Playing Donald’s Advocate

Following on from Monday’s revelations about Trump…

… and a debating performance I’m surprised people were surprised by (haven’t you been watching the last four years??)…

… it’s time to play a game of Donald’s Advocate.

I want to try and fight the incredibly powerful psychological bias known as the halo effect, which makes us judge words not actions.

In politics, we ought to do the opposite, but rarely do.

I don’t write about American politics very often, and I have little to add on the cacophony of media outrage at every breath and step Donald Trump takes.

I leave that to Will Dahl, who is far better versed in all that I am, who you can read here.

For what it’s worth, I agree with Will that Biden will win this November, based purely on the laziest of analysis available – that Trump only won because people thought he wouldn’t. That won’t happen again. Looking deeper at how narrow Trump’s victory was at the state level also contributes to that belief. Also, Trump now has a noisy following, which makes us think it’s bigger than it is. Silent majority for Biden is my guess.

But a number of things bother me.

Firstly, that Biden is vaguely uninspiring (making it 2/2 for the Dems).

Trump is very rude about him, and the Democrats, as he was about Hillary Clinton.

I find Biden so uninspiring and that’s such a shame.

Trump came in promising to drain the swamp, because Americans were so sick of the same old story with politicians. Promises unfulfilled, corruption, scandal, all words and no action.

I sympathise (see: UK resident).

Biden looks to me like just another “empty vase”.

I don’t feel any vision, and profound morality or leadership.

I found Barack Obama so amazing because he offered all those things.

However, those aren’t the only important things.

In fact, behavioural economists have shown that we humans place far too much emphasis on how our politicians look and sound (the “halo effect”), and not nearly enough on what they do, who they really are, and what they might achieve.

So while Obama, like Justin Trudeau in Canada, had the halo effect in full, there are rightfully people who point out the things that weren’t so perfect and inspiring.

A friend of mine coined the term “too good to be Trudeau”, which I love.

Trump has the opposite effect. He is repulsive, vile, deceitful, dishonest, misogynistic. He is everything that we ought to hate, and be repulsed by. He’s a crony capitalist, seeking only personal enrichment for himself, his family and friends.

And yet…

Turning the halo effect on its head, I’ve started to notice that he keeps getting this right, early. And being massively hounded for saying or doing things which later people start to agree with.

In the last few weeks, I’ve read two long and brilliant bits of investment research by highly respected figures, one of which talks about a company working very hard to harness the incredible potential of UV light in combatting coronavirus. The other looks into the hydroxychloroquine debate and finds the media has wildly overreacted in its rejection of it, and that studies are showing it has great promise.

Trump was ridiculed as a dangerous madman for alerting the world to these possibilities.

Trump was also very early on the China issue. While his motivations are unclear, when he started the trade war everyone was aghast, shocked, and baffled. And now consensus is moving firmly into the anti-China camp, not least because of the human rights atrocities in Xinjiang.

Not only that, but on Iran, it does seem that the US was being taken for a ride, and on North Korea and Israel too, it seems that moves initially seen as reckless have turned out to be… okay.

This is clearly not a detailed analysis on the merits or details of his foreign policies, words or actions there.

What it does do is recognise that the halo effect makes us less able to look for positives, achievements and good results in Trump’s presidency. Or to overreact to his moves, which later have turned out to be not nearly as bad as we first thought.

Biden reeks of more of what came before to be honest. He seems like another Hillary Clinton, and I can see why people were so uninspired by her.

While I do not wish Trump to get a second term, I wonder, timidly, whether it might be necessary.

Necessary to inspire true change in American politics.

America voted for Trump for various reasons, but I feel that one of them must surely have been an exasperation with the existing roster of inept, average, preening politicians. Different is not always better, but at least he was different.

Perhaps in order to convince the democrats that they actually have to offer something good, something better, something compelling, they need to lose a second time.

They have never accepted the first one, and so they have refused to change, and are once more offering the same uninspiring leadership as before. Which is a shame.

Anyway, those are my ill-informed and incoherent thoughts, and my attempt to play Donald’s Advocate.

Best wishes,

Kit Winder
Editor, UK Uncensored

PS I’d like to mention once again that we are streaming an explanation of a new risk management tool.

It’s the kind of tech you’d usually see in software programs at big trading and investment firms, but offered directly to retail investors.

It helps understand certain risk metrics in your portfolio, and helps you to balance your portfolio.

Essentially, it can improve your returns with lower risk.

1 Comment
  1. Jonathan Paul Gunson 1 year ago

    Good article. I think the main issues with a second Trump term lie in authoritarianism and cronyism entrenched for more than a generation thanks to judicial appointments. Where he has succeeded has been due to some luck as much as judgement, going on his past.
    The Democrats definitely need to rethink their game and affiliations. They are uninspiring and cowardly in their bland choices for President. They had chances for inspiring new leadership who might run the risk of actually changing things, but went with a person whose main value seem to be calmness, the prospect of little change. I wish I shared your confidence about Trump losing, but we will all know in just over a month…thanks for the writing.

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