Quora Question: Has Trump Lost the Ability to Capitalize on Outrage?

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in West Bend, Wisconsin August 16. Eric Thayer/File Photo/Reuters

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Answer from Kody C. Kendall:

In the primaries, the genius of Trump was his ability to capitalize on the outrageous in order to become the center of attention. In the general election, however, the two major candidates get all the attention they could dream of, so this strategy has begun to hurt his campaign. There's really no need for the negative attention this late in the game that he keeps bringing himself—but it's simply who he is.

Trump is using the same media technique that he outlined in his book The Art of the Deal: court attention at all costs. His media strategy has always been to attract as much attention as possible, and while good attention is preferred, bad attention is better than no attention.

This worked great in the primaries when he had 16 other candidates to compete against for attention—but now, all this negative attention is weighing heavily in the polls. Yes, he has lost his ability to capitalize on media outrage. While he still dominates media coverage, this negative attention is hurting him very badly.

In Robert Greene's book 48 Rules of Power, Law 6 is "Court Attention At All Cost."

"Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses."

This is exactly what Trump has been doing throughout the primaries and now into the general election. It's great for getting the spotlight and getting that initial surge — which Trump did. However, people want to elect somebody they can trust. This negative attention and his unpredictability are starting to scare people, and that's why we're seeing a dip in his polls.

"Draw attention to yourself by creating an unforgettable, even controversial image. Court scandal. Do anything to make yourself seem larger than life and shine more brightly than those around you. Make no distinction between kinds of attention — notoriety of any sort will bring you power. Better to be slandered and attacked than ignored."

Donald definitely lives by Greene's sixth rule: court attention at all cost.

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