George Lakoff: Understanding the Appeal of Donald Trump

Learn who Donald Trump’s followers are and why they follow him.

Diane Ravitch's blog

George Lakoff, the psycholinguist, is expert in explaining how people respond to verbal messages. His book “Don’t Think of an Elephant,” was a best-seller.

I met Lakoff a few years back and asked him about how to frame issues in the education debate. We spent two hours talking. He left a lasting lesson with me: liberals think that people are persuaded by facts; conservatives persuade with narratives, not facts.

In this important article, he explains the reason for Trump’s success: Trump is the Father, the strong authoritarian father who will protect us and keep us safe from all threats.

“In the 1900s, as part of my research in the cognitive and brain sciences, I undertook to answer a question in my field: How do the various policy positions of conservatives and progressives hang together? Take conservatism: What does being against abortion have to do with being for owning guns?…

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