Danger: There is a Red Herring Tied to Your Anchor!

Let’s talk about today in Presidential politics. Why? Because it has EVERYTHING to do with negotiation. Specifically, what happened today was a classic example of using ‘Anchoring’ as a hard-bargaining tactic and a quintessential ‘Red Herring’. For those of you who want to take him at face value – that his goal is to postpone the election or litigate the outcome – not so fast. He was throwing an ‘anchor’ and throwing us off the scent with a ‘Red Herring’, and we – as skilled negotiators who know how to call out hard-bargaining tactics – need to call it out for what it is.

So, what did he say? He suggested that we may need to delay the election and perhaps – if things don’t change – he may be ‘forced’ to litigate the results for months or ‘possibly years’. That is the ‘stand’ he is taking. That is his ‘anchor’. I will not allow the the election to take place – or I will not leave office – unless we address what?….that’s right. The ‘Red Herring’. The ‘Red Herring’ is mail-in ballots. It is intended to distract us using a baseless claim in hopes that we will take the bait and focus our attention for the next few months on the efficacy of mail-in ballots. It is nonsense, which is what a ‘Red Herring’ is by definition.

You see this, right?

So, what is he after? What is he REALLY trying to do. For that you need to put yourself in his shoes (as disgusting as that imagery might be) and ‘Think Double’. What does he want? What outcome would most benefit him? If you answer that, you know what his next step will be.

It is clear, looking at crumbling approval ratings and crashing poll numbers, Donald Trump knows his re-election chances are in jeopardy. It has been transparent for some time that his re-election strategy is one of riling his base to increase voter turnout, while suppressing turnout on the other side. He has certainly been on message regarding the former, and now he is after the latter.

He champions himself on being an expert negotiator, but sadly the opposite it true. He prides himself on not “giving away” his position or power in a negotiation, but his bluster and arrogance reveal everything he is trying to conceal. But, be that as it may, he is setting up his next negotiation. Not surprisingly, his gameplan is the same one he used when attempting to negotiate the RNC Convention in North Carolina amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The Strategy? Take an extreme position, threaten the other side with the worst case scenario, publicly attack them with personal insults and hope they ‘blink’ and give him what he wants. Guess what, the governor of N.C. didn’t ‘blink’. He forced Trump to bluff and ‘walk away’ when his BATNA was extremely weak. The result – he wasted time and money by moving the convention to FL, only to cancel it when the global pandemic reared its ugly head in his own backyard. If you ever want an example of what a failed negotiation looks like, look no further than this.

So, if past is prologue (and it ALWAYS is with Donald Trump), he will attempt to make a ‘deal’ with congress using his ‘Red Herring’ as a negotiation chip. I (Donald Trump) will allow you to go forward with the election as scheduled – and (depending on whether he is forced to make this concession) I agree to accept the outcome of the election no matter the outcome – if you agree to eliminate mail-in voting throughout the country.

Keep your eye on the prize, de-anchor when the anchor is not credible and – for the love of Pete – don’t fall for the ‘Red Herring’.

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