Gary Littman


Garry Littman is the owner and director of The Language House in Geneva which organises English language training for professional people, companies and students. He was a radio and newspaper journalist in his native Australia and ran a restaurant in Kathmandu in his younger days. He is an English language trainer and an aficionado of pétanque.

Trumpspeak: How to win votes and influence people

There is a growing perception that Donald Trump might well be the Republican candidate for President of the United States of America.

This big-mouthed, super-salesman has not, as many expected, self-immolated or drowned in his sometimes deranged demagoguery.

One of his saviours is the media. He is one-man headline act. A troll-par-excellence. A blunderbuss of click-bait.

Trump blows his trumpet so loudly, and with such apparent glee, that he drowns out all other members in the Republican orchestra.

The media love him or love to hate him. After all, he is one of them. He is a seasoned veteran of the reality television programme The Apprentice and the former owner of the Miss Universe Pageant.

He is an American hybrid; part snake-oil salesman and part late-night evangelical pastor. He’s so brash, confident and dishonest that you would be advised to keep your wallet at home and your grandmother on a leash.  He tells you how much he hates you and then, with a big smile, arms outstretched and palms open, he tells you how much he loves you. He loves Muslims, Mexicans and women after he has labelled them as terrorists, rapists and ugly, bleeding and stupid.

Trump is a true demagogue; a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular passions, fears and prejudices. His ex-wife is widely reported to have said that her husband kept a book of Hitler's collected speeches, My New Order, in a cabinet by his bed.

The New York Times recently ran an analysis of Trumpspeak.

His favourite word is ‘I’. His fourth-favourite word is ‘Trump’. Other favourites are ‘We’ and ‘Them’.

Trumpspeak plays on fear. ‘Stupid’, ‘dumb’, ‘bad’, ‘scared’, ‘horrible’ and ‘weak’ are favourite words.

His sentences are staccato, using mostly one syllable words which he delivers in a pronounced repetitive double and triple beat.

‘Something bad is happening’, he says, then pauses… ‘something really dangerous is going on.’

A 12-year-old girl from Virginia at a rally asked him: ‘I’m scared — what are you going to do to protect this country?’

‘You know what, darling? You’re not going to be scared anymore. They’re going to be scared. You’re not going to be scared…’

'We never went after them. We never did anything. We have to attack much stronger. We have to be more vigilant. We have to be much tougher. We have to be much smarter, or it’s never, ever going to end.’

Trumpspeak works on the theory that if you repeat a lie for long enough it develops its own truthiness.

His language is alarmingly similar to the uninhibited, nasty, misogynist language associated with online commentators and trolls. Trump has taken this language offline. After the initial indignation and moral outrage has died down, a bevy of commentators and some of his rivals often hitch a ride in his slipstream. Well, maybe he’s got a point there, they say.

Trump says the unthinkable which is what many Americans are thinking. It’s not pretty to hear, nor watch. He has led the polls from day one. There's no reason to think he won't go all the way.

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