Solar Panels on the Wall?

Axios is reporting that President Trump suggested putting solar panels on the new Wall with Mexico. The article wonders where the idea came from:

Where this idea might come from: A proposal to cover the wall with solar panels was among those submitted when the U.S. requested designs earlier this year, according to the AP. Companies winning contracts and asked to build prototypes may be announced this month.

That’s one place it might have come from. But I consider it an obvious idea, which means the President might have come up with it himself. And when I say “obvious,” I mean it is obvious to people who understand the power of persuasion.

Case in point, consider this quote from my blog post in November of 2015, about a year before the first Wall bids were submitted.

Now let’s keep thinking big about what this “wall” actually is. I can imagine a bullet train operating inside the wall, with shops and entertainment on each side, at least within the gateway city. I can imagine solar panels all along the top. I can imagine condos built into the wall. You can add more ideas. The point is that “wall” is thinking small. Think gateway city.

You can see the rest of that blog post here.

Many readers of this blog have wondered about the spooky accuracy of my Trump-related predictions for the past 2 years. Some have wondered on social media if I was somehow causing things to happen or just doing a good (or lucky) job of predicting. I’d like to propose a third option: People who understand persuasion think alike. 

Putting solar panels on the wall is persuasion. It isn’t construction. It isn’t politics. It isn’t border security. It isn’t climate protection. It is pure persuasion. If that isn’t already obvious to you, consider how hard it would be for critics to argue against a green energy project, even if that is just an add-on feature to the wall. It changes the frame.

My hypothesis is that people who understand persuasion are likely to come to similar conclusions about things, and those conclusions will not agree with 98% of the public. Want more evidence of that? Take a look at linguist and persuasion expert George Lakoff’s take on President Trump’s Twitter strategy. You’ll see it is similar to what I’ve been telling you for a few years now. That’s not a coincidence. Lakoff is looking at the situation through what I call the Persuasion Filter, same as me.

We all have our own filters, informed by our training and life experiences. People who only know politics see only politics. People who are trained only in economics will tell you to follow the money. And trained persuaders will tell you persuasion is usually the predictive variable. 

When you see experienced “persuaders” agree on a topic, it doesn’t mean one of them got the idea from another. It probably means there was one obvious persuasion-related play and those with training recognized it at the same time.

You might enjoy reading my book because it is almost summer.

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