An Open Letter to American Voters

Dear American voter,


I know that you are confused. I know that you are frustrated. I know that you are angry. I know that your reality has been distorted due to the constant shitstorm you have been subject to all these months (oftentimes against your will). I can feel you.


Take a deep breath. It’s almost over.
An Open Letter to American Voters

You know, it had to be done. Supposedly, it is a very important part of the democratic process. It started in Greece almost 2500 years ago. Back then, they didn’t have TV and the Internet. They just had the agora where individuals could express their opinions in front of their fellow Greeks. In this public audition, it was only the words, rhetoric and deeds of citizens that were judged by their peers. It was then that the main forms of influence and persuasion started to be nourished.


The better your rhetoric and narrative, the more favorable your judgment. Political life was all about how they appeared to others.


That’s actually funny if you think about it. The ancient Greeks, the ones who introduced the idea of reason and logic are also the ones who came up with the idea of persuasion and manipulation. Ironic but very interesting, to say the least.


In their defense, you can’t really blame them, can you? The whole concept of Democracy is based on reason and logic and therefore it is considered the best regime. People get to vote for their representatives and the majority wins. Fair, square and reasonable.


But once you initiate the electoral process, things start to become a bit more complicated. There is no distinct set of rules that can help us choose the most reasonable candidate. We don’t have a grading system in place that can evaluate each candidate according to the amount of logic and reason their arguments possess.


Each candidate needs to use specific strategies that can help them appear more electable. When those strategies collide, then reason and logic are replaced by emotion. For, human nature is automatically associating collision with emotive reactions.


Therefore, a smart candidate needs to transition from the sphere of logic to the sphere of emotion. And an even smarter one needs to play with our emotions and evoke the most powerful ones. Here is a graph that showcases the probability increase of content going viral depending on different emotions:

An Open Letter to American Voters
Source: Social transmission, emotion, and virality of the content


As you can see, anger is in the first place and awe is in the second one. Does this tell you something?


Every single speech you will hear from a candidate will revolve around those two emotions. It will make you feel angry and then it will try to inspire awe. Back and forth. Again and again.


It’s not rocket science. It is basic persuasion tactics. Take a look at the table again. What is the worst emotional trigger? Sadness. Have you ever seen a candidate try to make you feel sad and succeed? No, never.


The most powerful candidates stray from sad questions and reframe them in a way that can elicit a more favorable emotion. If a candidate isn’t smart enough and falls into the trap of confirming the latent sadness of the question, he lost.


And this is the game you have been playing for the last year or so. During an election cycle, politicians try to play the same game. This time it wasn’t much different. The only difference was that one of the candidates decided to play the game more intensely. And it worked.


It didn’t really work because of the reasons they want you to believe. America has always had issues. There was always something happening in the Middle East or other parts of the world. There was always an immigration issue. There was always racial and gender problems. There was always a problem with unemployment. Those aren’t new. I know it. You know it. They know it.


What is new is the intensity by which those issues are being portrayed. When they say that Russia is planning a third world war, you become really afraid. When they say that there is a dangerous cult of global elites that controls the world, you become angry. When they say that blacks and whites, women and men, gays and straight, aren’t treated equally, you become reserved. And in an extremely irresponsible way, they play with your fears just to win the game of democracy.


You have been fooled and you know it. On the 8th of November, you are given a choice, but what you are actually given is the illusion of choice.


If you are a Clinton supporter, you are probably with her and not with him because you don’t like his demeanor. He is arrogant, he is a megalomaniac, he is demagogic, and he likes to grab women by the p***y. You might also think that he is a right-wing populist, that he resembles traits of a dictator and that he is dangerous.


Do you really believe all that?


The guy is the greatest showman on earth. He will play with people’s needs and fears in an extraordinary way. He might be narcissistic and a bit authoritative, but come on, we all are to some extent. We just don’t like to show it. He doesn’t have a problem showing it. The guy isn’t the devil. Donald Trump is just a great businessman, showman, and dealmaker. Read the “Art of the deal” and you will understand who he really is.


Don’t be fooled by the pretentious argumentation used during the electoral process. If he gets elected, nothing will change. I guarantee you that. He will try to make the best deals possible and keep everyone happy. Yes, maybe some will try to oppose him but they will eventually be ignored. He will make deals within America and outside of America. The same kind of deals that America always makes. Because whether you like it or not, the president is just a title. He is not solely responsible for American policies and strategies. The whole system of bureaucrats, lobbyists, and politicians is. He is just there to execute them. Like every single president did in the past.


If you are a Trump supporter, you are probably with him because she is corrupt and you want to make America great again. Really? I find it so pretentious when people get shocked when they read Hillary’s emails. Man, you weren’t born yesterday. You are not a kid and I hope that you don’t believe in Santa Claus. Politicians were, are and will always be corrupt. All of them. The whole political system is founded upon the concepts of clientelism, patronage, and favor exchange. It is how it is. You would do the same, admit it. If a rich guy comes to you and offers money in exchange for a favor, you would do it. If you had to promise certain benefits for certain groups in exchange for their vote, you would do it. Everybody does it in the end. The ones who don’t are usually ostracized, replaced or dead. So, please don’t behave like you don’t know what’s going on. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.


Also, don’t tell me that you believe in conspiracy theories about global elites that rule the world. Globalism is inevitable. You know why it is inevitable? Because it is the only way we can sustain economic growth. You can’t expect growth to happen without open borders, without free trade, and without a worldwide connection. Yes, it isn’t the best system, but being able to discuss its flaws and suggest improvements, makes it automatically better than nationalism. Global elites aren’t ruling the world. They are just a byproduct of human nature. People who acquire money and power will do whatever it takes to keep them. People who profit from globalism and create businesses because of globalism find globalism important. You are probably part of a global company. You should be grateful that a global company offered you a job and chose you among other global candidates. If you don’t like your job, the global economy offers you chances to start a new life anywhere around the world.


And finally, stop being terrorized by the idea of war with Russia or China. Do you really believe that Russia and China want to start a war with America? Why? Because America is a bully? Because they want to dominate the world? Give me a break. Everyone knows that if we start a WWIII it will be the end of human race. Tensions will always exist for only one reason: To sustain the otherwise useless but incredibly profitable military industry.


Donald Trump is not your savior and he is definitely not a revolutionary. Hillary Clinton is not the devil and she will definitely not destroy America.


On the 8th of November, one of the two will get elected and we will go back to our normal lives.


However, you should be grateful for this election. You should be grateful because it helped us realize three important things:


  1. That persuasion is about emotion and how the wrong use of emotion can detrimentally impact our lives and perception of reality.
  2. That you don’t really need mainstream media. You have people you can discuss with. You have many sources to draw information from. You can even start your own media outlet and present interesting views.
  3. We can start to openly discuss alternatives to the current system.

And that’s a great thing. It means that we evolve. We embrace complexity. We understand ourselves and the world better. We become more pragmatic. We start to ponder deep issues.


The only thing we miss is to learn how to chill, respect each other and ignore neurotic propagandists.


Take care and God bless America.


p.s. If you decide to vote for a third party candidate, go for it. As one of my favorite thinkers, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, recently stated, a vote resembles an ethical choice and out of ethics, I am going to vote someone outside the two major candidates.


If you want to take a break from the shitstorm and revitalize your paradigm, I strongly suggest “30 Challenges-30 Days-Zero excuses.” All the healthy habits suggested in the ebook are strategically picked in order to help you view life from a fresh perspective.


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Andrian Iliopoulos

I am the founder and main contributor at The Quintessential Man - The only online community that offers a holistic approach to self-growth. I am striving to create high-quality content by investing in a reality-based form of self-help, informed by a deep understanding of psychology, philosophy and my own personal experiences and social adventures.
  • Jimmy433

    The art of the deal is not a accurate representation of who Donald Trump is. The man who ghost wrote it for him came out against him. There are arguments to be made for Trump but referencing the art of the deal isn’t one of them.

  • Jan Habrzettl

    Love the article, Andrian. A great representation of some of the things I have had in mind when it comes to these elections. I guess we just have to wait and see..

    By the way, the quality of the articles has really gone up. I love it. Hope to see you again at some point, outside of Vienna. 😉


  • Shayne

    False equivalency—that is all this article amounts to. Who wins tomorrow does matter. One example—the world. Trump denies science and does not believe in climate change: he has promised to take America out of the Paris Climate Accords. Clinton will fight climate change. I could provide a hundred more examples just like this one. If you care about this world, it matters who you vote for, and it matters who wins.

    • He doesn’t deny science. He is just following the republican agenda which has always been against climate change. This is a real issue and I have urged my readers to look deeper into it before forming assumptions. To be honest, climate change shouldn’t just be a matter of policies, but also a matter of personal responsibility. As you can see, we are slowly diverging from traditional forms of energy and embracing renewable ones (electric cars, solar panels etc). Politicians can only slightly affect that trajectory. The rest is up to us. Nonetheless, I agree that an environmentally conscious president would be the best choice, but I don’t think that Clinton is that person.

  • Western civilization is the best civilization there is at the moment. I used to respect Stefan a lot and I still respect some of his views, but a self-proclaimed philosopher who evangelizes reason and logic can’t be a fanatic Trump supporter. He clearly has an agenda and I suspect that he wanted to take advantage of the tide created by the Trump movement. Immigration will always be an issue, but it will always occur because it can help sustain economic growth. And let’s be realistic, we can’t force immigrants to do an IQ test in order to evaluate whether or not they will help us preserve western civilization. Stefan is trying to oversimplify the whole thing. Most immigrants integrate just fine and the only problems created within the society are a result of structural violence and lack of a clear plan when it comes to unemployment. This is a really complex issue that requires a clear mind in order to be discussed objectively. Some of Stefan’s points should be taken into account, but his overall attitude causes nonessential distress.

  • Awesome article.Excactly my thoughts.
    If elections made a difference,they would be illegal.

    I understand that the hype is real and many authors/blogger/creators hopped on this crazy train(especially the trump train).But sometimes it’s so obvious why they did it.Views,exposure,a condensed niche audience that under a ‘common’ goal became a huge market.I am sure that many of them were payed(see Casey Neistat for example) to do so.

    Anyway,the thing is that the guy in the oval office will not affect your life whatsoever.Maybe a tax reduction or increase,some policies etc.But these things would happen anyway.Progress is inevitable,now we are just choosing the captain,but the guys rowing under the boat will always be there.Legislators,senators etc.

    Also,i want to point out,that every godamn person up there is not stupid.No one will lead the country to the ashes.It is a tough job and you have to be succesful and smart in the first place to even run for office!But also remember that to them you are just numbers.You have nothing in common.Don’t buy into this tactic.You think Hillary can relate to the struggle of a single mother of two children ?You think Trump has any idea what is like being 2 months behind rent?


    Damn,i am not even from America.This thing has become a reality show.I tried to look up their actual plans about the economy/foreign policies/justice system/education and the best thing i found were some speeches full with buzzwords and generalized ideas.