If there's something I've learned over the years - right or wrong - is that most of life has to do with sales. And to be a good salesman, or saleswoman, you need to have mastered the art of persuasion.
Donald Trump is a good salesman. He's also a very good persuader.
#Fakenews is persuasion, and Trump has mastered its art. He's picked a group of people who have approval ratings below 20% and he's used them to his advantage. Everything they write that he doesn't like is labelled fake, and his minions (which there are many) rally to him, on social media and elsewhere, because, well, with a big enough audience who hates the media, they are plentiful.
It doesn't matter if the news is real and not #fake, or how ridiculous a narrative may be. When persuasion works, facts don't matter.
I won't let the other side off the hook. Barack Obama was a master persuader and good salesman, too. The republican congress's approval ratings were low and they were supported by Fox commentators. The former President used both as targets, almost each day. His minions would jump when the whip was cracked with Trumpian verve on every bit of "Faux" news, or when his opponents didn't pass what he wanted passed.
It doesn't matter that sometimes the Republicans were right, or that the Fox News story you just saw with a Princeton prof talking health care economics was actually pretty good. To the master persuader and his or her followers, they don't care. The persuader's job is done.
Maybe it's just me, but I find that kind of discourse in today's world nauseating; weak; condescending and annoying to no end. But the fact remains -- the tactics work.
In racing the persuaders are there, too. "Takeout hawk" is a pejorative and it works for that side. Calling us, 'people who'd like optimal pricing to grow handle, and subsequently the horse racing business' just doesn't cut it.
Framing works on the other side, of course. Calling everyone that works at a racetrack an idiot serves a purpose, just like labelling Jake Tapper an agent of the Democratic party does. It marginalizes them, and the marginalized aren't worth listening to. Plus, like the media, this business is shrinking, so they're an easy target. If racing was growing there would be no idiots.
I kind of despise this new wave of banality. Which is why you'll find arguments based on what I am reading, or seeing, or what-have-you (in a racing context) regardless of the frequency, as Sid jokingly pointed out today. We talk Amazon.com, McDonald's sauces, Russian pollution, or anything else that pops on the radar.
Framing things persuasively, like a skilled politician might be better, and it would certainly be easier, and more entertaining. But, I can't do that well.
For example, I argued the Canterbury takeout reduction (a common topic on this blog) like this -
It's good they're moving the other way while prices have been going up, and trying to build their brand
Hopefully handle will be up this meet, and they get some buzz
Because they have gaming money, they can expense the losses of revenue in year one or two or three as "marketing cost", which a lot of slots tracks should do
In year two and three, tweaks could occur, the experiment can move forward, and their brand could further build
Perhaps in year three, or four, their Thursday and Friday night cards will be doing north of $1.5M a night; maybe with some work even $2 million. They will be a track in the marketplace that people look at, and their brand will be improved
In year four, or five, they will be revenue neutral, and beginning to make more money each racenight. This would make both them, and racing, stronger.
I realize that's not a persuasive argument in today's world. It's not remotely sexy. There are no bumper stickers, or quick fixes, or bigly promises. There's no bogeyman; there's no one to yell and curse at; there's no one who's a villain.
I simply believe there are no quick fixes for a business which has fallen so far, so fast. Why sell sizzle when the solutions aren't? It's not like I'm running for office or something.
Modern persuasion ain't my thing and many of you who've read the blog for ten years seem to be pretty bad persuaders, too. I think we should be okay with that. Racing can't be fixed in 140 characters, and we can't all be Donald Trump.
Have a great night folks. And remember -- mandatory super high five payout at Pompano happens in race 8. Good luck!
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