The Art of the Con: It’s OK to “Blur” Reality | Trump advocates lying, cheating and stealing to win

Donald Trump operates by a different playbook than people with fundamental American values and principles do.  Whether you are Christian, Moslem, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, or a believer (or non-believer) of virtually any mainstream religion, there are certain basic principles (rules) we all live by.  These include:

  • Do not lie;
  • Do not cheat;
  • Do not steal; and
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Donald Trump practices none of these values.  In fact, he disdains them.  In his book, The Art of the Deal, he advocates lying and using hyperbole to get results:

“I play to people’s fantasies,” he writes. “People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.”

The “fantasies” he refers to are lies that he, himself, has promoted.  Trump says he’s not afraid to “blur” reality to get people to believe what they want to believe:

“When the board of Holiday Inn was considering whether to enter into a partnership with me in Atlantic City, they were attracted to my site because they believed my construction was farther along than that of any other potential partner.  In reality, I wasn’t that far along, but I did everything I could, short of going to work at the site myself, to assure them that my casino was practically finished. My leverage came from confirming an impression they were already predisposed to believe.”

This has been his key campaign tactic in his bid for the White House– “blurring” reality.  In other words, lying to people in order to gain their trust.  This technique is the centerpiece of all “confidence” schemes (cons).  In The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It…Every Time by Maria Konnikova, she observes:

“The confidence game starts with basic human psychology. From the artist’s perspective, it’s a question of identifying the victim (the put-up): who is he, what does he want, and how can I play on that desire to achieve what I want? It requires the creation of empathy and rapport (the play): an emotional foundation must be laid before any scheme is proposed, any game set in motion. Only then does it move to logic and persuasion (the rope): the scheme (the tale), the evidence and the way it will work to your benefit (the convincer)….  And like a fly caught in a spider’s web, the more we struggle, the less able to extricate ourselves we become (the breakdown). By the time things begin to look dicey, we tend to be so invested, emotionally and often physically, that we do most of the persuasion ourselves.”

The technique that Trump espouses in the Art of the Deal is the functional equivalent of the confidence game described by Konnikova.  And no doubt, Trump is a master of the game.  But that in no way qualifies him to be President.  In fact, his disdain for the American public and willingness to “play” them as marks disqualifies him as a viable candidate.

Using lies to achieve one’s goals at others’ expense is cheating because the goal is only achieved through deceit, not by merit.  Moreover, lying and cheating to get something you want from others is a form of theft (in legal parlance, theft by false pretense).

So Trump openly espouses lying, cheating and stealing as acceptable ways to get what he wants.  In doing so, he certainly isn’t treating others as he would have them treat him.  To wit: he has accused Clinton of virtually every bad act he has, himself, committed against her.  “Lying Hillary” has been Trump’s battle cry.  He has misled his minions into believing that she is a liar and misdirected them from seeing the constant barrage of lies and hatred that spew forth from him.

It’s time to put an end to the liar, cheater and thief’s bid for power.  HOLD TRUMP ACCOUNTABLE.

How can you make sure you’re not the victim of this first class con-man?  The following checklist will help:

  1. Don’t accept anything that comes from the Trump campaign without fact checking it yourself.
  2. When evaluating any policy position or promise, ask yourself if he’s simply telling you what you want to hear, or whether there is actually some factual substance behind it.
  3. Take a detached and objective look at Hillary Clinton’s supposed misdeeds.  Do they really amount to high crimes or have they been seriously blown out of proportion?
  4. Look at the lies that Trump has told and hold him accountable.  Make him either retract and apologize or provide facts.
  5. Disregard all Trump’s hyperbole.  He’s told you himself he uses that to “blur” reality.
  6. Ask yourself which candidate has the necessary temperament to withstand provocation without getting angry and acting out.  Remember that POTUS can order a nuclear launch on his/her own authority.
  7. Look at Hillary Clinton’s record of achievements.  Look at Trump’s.  Ask yourself whether Trump has ever done anything that wasn’t for the benefit of Donald Trump.
  8. DEMAND that Trump produce his income tax returns.  His refusal to do that, alone, should raise serious concerns.

The stakes in this election are tremendous.  This country is either going to elect a seasoned politician who has the savvy to do the job or a businessman/conman with a thin skin who has no experience in government.  That person will serve in the most powerful job on the planet.  That person will have their finger on the nuclear button and will be making Supreme Court nominations that will affect the direction of American law for an entire generation or longer.  That person must not be Donald Trump.

Trump, in his book, says it all:

“You can’t con people, at least not for long,” Trump writes. “You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you can’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

Trump can’t deliver the goods.  Hopefully, you will catch on before casting your vote on November 8.

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