One of the odder things in the very odd 2016 election cycle was the emergence of a comic strip writer as America’s most accurate election pundit. Dilbert creator Scott Adams was not only very early to predict Trump’s victory, unlike many others he broke down point by point why he felt that way.
Adams has summarized his thinking in his new book Win Bigly, which uses the election as a lens through which to explore the topic of persuasion. Whether or not you like Trump or Adams, it’s very much worth an investigation as to how they did what they did.
In that light, I recently reviewed Adams’ book for City Journal:
In 2015, early in the Republican primary season, National Review branded Donald Trump the “clown candidate.” Salon labeled him the “clown in charge.” The Federalist issued a “friendly reminder” that “Donald Trump is a clown.” Pundit Charles Krauthammer labeled him a “rodeo clown.”
But on August 13, 2015 (note: 2015, not 2016), Scott Adams, the cartoonist famous for his Dilbert comic strip, called Trump a “clown genius” for his effective use of sophisticated persuasion techniques. “I’m going to predict he will be our next president,” Adams wrote. “I think he will move to the center on social issues (already happening) and win against Clinton in a tight election.” Later that month, pointing to a projection by Nate Silver that Trump had only a 2 percent chance of winning the election, Adams doubled down, saying, “If I had to put a number on my prediction, I would say a 98 percent chance of Trump winning the whole thing. That is the direct opposite of Silver’s prediction.”
Adams continued to issue bold predictions throughout the election cycle, a spooky number of which actually came true, including the most important one: Trump’s victory.
Click through to read the whole thing.