How Trump Won The Election

The polls gave the election to Hillary, and the pundits declared a little over two weeks ago that it was all over for Trump. However, what the nation witnessed on Election Night seemed to be quite a turn of events. Instead of the pundits, polls, and news outlets being correct, the American people decided to elect a businessman to the White House, to the shock of many skeptical analysts. 

So, what happened? How did the man who was repeatedly losing in the polls, with the media working to his detriment and many elites in his own party pushing for a movement to vote anyone but him manage to win the election? Looking back, it seems like a miracle that Trump even retained the south.

Public Relations At Its Core

Or was it? I think one thing that was integral to Trump winning the nomination was that he became who his attackers were. It is no secret that the mainstream media calls the shots and makes the nicknames. Words like "microaggression" and "bigot" have been making the rounds lately, as the media decides who is, and is not, a bigot or guilty of microaggressions over "bigoted" policies. 

In my following of the 2016 election, I noticed that Donald Trump did not play the political game that his fellow republicans played. Instead, if someone attacked Trump, he attacked back, and attacked harder than his attacker. As a Public Relations Practitioner (no, not all of us prefer this title, but I happily don it), I know that, in order to dominate the public opinion in a positive way, a camapign must drive the narrative. I think that Trump's aggressiveness toward making certain that nobody defines him without his approval helped to give him a more balanced public opinion.

In addition, as the Wall Street Journal reported months ago, Trump did what most refuse to do when rolling out a new Public Relations campaign. He made sure he did his research. Before running for election, Trump sat down with Newt Gingrich and questioned him for hours on what it would be like to run for the presidency. Trump endeavored to know precisely what he was getting into before he ran, which is commendable considering most people who hire a PR firm have no desire to know what is happening and only care about results. 

Another important factor of Trump's campaign was that he knew the demographics. Even though Trump vehemently desired to fix the country, he knew that there would be no way he would win the election without a popular vote. Therefore, instead of acting like the republicans on the stage with him who had been campaigning the same way for years, Trump decided he would actually listen to the American people and be the candidate that America had hoped for. One of the biggest gripes about politics from the general public was that politicians acted like politicians. They seemed unoriginal, insincere, and scripted. They also had a knack for dodging questions with pre-approved one-liners to get the same points across. The people were tired of this. They wanted someone real, and Trump certainly acted real.

Trump did not stick to a script and he actually answered questions. He was not bound to donors (which is another gripe people have about politicians) so he could, and did, say what was on his mind. This stark and refreshing honesty won him a massive fanbase in the primaries which continued to rise through the presidential election. 

In addition to this, Trump spoke like a charismatic leader who promised a future. Charisma is very important in political elections: it was the reason for Adolf Hitler's rise in Germany and Che Gueverra's rise in Cuba. Charisma was also attributed to Obama's election as president in 2008. Donald Trump is naturally a charismatic person, which makes him historcally an excellent candidate for a political office.

Finally, Trump focused on popular opinion. This is where Trump really shined this election. Cracking the mind of the public is akin to predicting the stock market. It's strenuous and open to much interpretation. However, somehow Trump managed to voice what the people were thinking and his support only rose amid the defamations of his character and the bombshells that would have been the ruin of almost any other candidate. This ability is coveted by anyone who works in Public Relations. I am not entirely sure (I can only conjecture that his campaign took painstakingly meticulous public opinion polls and ran his general points past thousands of voters on a regular basis to see which ones were working and which ones needed to be fixed) how Trump knew precisely what the people were thinking and what phrasing get them to agree with his campaign, but somehow he and his stellar campaign team was able to pull it off.

Even though Trump was faced with unnaturally high opposition, perhaps a level of opposition that rarely affords a candidate, Trump used basic principles of Public Relations to run a killer campaign that convinced the American people that conservative policis are best for a nation in tumult.

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