Donald Trump is Genius at Manipulating System 1

I saw this post by Lawrence Lessig titled Is Trump a genius?. My conclusion is that the answer is clearly yes. But the question is what is he a genius at? After seeing this article related to the building of “The Wall”. It was clear to me he was using cognitive dissonance to keep his core supporters happy, while at the same time fundamentally reneging on the promise.

Everyone who is perplexed by Trump’s success should not be buying Orwell’s 1984 but the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Trump understands how to manipulate System 1 thinking, better than any recent politician in a while. He won the election because of it, and most “sane people” are perplexed because they are trying to apply System 2 thinking against System 1.

I suspect there could be an interesting drinking game built around how often Trump exploits Heuristics and Biases to further his goals. The open question is the best counter to Trump trying to encourage the country to engage in more System 2 thinking, or to fight back with similar System 1 techniques.

The long term approach is to encourage more System 2 thinking, but I suspect the short term approach is to counter System 1 approaches of Trump with more System 1 approaches against his agenda and not feel ashamed.

What is not acceptable is to repeat the mistake of dismissing Trump, because we evaluate him with our System 2 approaches. We must use System 2 to understand how Trump is leveraging System 1 and counter.

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