With a margin of 77,000 votes in three states – Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – and with almost 3 million fewer votes than his opponent, a man, who many think is congenitally and experientially unsuited to become the leader of the free world, was elected president of the United States. Bless those whose conscience caused them to vote “independent” in those three states thereby giving us all the opportunity to learn trial practice lessons from a master illusionist.
As a trial lawyer, there are lessons to be learned from observing how Trump manipulated the media and his opponents and how he managed to persuade enough voters to vote for the illusion that he was competent and capable of leading the United States. Trump’s use of themes, messaging and language – both verbal and body – resonated with enough people in this country to get him elected president. Translating that into practice let’s call them, “The Trump Trial Tactics.”
Trump Trial Tactic Number One: Keep Your Presentation Brief
The first Trump trial tactic is to have an understanding of how jurors receive and process information. If you don’t have an appreciation as to how people receive information then you will be unable to create a theme that resonates with the jury. Trump understood better than his opponents how modern day Americans receive and process information. The old days of reading newspapers and gathering information from knowledgeable sources has passed. An electorate, and by extension, a jury pool, that garners news through 140 character tweets or questionably accurate Facebook postings is today’s norm. Trump understood that information is disseminated in short bursts without any meaningful explanation or depth. As a trial lawyer, you need to understand that people are accustomed to receiving information in that fashion. If you keep your presentation brief, it will be effective and appreciated by the jury and, I might add, by the judge.
Trump Trial Tactic Number 2: Appealing Themes & Sufficient Entertainment
The second Trump trial tactic is to have an appreciation for not only how information is disseminated, but how it is processed by the masses. Perhaps the most effective person in motivating a massive amount of people to act in an extreme fashion was the author of this quote:
The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.