#PaulManafort : Why Apologize When You Can Minimize, Deflect, Re-Direct, and Attack? Inside the Playbook and Politics of Psychological Warfare
This morning, July 19th, 2016, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort completed a political jiu-jitsu move in “reframing” the overnight attacks on Melania Trump’s alleged plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech to make this about Hillary Clinton being threatened by a strong woman. In the event you might be dumbfounded, let us look at how this incident provides us with a fresh example as to how this slight-of-hand works and diagram the tactics of psychological warfare in the political playbooks. The unspoken rule, of course, is never to apologize. Apologies are for sissies, the weak, and for fools. Instead, you must follow the formula and template in these four predictable steps:
1) MINIMIZE: The first step is to minimize the criticism. These are catch phrases anyone could use in a speech. There were 37 million people watching. “To think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd."
2) DEFLECT: Melania isn’t running for office. She did a wonderful job, she was very thoughtful, and came across as authentic
3) REDIRECT: There are people who are inside the Clinton camp who are deliberately trying to undermine our work at the RNC and are looking for anything to blow up out of proportion
4) ATTACK: What this is really about is Hillary Clinton being threatened by a strong woman
This approach is not mutually exclusive for either Republicans or Democrats. This is the issue today that grabs the headlines. Tomorrow will bring new issues subject to the same process. Although the issue will be different tomorrow, the consistent key is the repetition of the formula: minimize, deflect, re-direct, and attack. The directions are the same as the directions on your shampoo bottle. Rinse, Lather, Repeat . . .