚顧客想要什麼。他知道,他得贏下俄亥俄、密西根、賓州等「銹帶」地區,才能在這場選舉中獲勝。他的"TA"(目標受眾)陷於貧窮,因為北美自由貿易協定等協議帶來的全球化,促使他們工作的工廠倒閉。因此,吸引這些選民是他的首要目標。除此之外,他只要在接下來幾個月裡,避免展現瘋狂種族歧視者的模樣即可。他最大的敵人並不是「不正派」的希拉蕊,而是他自己;如果他能控制住自己,繼續讓小孩擔任最佳代言人,我會說,川普總統不會只是個狂野無比的幻想。

【以下為作者侯智元撰寫之原文】

It is unlike me to write something that relies more on stream of consciousness rather than espousing a stern and boring viewpoints on Taiwanese economy. Seeing how my fellow writers garner more "reads" and likes from musing their travel experiences, I will do what Taiwanese do best, replicate at a slightly lower quality, by ranting about my thoughts on Trump and the GOP convention which took place during my business travels by talking about his speech and his kids.

Trump gave his nomination acceptance speech this week, it was the longest ever acceptance speech ever as he ranted for over an hour. As usual, its topics were eclectic without much of a focus, much of what he addressed lacked details and was based on emotion, channeling the fears and the anxiety of the electorates. As convention speeches go, it was solid, it wasn't a speech for the ages, but it was presidential enough. As I listened to the GOP convention while driving from Portland to Seattle (three hours drive), I listened intently to the convention in order to fend off jetlag during this long drive.

The Donald

While the speech was mostly rhetoric, all Trump needed to do is not act like a crazy racist for the next few months and he will have a chance at winning. This speech introduced no new outrages, and voters are starting to get used to the old ones. So on a strategic level, it was a strong performance. If Trump does more of this, and adds no new outrages, focus on being a politician instead of a celebrity and try to win a few swing states, he CAN win.

Persuasion-wise, Trump's family was the big story of the convention. People seem to compare them in the same way the public loved the Kennedys instead of to the Bushes or his current adversary, the Clintons. Donald Jr. and Eric Trump presented themselves as if they were Jack and Bobby Kennedy. Melania Trump, despite her speech writing malfunction, reminds you of Jackie Kennedy – quiet, smart, and classy. Of course, Ivanka Trump is already a celebrity herself so she is a major asset for her father. Our irrational brain looked past the lack of substances, and sees a new batch of Kennedys and wants to see more of them. That's powerful election magic for a nation that only pretends to care about policies.

From his acceptance rant, I do not remember any of the boring policy statement partly because there are scarce and no one cares about that when they watch Trump. As I have written earlier, lack of substances on his part is an old outrage, and old outrages grow stale after a while, but on the persuasion dimension, I recall the following impressions.

1. Trump made a credible case that he is the better protector of the LGBTQ community because he takes a harder line against Muslim immigration. This is something fact-checkers will ignore that claim because it's too true to check. And it makes whatever Clinton says about protecting LGBTQ citizens look disingenuous. It is also witty for him to combine anti-terrorism with LGBTQ rights. Anti-terrorism, or being the representative of "law and order" have become Trump's main focus. At the same time the Republican views on LGBTQ groups have been less tolerant, but as Trump spins it, are we less tolerant than radical Islamic groups?

2. Trump's best unscripted moment came when he humbly acknowledged that he probably didn't deserve the support of Evangelicals Christians. That was persuasion genius, nothing will make religious people love you harder than admitting you are not worthy of their affection. He was never a religious person himself, and for a person who's brand is build on pompousness and arrogance, his acknowledging gratitude will drive the good old God fearing Christians to tears.

3. Trump made multiple references to inclusiveness. Yet, the best, in terms of persuasion, was his twist on Clinton's "I'm with her" slogan. Trump says "I'm with you." That's good idea-judo. He acknowledges the truth of the other side's slogan then makes it look ridiculous.

4. Interesting moments of the convention were when a prominent Muslim leader Sajid Tarar, who appeared in suit and bowtie led a prayer session. He asked the assembled Republicans to pray to God, and for the intensely religious segment of Trump supporters, they were probably thinking if they would be praying to the same God in this situation. Then we saw venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who is a member of the LGBTQ community himself, spoke about how the key issues of the election is the economy prowess of the US, not racial or his own LGBTQ rights. These are interesting points as they create visual and logical conflicts to viewers of the event; a Muslim leader in a largely Christian audience, and a Silicon Valley (overwhelmingly democrat) star who is gay telling audience that is mostly likely intolerant, that LGBTQ rights should take a back seat to the economy, that is very very weird for a convention. 

The Kids

It is interesting to note how the sons serve as a foil to their father. Donald Trump Jr. Clinton even labeled Clinton as the "risky" candidate. That's good persuasion coming from the son of a candidate whom his rival has said cannot be trusted with the codes to the nuclear bomb. For the voters, no one wants risk in their lives, and you can make a good case that Clinton brings some as she has been criticized as someone "displaying poor judgments" over her email controversy . One son's speech directly counters the impression that Trump is the dangerous choice.

There is a general consensus that Trump's kids are improving what people think of the father, which is not too good. People are making the semi-rational assumption that anyone who can raise such good kids must be very different in private than he is on the campaign trail, myself included, but that is of course not the complete truth, yet I did entertained that thought. That’s what some pundits have suggested as a "fake because.". People see anything that follows the word "because" as a logical justification for the first part of the sentence even if the second part is nonsense. In other words, we rationalize amongst ourselves and we see our own rationalizations as reasons even if none exist.

For Trump a large number of voters want to support Trump but find it impossible because of the way he has presented himself over the years was too toxic. So people try hard and wait for a "fake because" so they can throw their support to him. The Trump kids are the "fake because" that people needed. Evidently, after the speech, we hear words like:

"The way the Trump kids turned out speaks volumes for the father."
This can be translated as "I wanted to vote for Trump but it was impossible until he appears to be a good dad because the kids seem great.".

If not for the Trump Children, we have been comparing visually appalling Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, until Trump started selling us the "total package" of the Trump family, with recent addition of his younger, recent college graduate Tiffany Trump and his 10 year old son. Once we got a look at the entire Trump family acting as a group, our visual brains started seeing them as a package deal. The visual "brain" generally wins against whatever part of the brain is pretending to be logical that day. And when you compare the entire Trump family's visual appeal to the entire Clinton family’s visual imagery it’s a massacre.

Seriosly, would you prefer seeing Bill and Hillary Clinton decompose in front of your eyes for eight years, or maybe have a reality TV show for Tiffany called "Real First Kids of DC", remember, she is a star on instagram already? Entertainment-wise, that’s no contest and people usually vote for entertainment over policy, even in Taiwan we have political talk show with the same people, everyday after dinner for years and years and years, and we never get tired of it.

My musing

Both candidates have been part of my childhood and adulthood, Clintons have always been politicians, but Trump on the other hand have transformed three times like a Pokemon. When I was a child, he was a rising star real estate developer, then while I was growing up in Canada, I heard he went bankrupt. Yet, when I got to college, he was now doing a reality TV show, training contestants, in his own Trump-ism, to be as "successful" as he is, to become "millionaires" and "billionaires". I remember watching it with my peers in my dorm room, wondering who he will fire this week, knowing very well that it was a mere show but fun regardless.

When I moved back to Taiwan in 2009, he has transformed into a far right activist and a birther (a movement that claims Obama does not have a US birth certificate, thus disqualifying him from serving as the President). So like a Pokemon, he transformed, from a businessman, to businessman + tv star , to the two plus being a politician.

Ultimately, we ought to realize that Trump is a real estate developer. We all know that what they are best at doing is selling a vision, a dream, or to put it plainly, unfinished products and have buyers pay before it is even built. What they say now is by no means a guarantee of any close semblance to the finished product, as we all know, the end product is usually a far cry from the 3D renders we see in show rooms.

Combining that with his experience in show business, he is extremely adept at selling his own brand and at knowing what his customers want. Much like a building project, he knows that in order for him to win, he needs to win the rust belt states such as Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. He knows that he is speaking to an audience that have been impoverished as the factories they have worked in have been closed due to globalization in treaties such as NAFTA. Therefore, appealing to these voters is a top priority for him, beyond that, he simply has to not do crazy-racist-sounding things for a few months. His biggest enemy is not "crooked" Hillary, but himself, so if he can control himself, and have his kids keep being his best surrogates, I would say this saying President Trump next will not be a wild imagination.

《關聯閱讀》
全球政局越來越極端:你發現了嗎?川普是結果、不是原因
「不美國的美國」──川普、貧窮線、三K黨

《作品推薦》
夕陽產業的悲哀:真的不是我們要當壞人──來自「萬惡」水泥業第四代的真心話
【雙語】我們究竟活在什麼樣的現實之中?──《全面啟動》的美國大選,台灣啟示

 

執行編輯:郭姿辰
核稿編輯:張翔一

Photo Credit:flickr@Disney | ABC Television Group CC BY 2.0

畢業就出國