Compare Trump and Clinton's debate strengths with this one weird "South Park" trick

This wonderful little video by Randy Olson lays out one argument for why as a public political speaker, Donald Trump is perceived to be such a crowd-pleaser, and Hillary Clinton gets weaker scores. It's all about narrative design.

Mr. Olson is the author of the wonderful science communication book “Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story.”

About this video analyzing Trump and Clinton's styles, Olson writes:

Over the past year pundits have evaluated the speeches and debate performances of the Presidential candidates according to a variety of criteria including length of words, length of sentences, grade level of language and all sorts of other things.

But here’s a different way to look at what they say using The Narrative Index.

It’s a simple number that's just the ratio of the words But to And. “And" is a the most common word of agreement used in setting up narrative points. “But" is the most common word of contradiction, used for establishing a narrative thread.

When you start to calculate these ratios — simply the BUTS divided by the ANDS, multiplied by 100 to make it a whole number -- a world of patterns emerges.

"South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. REUTERS

"South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. REUTERS

On an archival Reddit post, Olson explained where this line of inquiry comes from -- the Matt Stone and Trey Parker Comedy Central animated series "South Park."

I found it in a narrative template I crafted and labeled as “The ABT.” It comes indirectly from the co-creators of the Emmy and Peabody award-winning animated series, South Park. In a 2011 Comedy Central documentary about the show, they talked about their “Rule of Replacing” which they use for editing scripts. They replace the word “and” with “but” or “therefore” to improve storytelling — so I turned it into the “And, But, Therefore” template (the ABT). It is now the central tool in my mission to keep people from being boring. I present it in my new book, “Houston, We Have A Narrative,” use it in my work with individual scientists, and have built my Story Circles Narrative Training program around it, which I now run with scientists from NIH and USDA. Together, with this marvelous narrative tool, we are fighting to make the world a tiny bit less boring of a place.

The BUT Candidate Vs the AND Candidate

Edited by John Rael. Music by Andru Aesthetik.

(Thanks, Mike Backes!)

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