Rewind: Hillary at 7th Grade level, Trump at 6th in First Presidential Debate

Hillary at 7th Grade level, Trump at 6th in First Presidential Debate

September 28, 2016. Austin, Texas. In an exclusive analysis by the Global Language Monitor, Monday night’s first presidential debate was found to be tough and hard fought, fiery and feisty. It was everything it was built up to be — and less. Apparently, those endless hours of preparation worked well for Hillary, while Trump’s dozens of speaking engagements (and live press conferences) did not serve Trump as well. At least the lessons he had garnered from them were lacking in one respect: Trumps’s extemporaneous style.

“Speaking ‘extemp’ serves many debaters quite well,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “In fact, the technique is taught as one method employed for a successful debate outcome. It means ‘carefully prepared but delivered without notes or text’. Evidently, Trump followed the ‘carefully planned’ for the first half hour of the debate, then he appeared to embrace the alternate definition: ‘uttered on the spur of the moment’ as Webster’s puts it.”

Even so Hillary appeared to get stronger, with all prior symptoms of illness (or weakness) apparently vanquished, or at least held in the debate continued.

According to the modified Flesch-Kinkaid, SMOG index and other language analytical tools both candidates scored at the middle school level with Trump at the sixth grade level (6.0) and Clinton at the seventh (7.2). As you can see from the charts below Trump came in at the George W. Bush grade level equivalent, while Hillary scored at the George H.W. Bush level.

Combined this is the lowest level of discourse GLM has measured thus far this century. In the third and final debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the president scored at an 8.8 grade level equivalent, while Romney came in with a score of 7.7 for a combined score of 16.5 vs. a combined score of 13.2 for Clinton-Trump.

The passive voice can be, and often is, used to deflect responsibility for a particular circumstance or action. Therefore the analytical language programs are often optimized to find sentences written in the passive voice. So a politician might say, ‘the taxes were raised’ totally obfuscating and obscuring exactly who was the doer of said action. In truth, we all probably know that it was that politician who had the taxes raised.

Both Clinton and Trump both used a relatively modest amount of the passive voice, each scoring at the 5% level, and that was exemplified by the direct attacks leveled at each other, no deflection called for.

The lowest grade level equivalent thus far this century was scored by John McCain, during his acceptance speech for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008 at 3.7. This was probably of little surprise for a wartime hero known for few words and a directness of speech.

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Flashback from 2016: A New Model for the Near-mythical Rise of Donald Trump; this one from the Ancient Greeks


A New Model for the Near-mythical rise of Rise of Donald Trump; this one from the Ancient Greeks

Donald Trump’s Source of Power is the People, OnlySeparating Him From the People Will Cause His Downfall


Austin, Texas, May 24, 2016 — After reading yet another in an apparently unending number of ‘Dump Trump’ plans, we noticed that the latest differed from all the others, only in increasing its level of desperation.

It is now ever more evident that the party establishments are destined like Sisyphus to push their particular rocks up hills (in the current rendering) of their own making.

We’ve witnessed the attempts at explication of the origins of the Trump phenomenon to become more and more, dare we say it, detached or even unhinged from the current reality.  After all, it is now a given that the ‘establishment’ had completely missed (or were oblivious to) the rising anger, frustration and contempt that was seething beneath the surface of the body politic over the preceding seven years. (See Nate Cohn’s of the New York Times Apologia here.)

We at the Global Language Monitor have been documenting this undercurrent since 2007 And, indeed, it has and has been recorded in the pages of The Hill, the news organization most frequently accessed by the White House, Congress and  key influencers, as well as here in the Global Language Monitor.  However, those disruptive forces appear to have been masked, for good or for ill, by the triumphal arrival of the Obama Administration and its immediate aftermath. Of course, we also tracked the highs over the preceding time frame, but were prescient enough to pay attention to the lows, thinking there might be an interesting story that would unfold in the fullness of time.

At this point, it begs the question as to why would we expect these very same thought and opinion leaders, to suddenly, as if by epiphany or the unseen hand of the electorate, understand the enormity of the disruptive forces now sweeping the nation?

Nevertheless, how to explain this miss of near mythical proportions?  How would the ancient Greeks have

They might have called to mind the story of Antaeus.  (Antaeus here standing in for Donald J. Trump.)

Antaeus, the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea, and Gaia, the goddess of the land, the earth.  Antaeus was a giant who lived in North Africa.  He would challenge other giants striding across his land to a wrestling match to the death.  So skilled was he as a wrestler that he built a tower of skulls of the giants he had conquered in a tribute to father. This went on for ages until he encountered Hercules who was in the midst of the eleventh of his famed twelve labors.  The struggle was long, brutal and bitter; Antaeus and Hercules appeared evenly matched.

Then Hercules noticed a rather curious occurrence:  Antaeus appeared to gain a bit of strength every time Hercules (or Clinton in this case) threw him to the ground. So Hercules began to hold him in the air, for longer and longer periods, until he was weakened enough for Hercules to crush him until death.

Antaeus was finally beaten because Hercules came to understand that he gained strength from his mother Gaia (in Trump’s case, the people), whenever he was thrown to the ground.

In the same manner, many have noted that the more his opponents attempt to take Trump down, the more they thrust him to the ground, the stronger he becomes.  In the same manner for Trump, the ground, the earth, his strength are the disenfranchised, the belittled, body politic.

And the only way to beat Trump in this scenario is to separate the candidate from those who love him.

The question then becomes — is there a Hercules or Herculean team who can separate one Donald J Trump from his ultimate source of power — the people?

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This MetaThought Commentary was written by Paul JJ Payack, commentator, author, speaker and Big Data Analyst, and president of both the ThoughtTopper Institute and the Global Language Monitor.

MetaThought Commentary is a service of the ThoughtTopper Institute.

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