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Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Over the past two years, Trump’s Twitter habits have been honed and polished into an art form. And really, he is a master at it. Maybe after Mueller takes him down, he can write “The Art of the Tweet.” Until then, Americans will continue to reel from unfiltered posts like his most recent threats to North Korea and play the absurd game of trying to tell if our lives are immediately under threat or not.

But one scholar of linguistics and philosophy has masterfully deciphered the strategy behind Trump’s tweets, and it’s just the tool we need going into 2018.

Berkeley professor George Lakoff posted a master key to classifying Trump’s tweeting method this week, and it’s blown up on Twitter.

 

Looking back on Trump’s most outrageous tweets, they can almost all be classified into one of four buckets. Lakoff explains the taxonomy in fuller detail in a comment thread.

“The tweets either get his framing established first, knowing that whoever frames first tends to win,” he wrote. “Or when things look bad for him, he diverts attention or attacks the messenger. And when he wants to test public opinion, he puts out an outrageous trial balloon.”

No matter what he tweets, Trump’s unfounded and dangerous statements work to his advantage by painting him as a maverick alt-truthsayer. “The constant attacks and outrage increase his credibility with his base. He can portray himself as a victim of the ‘establishment’—under constant attacks (which he provokes with tweets). He acts, his opponents only react. He is in heroic control.”

Lakoff has a warning for journalists who are quick to take Trump’s tweets seriously.

“Each tweet gets his message retweeted so he dominates social media. Reporters, social media influencers, and many others fall for it hook, line and sinker. Every time. They retweet, share and repeat his messages ad infinitum. This helps Trump tremendously. They may think they’re negating or undermining him, but that’s not how human brains work. As a cognitive scientist, I can tell you: repeating his messages only helps him.”

Our outrage at the president’s behavior is understandable, Lakoff says. But it’s unproductive to delve into an endless spiral of “can you believe he just said that?”

“Do you deal with a child or a deranged person by sinking to their level?” Lakoff asks. “Do you mock and scorn them, or trumpet their ridiculousness on the front page? No.”

Lakoff has taken it upon himself to translate the muddled language of Trumpism over the past two years. The 2016 essay he wrote on “Understanding Trump” still holds today; it’s an analysis of the driving forces that made Trump the perfect Republican candidate for 2016.

There is a solution to escaping from Trump’s tweeting clutches, according to Lakoff. Talk about the truth, track his attempts to divert and remain steadfast in sticking to the real issues at hand.

Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on Forbes.com, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @elizpos.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

Screenshot from Aug. 25, 2020 edition of Daily Kos / Youtube

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

A federal district judge in New York ruled Monday that the U.S. Postal Service has to treat election mail as a priority, another loss for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in the courts. The judge, Victor Marrero, also ordered that overtime and extra deliveries had to be permitted by the USPS as election mail demands. This came in a suit brought by several candidates for office and New York voters against Donald Trump and DeJoy.

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