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Archive for januari, 2016

President Harry Truman, his daughter Margaret, and his wife Bess

President Harry Truman, med sin dotter Margaret och sin fru Bess i en vallokal i Independence, Missouri vid valet 1948.

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POLITIK | Har vänsterns försök att vinna val på klasskamp misslyckats? Det ser åtminstone så ut i Storbritannien.

Francis Urquhart, played to icy perfection by the late Ian Richardson.

Idag ser inte Labour ut att kunna komma ur den grop man grävt åt sig själv genom att välja Jeremy Corbyn till partiledare.

I tv-världen är Ian Richardsons tolkning av karaktären Francis Urquhart, från den engelska serien House of Cards, den typiske maktpolitikern inom det konservativa partiet.

Men även om premiärminister David Cameron har just en sådan privilegierad bakgrund som lätt kan framstå som den klassiska nidbilden av en konservativ politiker så är det Torypartiet som väljarna har förtroende för.

Toby Young, associate editor på tidskriften The Spectator, tror att det mest är den politiska klassen och media som tror att politiker från “överklassen” är till nackdel för ett parti. Väljarna däremot bry sig inte.

Following Labour’s triumph at the 1945 general election, the aristocracy became convinced that the nation had been seized by revolutionary fervour and embarked on a frantic public relations offensive. Stately homes were demolished, accents were played down and ostentatious displays of wealth became taboo. As Nancy Mitford put it in her famous essay on the subject in 1956: ‘The English lord has been nurtured on the land and is conversant with the cunning ways of the animal kingdom. He has often seen the grouse settle into the heather to rise and be shot at no more.’

Whether as a result of this strategy or not, no serious attempt to redistribute wealth has taken place since the Attlee administration. One of the most striking facts about post-war politics is that if you discount the three victories won by Tony Blair — who was about as left-wing as David Steel — Labour hasn’t won a general election since October 1974 and that barely counted. Without Blair, Labour hasn’t won a convincing majority since 1966, almost 50 years ago. The politics of envy has failed.

To be fair, even the Tory party, which prides itself on understanding how to win and retain power, took a while to wake up to this. After Alec Douglas-Home failed to win in 1964, it concluded that the party should never again be led by a toff and the next three leaders seemed to vindicate that decision with varying degrees of success. But after three consecutive losses in 1997, 2001 and 2005, it was forced to re-evaluate this policy and put another Old Etonian in charge. Exactly 10 years later, David Cameron has proved to be one of the most successful leaders in the party’s history.

Some might argue that Cameron has only triumphed by toning down his privileged status — resigning from Whites in 2008, for instance – but such efforts have always been half-hearted.

[…]

Inside the Westminster bubble, the Prime Minister’s promotion of his friends to his inner circle is regarded as a political mistake, since it adds to the impression that he’s in politics to help out his rich chums. In fact, there’s no reason to think it has harmed his party’s electoral prospects. The British public isn’t nearly as obsessed by class as political journalists. In their eyes, I suspect, all politicians seem to be from another planet, with little attention paid to whether they went to Eton or Haverstock Comp.

Bild: EMPICS, via Landov. Ian Richardson som Francis Urquhart i den engelska tv-serien House of Cards.

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VAL 2016 | Donald Trump ser allt mer ut att kunna bli republikanernas presidentkandidat.

“He’s got the mo, he’s got the masses”, säger den politiska strategen Rick Hohlt. ”He’s attracting a new class of voters.”

Försöken att stoppa Trump har så här långt misslyckats. Inte minst för att han blivit smartare ju mer han har varit ute och kampanjat. “He knows when to push and when to back off.”

Men hans motståndare måste försöka göra något för att stoppa honom om man skall ha en rejäl chans att bli nominerad.

Enligt David Von Drehle på tidskriften Time har Ted Cruz plockat fram en gammal strategi som användes av Barry Goldwater redan 1964.

Men om denna strategi lyckas kan det mycket väl innebära att Cruz splittras och sänka möjligheterna för Cruz att bli president om han skulle lyckas bli nominerad.

The man is moving people, and politics does not get more basic than that. Trump is a bonfire in a field of damp kindling—an overcrowded field of governors and former governors and junior Senators still trying to strike a spark. His nearest rival, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, has traction in Iowa among the evangelical bloc and—in contrast to Trump—is a tried-and-true Suite 3505 by F. Clifton Whieconservative. But with little more than half the support Trump boasts in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, Cruz has a long way to go to show that he can move masses.

Cruz staffers, tellingly, have been studying a 1967 tome titled Suite 3505 as a playbook for their campaign. This F. Clifton White memoir, long out of print, tells the story of the 1964
Barry Goldwater campaign. That was the last successful populist rebellion inside the Republican Party, propelling a rock-ribbed conservative past the Establishment insiders–just as Cruz hopes to do. But this triumph of intramural knife fighting proved a disaster at general-election time. Goldwater suffered one of the worst defeats in American political history. It’s no wonder that GOP leaders are every bit as wary of Cruz as they are of Trump.

In short, the GOP has awakened less than a month from the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary to find itself in bed between a bombshell and a kamikaze. It’s a sobering dawn for a political party that seemed, not long ago, just a tweak or two away from glory.

Bild: Omslaget till boken Suite 3505 av F. Clifton White.

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VAL 2016 | ”Disintermediation” är ett uttryck som vi måste lära oss om framöver vi vill kunna förstå och tolka amerikanskt väljarbeteende.

Time January 18 2016

Enligt David Von Drehle på tidskriften Time är detta förklaringen till både Donald Trumps framgångar hos republikanerna och Bernie Sanders hos demokraterna.

Disintermediation betyder helt enkelt att väljarna har tröttnat på att låta partiernas toppar, media och olika ekonomiska intressen tolka och lägga tillrätta vad de skall tro och tänka. Man vill nu ha det politiska budskapet direkt från källan – utan mellanhänder, spin och försköningar.

Disintermediation är med andra ord en del av den nya tidsandan.

Von Drehle skriver:

Big Money, the supposed superpower of post–Citizens United politics, is a dud so far. Super-PAC bets by various billionaires have done nothing to fire up such candidates as former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Bush has filled screens in key states with millions of dollars in both positive and negative ads. The result: falling poll numbers. Touted as a front runner a year ago, Bush is mired in single digits and rang in the new year by announcing that he was scrapping a round of ads in favor of more ground troops in early-voting states.

Big Media too has been brought low. The collapse of Trump was predicted so often, so erroneously, in so many outlets that the spectacle was almost comic, like a soap opera that keeps killing off the same deathless character.

[…]

What if all of these groundswells are part of the same tsunami? By coming to grips with Trump, Republicans might begin grasping the future of presidential politics, as the digital forces that have upended commerce and communications in recent years begin to shake the bedrock of civic life.

Disintermediation is a long word for a seemingly simple idea: dumping the middleman. It came into use a half-century ago to describe changes in the banking business.

[…]

Donald Trump is history’s most disintermediated presidential front runner. He has sidestepped the traditional middlemen–party, press, pollsters and pooh-bahs–to sell his candidacy directly to voters, building on a relationship he has nurtured with the public from project to project across decades.

[…]

This can explain why Trump is unscathed by apparent gaffes and blunders that would kill an ordinary candidate. His followers feel that they already know him. When outraged middlemen wail in disgust on cable news programs and in op-ed columns, they only highlight their irrelevance to the Trumpiverse.

Indeed, the psychology of disintermediation adds another layer of protection to a figure like Trump. For members of an online network, the death of the middlemen is not some sad side effect of this tidal shift; it is a crusade. Early adopters of Netflix relished the fate of brick-and-mortar video stores, just as Trump voters rejoice in the idea of life without the “lamestream” media. Trump gets this: mocking abuse of his traveling press corps is a staple of his campaign speeches.

[…]

With disintermediation, the power to set the campaign agenda shifts from the middlemen to the online networks, and those networks, this year, are very angry. Here, again, Trump is far outrunning his rivals in seizing the momentum. Americans are unhappy about an economy that punishes workers, according to opinion polls and conversations with voters. They are tired of politicians who don’t deliver on their promises.

[…]

These voters don’t want someone to feel their pain; they want someone to mirror their mood. Woe to the candidate who can’t growl on cue. Perhaps nothing has hurt the Bush campaign–whose money and endorsements, lavished by middlemen, have fizzled on the launchpad–more than Trump’s observation that the former Florida governor is “low energy.” Translation: he’s not ticked off. Voter anger in this sour season is less a data point than table stakes.

[…]

But if Trump voters are angry, that doesn’t mean they’re crazy. You meet more state representatives and business owners at his rallies than tinfoil-hat conspiracy buffs. In ways, they are a vanguard, catching sight of a new style of politics and deciding early to throw out the old rules. Their radical democracy helps account for Trump’s uncanny resilience: the less he honors the conventions of politics, the more his supporters like him. They aren’t buying what the political process is selling. They want to buy direct from the source.

Tidskriftsomslag: Time, 18 januari 2016.

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RGJ The Spectator

Bild: RGJ i The Spectator. Fler teckningar av Richard Jolleys hemsida

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VAL 2016 | Kina utgör inte ett av de mer framträdande ämnena i valrörelsen så här långt. Åtminstone inte i jämförelse med Syrien och ISIS.

Bloomberg Businessweek December 28 2015 - January 10 2016

Trots detta anser Peter Coy på tidskriften Bloomberg Businessweek att kandidaternas inställningen till Kina är en indikator på hur de ser på USA:s roll i världen.

China is a litmus test for how the presidential candidates would govern on a broad range of issues. Are they isolationists or interventionists? Do they see foreign policy as a job for the White House or for Congress? How would they strike a balance between concern for human rights and the economy? Which constituency do they most aim to please—business, labor, religious groups, environmentalists, defense hawks?

Men oavsett vad kandidaterna säger för tillfället kommer man inte kunna ignorera Kina.

Jeffrey Bader, en tidigare rådgivare till Hillary Clinton, ger rådet “Be tough”. “But China is an increasingly powerful country that has its own interests, and it doesn’t listen to us.”

Coy skriver vidare om kandidaterna:

So far, nuance has been missing from the campaign. Donald Trump, the leading Republican in the polls, speaks of China primarily as a cheater.

[…]

The leading Democrat, Hillary Clinton, sounds nearly as hawkish on the subject of Beijing. As Obama’s secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, she introduced the “pivot to Asia” policy, designed in part to prevent Chinese hegemony in the region. At a New Hampshire event last July, shortly after it was revealed that China was behind a massive electronic intrusion into U.S. Department of State personnel records, she accused the country of “trying to hack into everything that doesn’t move in America.”

[…]

“She tends to be harder on China than her husband was,” says Jeffrey Bader, who was chief adviser to the Obama administration on China until 2011 and has remained close to Hillary.

[…]

Human rights, interestingly enough, is an issue that cuts across party lines. Clinton has repeatedly raised concerns about China’s record, most vividly in September, when she criticized President Xi Jinping during a visit to the U.S., which included a White House state dinner in his honor. That enraged the Chinese. Republicans, including Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina, have been no less harsh. In contrast, Trump and Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s chief Democratic rival, rarely mention Chinese human-rights issues in their speeches—though Sanders has contrasted China favorably with the U.S. on paid maternity leave, a position that drew him a rebuke from the actor James Woods, who called the senator an “utter moron.”

[…]

If history is a guide, the candidate who wins in November is likely to be more moderate in office than he or she was on the campaign trail.

Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek (internationella upplagan) den 28 december 2015 – 10 januari 2016.

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Janet Leigh 1955

The Campaign Dossier önskar alla läsare ett riktigt Gott Nytt År! Och så gör även Janet Leigh – ända från 1955.

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