Well, this has been an interesting week. I think that the most accurate description of the strategy of the Trump campaign at this point is that he is attempting a mass media approach to gaslighting the entire electorate.
For a detailed examination of the concept, you can go here. And here is a general description:
Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of psychological abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting their own memory,perception, and sanity. Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim
For example, let’s look at his comments about the 2nd Amendment. Here is a clip of what he said:
Now I admit that there could be some different ways to interpret that line about the 2nd Amendment folks. But one of the first that struck a lot of people is that he was suggesting that someone use a gun to kill Hillary Clinton or her judges. When he was confronted with that interpretation he said that wasn’t what he meant at all. He said he was referring to the way that those who are ardent 2nd Amendment defenders get out and vote as a block. Of course, he did not say that in the speech or even leave that impression.
This approach, saying something that made no sense or could very easily be interpreted in one way. And then twisting what he said around in a very different fashion, is pretty much exactly what that definition I quoted above is all about. He says something outlandish, or provocative, or disturbing. Then when he gets confronted about what he said he twists his own words around. It is all very disturbing.
Another example is the entire deal with the Khan’s. For a breakdown of what happened go here. Someone attacks him. He responds with his normal outlandish and invalid attacks. When asked about his attacks he attempts to twist things around and claim he never said those outlandish things or did not mean them in the way everyone thinks.
There are two really big issues here. First, this is an election campaign where everything that you say gets recorded and that record is out there. Words have power and meaning. Some people will see the original comments and take them to heart, they will be out there. And I do not think that anyone who is unable to watch his mouth and is always backtracking and spinning his own comments is fit to be the leader of our country.
Second, as the quote above mentions, this approach is a form of abuse and psychological torture. He may not even realize that he is doing this. But either way it is a very troubling approach to any relationship, and even more troubling when you consider it is the approach of an entire campaign to be President of the United States. It says something very dark about the man implementing it.