Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is now the President of the United States, and the simple way he talked to Americans played an intricate role in his election. He KISSed his way to victory, and don’t worry protestors, KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid.
When Donald Trump first entered the campaign scene, no one took him seriously. His one-liners and winks at the camera not only drew laughs, but were a welcome addition to the predictable and sometimes boring presidential debates.
What people didn’t expect was for his simple, often blunt remarks to start resonating with people — not only resonate, but to start changing hearts and minds.
Americans were sick of the over-used talking points and political correctness that comes out of Washington. But, it was more than just being tired of the PC culture. Americans were sick of the political jargon many politicians can not seem to separate themselves from.
They were ready for a new narrative. While candidates from both sides of the aisle tightly grasped their talking points, Trump – “boy talk” aside – told Americans plainly and clearly what he wanted to do: Build a wall. Use our own oil. Fight ISIS. Bring jobs back to America. Protect life. Win. And yes, Make America Great Again.
Apart from the debates, his use of Twitter also resonated with people, particularly millennials. He misspelled words and frequently tagged the wrong people in his tweets — but they were authentic because of those mistakes. And authenticity is becoming increasingly important.
What’s often not authentic is when members of Congress or Presidential candidates use Twitter. We read these snarky comebacks, but know that somewhere there is a millennial sitting at a cubicle crafting them while the person whose name is on the account may not even know what Twitter even is.
So, when a person who doesn’t seem like they should use Twitter but does– it stands out. Former Congressman John Dingell does this really well. And so did Donald Trump.
Once Trump became the Republican nominee, his strategy didn’t change, especially because he wanted to highlight that Hillary Clinton was part of the establishment.
While she continued with the same rhetoric Barack Obama started, Trump connected with the people Clinton ignored: the hardworking Americans just trying to get by and live life.
He was embraced by the middle class and even poor uneducated Americans, because while they know he lives in mansions and flies around in a private jet, they believed that he understood them.
This is quite interesting when you think back to 2012 when many lower income Americans disliked Mitt Romney because they thought he was too rich and “too out of touch” to understand their problems. The irony here, of course, is that Mitt Romney’s wealth pales in comparison to Donald Trump’s billions.
Part of the reason Americans believed him was the way he was so easily understood. According to several articles, Trump’s speech and grammar read just below a 6th grade level. He used fewer syllables and shorter sentences than any other candidate.
But he wasn’t dumbing things down so “deplorables” could understand him. He was speaking in a way that reached a much larger audience: the uneducated, the very busy, and even children.
A 9-year-old boy who was banned from wearing his Make America Great Again hat in school may have put it best when he said about Trump, “He doesn’t speak like a politician. He speaks like a normal person. He knows what this country needs.”
But Trump isn’t the first President to win over a nation with a simpler and “normal” way of talking.
Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is one of the most well-known speeches in American history. At just over 270 words it’s also one of the shortest. What you may not know is that initially Lincoln was criticized for his speech being too short and lacking substance. But today it has gone down as one of the greatest speeches in history because quite frankly, he said what he needed to say and sat down.
At just 17 minutes, Donald Trump’s inauguration speech is among the shortest in inauguration history, and yet he stayed true to the simple, easy-to-understand speech he held onto during the campaign. The following are some great lines from his address:
Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.
America will start winning again. Winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And, yes, together, we will make America great again.
President Trump might continue to talk at a middle-school level and misspell tweets, but he knows how to reach people by keeping it simple. And during this election that wasn’t stupid at all; rather, very smart.