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Social Dynamics: Cruz, Trump and PUA

Some knowledge about social dynamics from pick up artists applies to politics. Candidates aim to gain a social status advantage over their rivals. It's not the only factor in how people vote, but it's a big one.

Long-Time Leaders of Conservative Movement Unite in Support of Ted Cruz

“There are two big differences between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz that explain why I think Cruz will prevail,” Bozell says.

“First, in every other clash between a competing candidate and Trump it was that candidate picking a fight with Trump. In this case it was Trump picking a fight with Cruz out of necessity,” Bozell notes.

“Second, in this case it is Trump who sounds angry. Cruz is responding with humor,” he adds.

“The more this plays itself out, the more it is being established that Cruz is the real conservative and Donald Trump is a charlatan,” Bozell concludes on the Trump-Cruz matchup.

This analysis has some good points. It's a good start. But real social dynamics style ideas can add more. I'll talk about reactivity and the law of least effort.

Trump is the more reactive one. He's reacting to Cruz more than Cruz reacts to Trump. This is contrary to Trump's previous fights where he was the less reactive one.

The article says Cruz is in a good spot because Trump picked the fight with Cruz. That's less accurate. You can pick a fight with someone and get them to react more than you. If you poke them a little and they have a big reaction, now they look bad.

Initiating means you are reacting to them. But it doesn't mean that you react more to them overall. Whoever picks a fight is more often the more reactive person, but not always.

Another way to look at reactivity is: it's about who is living their own life with their own strong frame, and who is leaving their world to go visit the other person and give them attention on their terms. Going to pick a fight with someone is a disadvantage here. But it's not game over. If an attacked person gets defensive, that shows a weak frame and that they are reacting to the attacks, so then they can lose this social context.

Cruz has dealt with Trumps attacks with poise. He hasn't gotten overly defensive. He hasn't started accepting Trump's premises or framing of the issues. And he hasn't started reacting a lot. Cruz does react, but less than Trump is reacting to Cruz. Cruz is the more calm and chill person in their squabble.

Trump comes off as more interested in talking about Cruz, and interacting with Cruz, than vice versa. Trump is seeking out Cruz and reacting to what Cruz does (e.g. go up in the polls) more than vice versa.

Note that the media in general, which has attacked Trump so much, has been the more reactive and higher effort party there. That's helped Trump.


The law of least effort also provides some insight. In short, whoever appears to put less effort into an interaction has higher social status.

Trump is appearing to put more effort into going after Cruz than the effort Cruz is putting into doing anything about Trump. So Cruz looks better here.

Cruz has highlighted this pretty clearly. He's said some stuff about he's on Trump's mind and Trump is tweeting so much about him.


Elliot Temple on January 22, 2016

Comments (17)

Rami

if trump and/or his advisers know what you're talking about, then what would they do instead?

in this hypothetical world, where trump and his advisers understood "reactivity" and "the law of least effort" as you do, what would cruz be doing? and what would trump be doing? (keep other things constant, e.g. that they would rather spend their time in politics instead of, or before, spending enough time/effort studying philosophy.)

i'm going to post this to FI. (i bet i'll add more thoughts.)

oh here's a thought.

what other contexts does this knowledge apply to? what is its reach?

let's say a customer gives a bad facebook review of a store. and a company representative replied to the customer in the comments of the review.

do these social dynamics principles apply? how? what are some implications? what should company's know?

how would trump act if he knew that at 3:51 PM on January 22, 2016 | #4575
It's hard to separate social dynamics from other issues.

Cruz is more able to just do his own thing b/c he has the better ideas about politics. Cruz has more principles. He's more about ideas.

Trump is more of a social guy with worse ideas who needs some stuff other than detailed debate to have attention.

In general being able to do well with social dynamics is partly enabled by being a good person, having a good life situation, having your shit in order, etc. It's not just totally arbitrary and fake. Cruz has the advantage over Trump there. That kinda puts the ball in Trump's court.

Anonymous at 4:03 PM on January 22, 2016 | #4576
people aren't as ridicolous as pua makes them out to be

Anonymous at 1:02 PM on January 27, 2016 | #4703
> people aren't as ridicolous as pua makes them out to be

this is an assertion, not an explanation or argument.

what's the point? you disagree with something. why? you didn't say. how ridiculous does PUA make people out to be? in what ways? which of those claims are false? you don't say.

Anonymous at 1:07 PM on January 27, 2016 | #4705
> people aren't as ridicolous as pua makes them out to be

*everybody*? or just *some* people aren't as ridiculous as pua makes them out to be?

Anonymous at 1:07 PM on January 27, 2016 | #4706
to the guy one comment above - you'll never understand anybody if you don't try to and instead engage in empty posturing.

Anonymous at 12:14 PM on January 29, 2016 | #4731
Does anybody understand what the guy one comment above is saying?

Anonymous at 2:10 PM on January 29, 2016 | #4732
my guess: he thinks asking about all vs. some is empty posturing. like hair splitting or being pedantic. rather than trying to understand. he thinks clarity and precision are a waste of time, which people ask for in order to sabotage discussion.

Anonymous at 2:14 PM on January 29, 2016 | #4733
If your guess is true, I wonder how he thinks he's going to understand anybody without clarity and precision.

Anonymous at 2:33 PM on January 29, 2016 | #4734
I'd guess he kinda assumes communication isn't that hard. And thinks that his level of clarity and precision is enough, and more detail than that is an irrelevant distraction. Roughly.

Anonymous at 2:38 PM on January 29, 2016 | #4735
> I'd guess he kinda assumes communication isn't that hard. And thinks that his level of clarity and precision is enough, and more detail than that is an irrelevant distraction. Roughly.

if that was true, then it'd be easy to understand people. it isn't.

so i guess he thinks it's easy to understand people.

Anonymous at 2:49 PM on January 29, 2016 | #4736
people often overestimate how much they understand others and are understood by others. by a **LOT**.

and they have lots of stereotyped interactions where less understanding is needed.

Anonymous at 3:02 PM on January 29, 2016 | #4738
Anon said:
> to the guy one comment above - you'll never understand anybody if you don't try to and instead engage in empty posturing.

then a different Anon said:
> I'd guess he kinda assumes communication isn't that hard. And thinks that his level of clarity and precision is enough, and more detail than that is an irrelevant distraction. Roughly.

so, might best guess now is that he thought that i would understand his comment (about "empty posturing"). i didn't. and still not sure i do.

Anonymous at 5:09 PM on January 29, 2016 | #4739
>>> people aren't as ridicolous as pua makes them out to be

>> *everybody*? or just *some* people aren't as ridiculous as pua makes them out to be?

> to the guy one comment above - you'll never understand anybody if you don't try to and instead engage in empty posturing.

(now that i'm armed with the ideas i was gifted above.) this is fucking stupid.

it's the same evil shit that most parents do to their kids: delegitimize disagreements with their kids by concluding (without argument) that the kid is not trying to understand the parent.

FUCK YOU!

Anonymous at 5:25 PM on January 29, 2016 | #4740
that seems harsh. most people don't discuss in a high precision way. i think many people would misinterpret the all vs some distinction as being pedantic and not trying to engage with the meat of the discussion. in some discussions, ppl DO that. they focus on winning some little side hair-splitting point, rather than trying to understand, learn and improve their ideas related to the main disagreement.

as anon said above:

>people often overestimate how much they understand others and are understood by others. by a **LOT**.

>and they have lots of stereotyped interactions where less understanding is needed.

Anonymous at 6:51 AM on January 30, 2016 | #4743
> that seems harsh. most people don't discuss in a high precision way. i think many people would misinterpret the all vs some distinction as being pedantic and not trying to engage with the meat of the discussion. in some discussions, ppl DO that. they focus on winning some little side hair-splitting point, rather than trying to understand, learn and improve their ideas related to the main disagreement.

i want to better understand your point. i think i get the gist but i have some questions about details.

was i wrong to liken what Anon did to:

> it's the same evil shit that most parents do to their kids: delegitimize disagreements with their kids by concluding (without argument) that the kid is not trying to understand the parent."


another question. was i also too harsh on parents who do the same thing to their kids?

your answer above seems to fit here [with slight changes, are these changes ok?]:

"most people don't discuss in a high precision way. i think many [parents] would misinterpret the all vs some distinction as being pedantic and not trying to engage with the meat of the discussion. in some discussions, [children] DO that.[1] they focus on winning some little side hair-splitting point, rather than trying to understand, learn and improve their ideas related to the main disagreement."

[1] also parents, but somehow they don't pay attention to noticing their *own* mistakes.

Anonymous at 12:22 PM on January 30, 2016 | #4744
these people who have some bad experiences with hair-splitting: have they simply given up on discussion?

or do they have some actual knowledge of how to proceed productively without much clarity, logic, details, etc? no they don't. and they seem to be OK with not having that. something's very very wrong.

Anonymous at 11:34 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4859

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)