Donald Trump is hypnotizing the GOP. Literally.

The simple part: Trump is just a really, really good salesman. Or, as the campaign pros put it, a “political athlete.” The sophisticated part is how Trump is making that sale to voters. Consider the possibility that Trump — a billionaire businessman with an Ivy League MBA and a best-selling author on dealmaking — isn’t some blithering idiot blurting out populist nonsense. Instead, perhaps Trump is calculatedly using tried-and-true influencing and negotiating techniques — ones used by persuaders from carnival hypnotists to high-profile motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins — to literally mesmerize the GOP.

For instance, recall the debate over Trump’s net worth. He claimed a fortune of $10 billion when he released his financial disclosure statement last summer. Media analysts jumped to disagree. Forbes figured his wealth at more like $4 billion, while Bloomberg tallied it at $2.9 billion. But by coming out with a big, round, outrageous number, Trump employed a well-known cognitive bias called “anchoring” where people tend to rely on the first information they hear when making a decision. Classic negotiator technique. And by sparking a debate over whether his net worth was a few billion bucks or several multiples higher, Trump cemented in our collective mind that he was a tremendously successful businessman. He made us “think past the sale,” like when a car salesperson asks if you want that new Toyota Camry in Midnight Black or Blue Crush Metallic. The purchase decision is already locked in.

Or think about when Trump says, “We’re going to take out country back.” The lack of detail is what makes it powerful. Who took America away? Was it illegal immigrants? The Washington Cartel? Wall Street? Letting people fill in the blanks themselves is what hypnotists do. (“Now imagine yourself in a place of total security and serenity.”)