“Being understood by others is the greatest need of all.” —Dr. Stephen R. Covey
Trump Understands People
So, here, in a nutshell, is the reason that Donald J. Trump is winning over the hearts and minds of so many: Trump has been listening to the American people.
DC Has Forgotten How to Listen
For a long time now, Washington, DC, has not listened to the people. And perhaps the last straw was when, President Obama ultimately wrote new law by executive fiat, bypassing the people and thereby acting more like a king than a president; with the stroke of a pen, Obama legitimized people in the country illegally at the same time he was maintaining an open border for the benefit of violent criminals, human traffickers, drug cartels, and Muslim jihadists.
The Republican Congress complained about President Obama’s executive overreach, but they perfidiously funded the illegal policies anyway. The American people were incredibly put off by the corruption. In a day when America has ended up with a statist president and a feckless Democrat Party that no longer prizes or protects individual liberty, a corrupt Republican leadership has refused to do the job they were elected to do—stop the power-abusing Obama juggernaut!
Although the Republican Party establishment did not hear—or did not want to hear—the American people, Donald Trump did hear them. Trump heard the people, loud and clear. And Trump not only heard the people, but he understood what they were angry about, what their fears were, and what they needed to hear from a leader. Trump saw his opening and took it.
Covey Says, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood”
Dr. Stephen R. Covey has said that, in order to be effective in communicating with others, we must first seek first to understand before seeking to be understood. This is something that many candidates are trying to do. But, while many a politician is busy making a case why he or she would be a good president, only Trump is doing what Covey says is essential in making other people feel understood: Trump is reflecting back to the people what they are feeling. While many politicians are, no doubt, addressing the problems Americans are facing, they are, for the most part, not reflecting back to the people what their feelings are. This failure to validate people’s feelings lies at the root of their communication problem this primary season.
Let us say that your spouse has had a rough day and has expressed to you how the car would not start, so the Auto Club had to be called; then there was a tardiness issue created at work, so, to make up for it, lunch was skipped, and so on. Repeating the information back to your spouse might prove that you were listening, but it does not indicate an understanding of your spouse’s feelings. The most effective response would be to say something like this: “It sounds like you have had a very challenging day; you must have felt, at times, quite helpless and upset. How frustrating!” Validating the feelings of your spouse provides what Covey refers to as “psychological air.” And this is what Trump is giving so many Americans. Trump validates the feelings of anger and frustration that so many Americans are experiencing, giving those feelings expression, even as he states his solutions to our problems.
Making Deposits to the Emotional Bank Account
By channeling the feelings of Americans, Trump makes huge deposits to what Covey would call their “emotional bank accounts.” And it has been so long since many of our elected leaders have truly listened to us, and reflected back any true understanding, that Trump’s deposits are being regarded as much bigger than they might have been, had Washington politicians been doing their jobs correctly. And it is because Trump’s deposits to Americans’ emotional bank accounts are, indeed, perceived to be so large that he is easily forgiven for gaffes and errors, which are then regarded as only minor withdrawals.
This Election Cycle Is About Being a Mirror
This election cycle is all about active listening, and reflecting back the feelings people are having to demonstrate understanding, before seeking to be understood. This has allowed Trump to be effective with voters in a way that nobody else is. In the end, it is not about taking the high road this election season; it is about being a mirror. And the reason attacks on Trump backfire is because the attacks against Trump are regarded as attacks against the feelings of the American people that Trump has taken upon himself to validate by wearing them on his shirtsleeve, so to speak.
Attacking Trump by Proper Means
The only way to attack Trump successfully is by first seeking to understand the people, reflecting the people’s feelings back to them about any issue being addressed, and by proposing that there is a better way of addressing the problem that would make Americans feel safer, freer, or, in some other way, less threatened. In other words, you can only win against Trump by making an even larger deposit to the emotional bank accounts of the American people than Trump has made, by proposing solutions that address hearts and minds alike.
As things stand, it would appear that no one has caught on to the proper means of attacking the Donald—at least, not yet. The one who has come perhaps the closest is Ted Cruz . But Trump is a master dealmaker who really understands people. And, in this year of ever-increasing alienation between political elites in Washington and average Americans on Main Street, it would seem that understanding the people trumps knowing the Constitution. And the Donald is apparently doing the best job of accomplishing this mission.
Stay tuned. . . .
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com