Stolen Play: Trump and Temperament

August 11, 2016

Damn that Donald Trump. Not only has he hijacked the Republican party, he’s hijacked The Standard Table of Influence, or at least one of its elements.

Sys 2.0 Playmaker Table

There, in the lavender column of the 24 influence plays, is the stratagem that in 2013 was dubbed Trump — named originally for the game of bridge where a named card is used by the holder to reverse a game’s direction and that player’s advantage. But now, in 2016, we have a presidential candidate who not only runs the play with guiltless abandon but whose name is the same.

Take, for example, The Donald’s recent claim that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, lacks the temperament to be president. Even casual followers of the 2016 race know that this is precisely what Clinton has repeatedly said of Mr. Trump — that he’s not suited for the Oval Office, generally unhinged, and far too temperamental to be president. Still, without blinking, Trump is stealing the line and applying it to his rival (whose original play is a label, if you’re keeping score).Slide1

The Trump (the play, not The Donald) comes with a host of pros and cons and the GOP candidate seems oblivious to the latter. Taken from the standard guidance resource of this preemptive stratagem, here are a few to note:

  • Promotes competitive lockup (i.e., pissing contests, one-upmanship, etc.).
  • Can condition the trumper to outrun, rather than outperform, the competition.
  • Can force mistakes by the playmaker in its haste to Trump an opponent.
  • Can force a player to make a move before it’s ready.

Dipping into the same resource, here are some of the counterplays available to Hillary as she contemplates her opponent’s theft of her label:

  • Run a Call Out. Tell the marketplace, “He stole my idea!”
  • Bait the trumper.  Ask him publicly, “Where’d you get that idea?”
  • Run a Recast.  Reorganize the facts and tell the marketplace a different story.
  • Run a Pass.  Abandon the contested space.  Give the trumper a meaningless win. There will be no fight if only one party shows up.
  • Label the trumper a thief, plagiarist, etc.

For now, Hillary has run the pass (as suggested in the fourth bullet immediately above), figuring perhaps that The Donald’s attempt at co-opting her point is all too obvious. As judged by her refusals to hold press conferences and comment on such things as emails, foundations and embassies, the pass is her signature strategy after all.

Maybe, then, there’s room for a play called The Clinton, hmm.


Post by  Alan Kelly

Graphics courtesy of Playmaker Systems, LLC