The Hidden Structure Behind Kanye West’s Brilliant “Association Collapse” Persuasion

“When you embrace both sides of any polarity – bringing a positive and negative charge together – they cancel each other out. You are left with an empty space of unlimited potential.” – Paul Scheele

Kanye West unleashed a brilliant method of getting the idea of him running for President in 2024 in millions of people’s heads.

Because West is a master persuader, I can tell you how it works.

West has posted dozens of tweets over the last few days referencing such ideas as changing, being excited about the future, spreading love, unity, and rethinking perspectives. Some examples:

Reading these tweets evokes the states that Kanye wants people to experience: hope for the future, love, being willing to learn, breaking out of old thought patterns, letting go of fear, how competent Kanye is, and more.

After three days of this – building interest, positive feelings, and media attention – West introduces a powerful symbol: Trump’s red MAGA hat.

For some, that red hat symbolizes the end of American weakness and apologizing, and a return to the competitive optimistic spirit that made America the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. For others, and perhaps for the majority of West’s millions of fans, that hat symbolizes all that they are afraid of: hate, fear, oppression, and racial tensions. And many of them, thanks partially to the Clinton campaign’s persuasion work and to the mainstream media, associate those same feelings to Trump himself.

But West doesn’t just introduce the MAGA hat; he tweets a picture of himself WEARING that hat. This smashes those negative MAGA hat and Trump associations into the same time and space as all those positive states he spent the last 3 days evoking in people: love, openness to new ideas, optimism, learning, and breaking away from old mindsets. Those two sets of associations can’t exist in people’s experience at the same time, so they integrate and cancel each other out, leaving what Scheele above calls the “empty space of unlimited potential.”

And what does West do with that space of unlimited potential? He fills it with this powerful image.

West masterfully executed a classic pattern on a mass scale: he knew most of his fans had negative associations to Donald Trump and to the MAGA cause, and because of those negative associations they were unreceptive to the new ideas West wanted to spread. So West stacked a lot of newly evoked good states and integrated them with the stack of existing negative states to neutralize them, and used the resulting space to create something positive: West for president 2024.

Bonus Persuasion: West’s 2024 slogan “Keep America Great” is a persuasion play on Trump’s mission. It presupposes that Trump will “Make America Great Again,” so that West can inherit that mission and Keep America Great.


Black male approval for Trump doubles in one week.

I am now offering a limited number of persuasion consulting sessions if you see the value of learning how to persuade.

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