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VAL 2016 | Trots att Hillary Clinton befunnit sig i den politiska hetluften sedan Bil Clinton var president är det fortfarande svårt att sätta fingret på vad hon tror på.

The Spectator 21 May 2016

Och inte blir det bättre av att allt tenderar handla om Donald Trump i medias bevakning av valkampanjen. ”The Donald” suger upp allt syret i den politiska bevakningen av presidentvalet.

En indikation att det skulle behövas mer kritisk bevakning av Clinton och hennes politiska ställningstaganden är att opinionsundersökningar visar att hela 60 procent av amerikanerna anser att hon är opålitlig (”untrustworthy”) och ohederlig (”dishonest”).

Av de demokratiska och republikanska presidentkandidaterna är det bara Trump som lyckats uppvisa än värre förtroendesiffror.

Hillary kan tacka högre makter att hon skall möta just Trump i presidentvalet. I väljarleden verkar däremot mest sucka över att behöva välja mellan de två.

En som tittat på det politiska fenomenet Clinton är  Christopher Buckley som med stor humor skrivit om henne i The Spectator:

The difficulty with limning a template of a Hillary Clinton administration is that her existing template is unlimnable. That is, fuzzy. It’s not so much a template as a palimpsest. Mrs. Clinton’s policy positions are rarely fixed points. They have a tendency to get up and wander about, whether it’s the Iraq war vote, or the trade deal she was so in favor of until she was not, or the minimum wage of $12 or $15 an hour, or the Benghazi attack being the fault of that asshole in California streaming that totally inappropriate Islamophobic video, or the private emails with the nuclear launch codes and George Clooney’s recipe for penne arrabiata. If Mrs. Clinton had an escutcheon, its motto would be ‘Whatever’ (Quisquis?) You Brits all the know Latin, right?) The catalogue of Clinton’s policy books has more positions than the Kamasutra. As Groucho Marx said, ‘I’ve got principles. And if you do not like them, I’ve got others.’

This morphing and shapeshifting has allowed her to survive over the years. The catch is that, while getting away with stuff may sustain you in power, it won’t endear you to the general public. Mrs C has been front and center on the national stage now for nearly a quarter-century. Result: 60 per cent of Americans find her ‘untrustworthy’ and ‘dishonest’. A triumph. But she is hardly unique. Richard Nixon, aka ‘Tricky Dick’, was on the national stage for 20 years before he made it all the way. And that turned out fine.

[…]

Mrs. Clinton has her admirers, no arguments. But if that 60 per cent figure is accurate, she’s going to need more than her faithful hard core to put her over the top in November. Fortunately, many – indeed most – Republicans are resistant to the charms of the Mussolini of Fifth Avenue. Confronted with a Hobson’s Choice from Hell in November, they will hold their noses and vote for her. Or write in Ronald Reagan. And then get stinking drunk and go home and kick the dog.

Of the many difficulties facing Mrs. Clinton once she achieves her life’s ambition is a fact that even her most ardent devotees might admit to, if you promised them anonymity, voice-altering software and witness protection: she is, well, dull.  She is, to paraphrase Falstaff, not only dull herself, but the cause of dullness in others, especially the minions who warble on TV about how wonderful she is. Maybe she is wonderful, but hearing about her wonderfulness has’ve become, 24 years later, excruciating.

Mrs. Clinton is many things – intelligent, accomplished, hard-working, quisquis – but she is not herself interesting, except as a historical phenomenon – an American Evita, minus the charisma and the balcony. This is likely to make four years of her feel interminable. One year into her presidency, Stephen Hawking may have to revise his theory of time and posit that it is now slowing down. Or has stopped altogether.

[…]

Barack Obama came into office wafting on zephyrs of adoring oohs and aahs, trailing angel-dust and proclaiming the dawn of a new golden era of nonpartisan enlightenment – a new shining Washington upon a hill. In less fancy terms: he promised to change the way Washington does business. That turned out well too.

[…]

Safe bet-wise: The First Mrs. President is going to be very, very good for the Clinton Foundation. As for America, not so much. A lot has been written about how fed up people are with the arrogance and corruption of Washington. That’s why so many are voting for Donald Trump. But if you think Americans are angry now, just wait until they suffer a full term of Clinton 2.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator den 21 maj 2016.

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VAL 2016 | De har gjorts otaliga försök att jämföra Donald Trump med Mussolini och Hitler. Mest verkar detta handla om önsketänkande från motståndare.

Nam Y. Huh - AP

Poängen tycks vara att försöka få jämförelserna att fästa så att det skall bli lättare att mobilisera väljarna mot honom inför presidentvalet. Om alla ser honom som en blivande diktator kommer ingen att vilja rösta på honom.

Men Matthew Copper har tidigare i t.ex. Newsweek visat att denna oro – äkta eller låtsad – inte har mycket med verkligheten att göra. Detta även om Trump själv skulle ha tankar på att göra sig till USA:s diktator.

Det amerikanska systemet är uppbyggt just för att hindra att något parti eller politiker tillskansar sig någon diktatorisk makt.

Om Barack Obama har haft svårt att få igenom sin politik under snart åtta år finns det knappast någon anledning att tro att en president Trump skulle få det lättare.

Om något så har det politiska systemet under Obama snarare anklagats för att vara trögt och oförmöget att kunna hantera de problem som landet står inför. Kongressen har mer eller mindre effektivt lyckats hindra och obstruera för att minimera presidentens beslut.

Just p.g.a. att den dömande, lagstiftande och beslutande makten är skilda åt är risken för att beslut som utmanar konstitutionen skall gå igenom liten i USA.

Och varför skulle kongressens politiker välja att lägga sig platt på marken p.g.a. Trump? Är det någon som tror att politiker frivilligt skulle lämna över makt och inflytande till Trump bara för han säger det? I vilken demokrati brukar det ske?

Men det betyder inte att man inte kan dra vissa lärdomar av den personlighetskult som skapats kring Trump.

Hans förmåga att locka människor till massmöten är t.ex. intressant när man tittar på personer som just Hitler och Mussolini. (Men när det gäller massmöten påminner han kanske mer om Barack Obama än någon av dagens populister på högerkanten eller gårdaganes diktatorer.)

Emily Cadei har för Newsweek talat med en rad forskare och akademiker om deras syn på Trumps valkampanj:

The lesson from this race: A strong cult of personality can trump ideology. And that’s been proved by generations of demagogues. The support behind Italy’s Benito Mussolini was “more about the leader than…about the party or the ideology,” bypassing or even upending the traditional party structures, says Arfon Rees, a specialist in Soviet and Russian history at the U.K.’s University of Birmingham.

There are other parallels, says Joseph Sassoon, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. When Trump says he’s his own best adviser and has no speechwriters, “this is really a prototype of Saddam or Qaddafi or Nasser…the wanting to control the language of their speeches,” says Sassoon, referencing former leaders of Iraq, Libya and Egypt. “An essential component of the cult of personality is it cannot be shared with anyone.”

German philosopher Max Weber coined the term  charismatic authority to describe leaders whose power is built on their “exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character,” as opposed to the rule of law or simply brute force. Many may not regard Trump the candidate in an admirable light, but to his followers, his business success and his personal wealth — which freed him from the unseemly campaign fundraising dance of his primary rivals — make him inviolable. American politicians are “all bought and paid for by somebody,” 62-year-old Trump supporter Nick Glaub said outside the suburban Cincinnati Trump rally. “The only person that isn’t is that man right there,” said Glaub, gesturing to the community center where the real estate mogul had just spoken.

Trump’s charismatic authority stems from this belief that he is above politics-as-usual, says Roger Eatwell, a politics professor at Britain’s University of Bath. And it goes beyond his reality-TV fame. “Celebrity…tends to be a fairly passing phenomenon, and it doesn’t tend to be a very emotional phenomenon,” Eatwell explains. But Trump’s campaign offers something deeper: “a sense of identification.”

[…]

Trump frequently points out that he is bringing into the political process people who rarely vote—those who have been, in one way or another, marginalized. A  Quinnipiac University poll released April 5 shows the depths of alienation of Trump supporters: While 62 percent of all U.S. voters agree that their “beliefs and values are under attack,” that number soars to 91 percent among Trump backers. And 90 percent of Trump supporters agreed that “public officials don’t care much what people like me think.”

[…]

A common way populist leaders burnish their anti-elite bona fides is through a lowbrow speaking style. Trump’s  third- or fourth-grade language level has made him a media punch line, but he’s hardly the first politician to use little words to gain mass appeal. Many of the most successful populists “talk in everyday speech to their target audience,” says Eatwell. Eschewing upper-middle-class academic sentence construction for short, declarative “common” phrasing “helps say they’re not part of the system,” he explains. This is a fundamental element of Trump’s appeal.

And it’s not just the speaking style that is simplified. Rees says a common theme of the right-wing regimes he studies is their simplification of the entire political discourse, “reducing it to basic binary opposites, of black and white,” and, of course, of us vs. them. Psychological theory holds that targeting the “other” helps a group construct its own identity: “You say…what you are not,” as Eatwell puts it. For Trump, the “other” is immigrants—Mexican and Muslim, in particular. In Nazi Germany, it was the Jews.

Rees sums up the mindset as: “We don’t really need complexity. We know what the problem is. We know what the solution is. All we need is the will to do it.”

Bild: Nam Y. Huh/AP. Trump vid ett valmöte på Wexford County Civic Center den 4 mars i Cadillac, Michigan. ”Even the experience of a Trump rally feels different from normal campaign event, something more akin to a rock concert or a mega-church prayer session than a political event.” 

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USA | Barack Obamas utrikespolitik har uppfattats av många som både motsägelsefull och otydlig. Någon röd tråd har varit svår att se.

The Atlantic April 2016

Jeffrey Goldberg, nationell korrespondent för The Atlantic, har träffat presidenten vid ett flertal sedan det första intervjutillfället 2006 när han träffade den dåvarande senatorn från Illinois.

Under Goldbergs senaste möte med presidenten i Vita huset redogjorde Obama bl.a. för hur han ser på USA:s roll i världen och vilken utrikes- och säkerhetspolitisk skola han anser sig ligga närmast.

Något förvånande är att Obama är en stor anhängare till den doktrin som i akademiska kretsar brukar kallas den realistiska skolan. Det är en inriktning som präglade president Richard Nixon och Henry Kissinger under deras tid i Vita huset.

I Obamas fall lär det dock mest vara Brent Scowcroft, nationell säkerhetsrådgivare till president George H. W. Bush, som stått för inspirationen.

I den nitton sidor långa essän i The Atlantic skrev Goldberg bl.a. följande:

Obama, unlike liberal interventionists, is an admirer of the foreign-policy realism of President George H. W. Bush and, in particular, of Bush’s national-security adviser, Brent Scowcroft (“I love that guy,” Obama once told me). Bush and Scowcroft removed Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait in 1991, and they deftly managed the disintegration of the Soviet Union; Scowcroft also, on Bush’s behalf, toasted the leaders of China shortly after the slaughter in Tiananmen Square. As Obama was writing his campaign manifesto, The Audacity of Hope, in 2006, Susan Rice, then an informal adviser, felt it necessary to remind him to include at least one line of praise for the foreign policy of President Bill Clinton, to partially balance the praise he showered on Bush and Scowcroft.

[…]

One day, over lunch in the Oval Office dining room, I asked the president how he thought his foreign policy might be understood by historians. He started by describing for me a four-box grid representing the main schools of American foreign-policy thought. One box he called isolationism, which he dismissed out of hand. “The world is ever-shrinking,” he said. “Withdrawal is untenable.” The other boxes he labeled realism, liberal interventionism, and internationalism. “I suppose you could call me a realist in believing we can’t, at any given moment, relieve all the world’s misery,” he said. “We have to choose where we can make a real impact.” He also noted that he was quite obviously an internationalist, devoted as he is to strengthening multilateral organizations and international norms.

I told him my impression was that the various traumas of the past seven years have, if anything, intensified his commitment to realist-driven restraint. Had nearly two full terms in the White House soured him on interventionism?

“For all of our warts, the United States has clearly been a force for good in the world,” he said. “If you compare us to previous superpowers, we act less on the basis of naked self-interest, and have been interested in establishing norms that benefit everyone. If it is possible to do good at a bearable cost, to save lives, we will do it.”

If a crisis, or a humanitarian catastrophe, does not meet his stringent standard for what constitutes a direct national-security threat, Obama said, he doesn’t believe that he should be forced into silence. He is not so much the realist, he suggested, that he won’t pass judgment on other leaders. Though he has so far ruled out the use of direct American power to depose Assad, he was not wrong, he argued, to call on Assad to go. “Oftentimes when you get critics of our Syria policy, one of the things that they’ll point out is ‘You called for Assad to go, but you didn’t force him to go. You did not invade.’ And the notion is that if you weren’t going to overthrow the regime, you shouldn’t have said anything. That’s a weird argument to me, the notion that if we use our moral authority to say ‘This is a brutal regime, and this is not how a leader should treat his people,’ once you do that, you are obliged to invade the country and install a government you prefer.”

“I am very much the internationalist,” Obama said in a later conversation. “And I am also an idealist insofar as I believe that we should be promoting values, like democracy and human rights and norms and values, because not only do they serve our interests the more people adopt values that we share—in the same way that, economically, if people adopt rule of law and property rights and so forth, that is to our advantage—but because it makes the world a better place. And I’m willing to say that in a very corny way, and in a way that probably Brent Scowcroft would not say.

“Having said that,” he continued, “I also believe that the world is a tough, complicated, messy, mean place, and full of hardship and tragedy. And in order to advance both our security interests and those ideals and values that we care about, we’ve got to be hardheaded at the same time as we’re bighearted, and pick and choose our spots, and recognize that there are going to be times where the best that we can do is to shine a spotlight on something that’s terrible, but not believe that we can automatically solve it. There are going to be times where our security interests conflict with our concerns about human rights. There are going to be times where we can do something about innocent people being killed, but there are going to be times where we can’t.”

Tidskriftsomslag: The Atlantic, april 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Donald Trumps protektionistiska politik går tvärt emot det egna partiets nyliberala inställning i ekonomiska frågor.

The Economist

Men protektionism har en lång historia i amerikansk politik. Under slutet av 1800-talet var det etablissemangets åsikt i det republikanska partiet medan frihandelsvännerna var i klar minoritet.

Idag kan vi konstatera att en anledning till Trumps framgångar är just hans villighet att gå emot sitt egets partis ideologiska fundament på det ekonomiskt-politiska området.

The Economist, under hela sin existens en frihandelsvänlig röst med nyliberala tendenser på det sociala området, gillar inte vad de har sett av Trump.

Samtidigt konstaterar tidskriften att han uppenbart har förmåga att känna in vad väljarna vill höra. Åtminstone vissa delar av väljarkåren. Om detta sedan räcker i en valkampanj mot Hillary Clinton lär vi snart få se.

I en längre artikel – ”Fear trumps hope” – skriver The Economist så här:

His electoral success is founded on espousing a view of America both exceptionally bleak and widely shared. Two-thirds of Americans think the economy is rigged in favour of the rich; almost seven in ten believe their politicians don’t care about ordinary Americans.

[…]

Mr Trump inflates and conflates these problems into an absurd caricature of undiluted failure and decline. “We’re like a third-world country,” he laments. America “makes the worst trade deals ever made in the history of trade…We’ve spent $4 trillion in the Middle East and we’re in far worse shape than we were before…China, it doesn’t respect us.” He must believe some of this; his opposition to free trade is long-standing. Yet his miserabilism is plainly tactical. It gives him opportunity to throw a few popular scapegoats to his despondent supporters: job-stealing illegal immigrants—including the “rapist” Mexicans he denounced when he launched his campaign; factory-killing Chinese trade negotiators, whom he accused this week of “raping” America; “incompetent” and “crooked” politicians.

[…]

His unusual talents are part of the answer. Charismatic, tactically astute, charming at times and ruthless, Mr Trump is a far more formidable politician than almost anyone had suspected. His outrages have kept print- and broadcast-media attention focused on him; with nearly 8m followers on Twitter and a flair for pithy invective, he rules on social media, too. At the time of his entry into the race, his slander against Mexicans seemed naive as well as boorish; it now seems remarkable how well-formed his pitch to resentful, working-class whites was. He says this was because he understands and shares their concerns. “I worked summers when I was going to school with carpenters and electricians. You know my father was a builder in Brooklyn and Queens, predominantly…I worked with all of these guys, I know these guys.” That has a rare ring of truth. Expedience explains his positions on many issues, including guns, which he once disliked and now advocates, abortion, which he once accepted and now opposes, God, in Whom he previously showed little interest but now praises. His xenophobia and protectionism, however, have form.

Newspaper clippings suggest he vigorously opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993: “The Mexicans want it and that doesn’t sound good to me,” he was reported as saying.

[…]

Yet if Mr Trump’s supporters like his message, many are also motivated by disdain for the party bosses who so haplessly opposed him. Exit polls in Indiana suggested half of Republican voters felt “betrayed” by their party.

[…]

Second, years of partisan grandstanding in Congress have discredited America’s entire political process, and the Republicans—especially those of them thrust to power by the party’s previous populist insurgency, the Tea Party—are mainly responsible.

[…]

In that sense, the Trumpian revolt is not a continuation of the false promise raised by the anti-government Tea Party, but its successor. With Mr Trump’s nomination almost assured, its fires, too, must now rage and burn out.

Trump against Clinton: the general election is shaping up to be hot and ugly. There appears to be little prospect of Mr Trump moderating his positions, by lurching to the more ameliorative centre that Republican leaders—fearing electoral annihilation—recommend. Whether he believes in his positions or not, they are mostly too extreme to be credibly revised. Apparently vindicated by his success in the primaries, Mr Trump seems to have little interest in changing tack. That also goes for his aggressive, often offensive methods. Turning to Mrs Clinton, his one-time wedding guest, the presumptive Republican nominee is disdainful. “She’s playing the woman card. That’s all she’s got going. She’s got nothing else going. The only thing she’s got is the woman card. And she plays it to the hilt,” fumes Mr Trump, whom 70% of American women dislike.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Economist, 7-13 maj 2016.

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POLITIK | Åsa Romson försöker rädda sig kvar som språkrör med en debattartikel i Dagens Nyheter. Men hon tycks inte förstå partiets problem.

Dagens Nyheter

Genom att visa på att åtta av tio punkter i valmanifestet har genomförts försöker Romson visa att hon förtjänar posten som språkrör.

Problemet med detta resonemang är att punkter i ett valmanifest inte säger speciellt mycket om Miljöpartiets problem.

Alla koalitionsregeringar bygger på att partierna får igenom det man gått till val på. Och alla partier går till val på sina valmanifest.

Ett regeringsmanifest är med andra ord minsta gemensamma nämnare för de som ingår i koalitionsregeringen. Utan en sådan överenskommelse skulle inget parti sätta sig i en regering.

Småpartierna i Alliansregeringen hävdade också att de var nöjda med vad de uppnått. Trots detta blev deras valresultat inte imponerande.

Detta berodde på att Allianspartierna redan innan de vunnit valet såg till att de var överens om vad de var överens om.

Men väljarna, speciellt kärnväljarna, ville också se att deras eget parti vunnit tunga ideologiska strider i förhandlingarna mellan Allianspartierna och i riksdagen. Väljarna önskade sig inte bara utdelning i form av minsta gemensamma liberala politik.

Samma dilemma har drabbat Miljöpartiet. De har fått igenom punkter som knappast upprört några socialdemokratiska väljare.

Men det är inte vad Miljöpartiet åstadkommit som är Åsa Romsons (och Gustav Fridolins) nuvarande problem utan snarare hur de hanterat partiets krackelerade självbild.

Vare sig språkrören – eller partiet – har kunnat leva upp till de värderingar de säger sig representera. Fortfarande verkar man inte förstå att de har ett grundläggande problem när deras ”inkluderande” attityd innebär att de välkomnar fascister, islamister och judehatare i Miljöpartiet.

Så här skriver Romson i dagens tidning:

Det valmanifest som Miljöpartiet gick till val på 2014 sätter miljön först. Utifrån förutsättningarna, å ena sidan mycket högt ställda förväntningar på miljöpolitiken och å andra sidan en regering som agerar i minoritetsställning, är jag stolt över resultaten hittills.

Jag har som person fel och brister som alla andra, och jag har med rätta fått kritik i lägen då jag inte varit tillräckligt retoriskt vass. Som ett av två språkrör har jag också ansvar för den bristande krishanteringen som Miljöpartiet haft de senaste veckorna. Relevant och konstruktiv kritik välkomnar jag, och jag är min egen hårdaste recensent.

Det är mitt ansvar att politiken levererar i linje med de högt ställda förväntningarna. Och det är i detta – resultaten som uppnås – som jag hämtar mitt mandat.

När Miljöpartiet nu efter 1,5 år i regering gör en första utvärdering av valmanifestets avsnitt om Klimat och miljö konstaterar jag att åtta av tio punkter i valmanifestets är väg att infrias, medan två av punkterna kräver mer för att gå i hamn.

Det är bara att gratulera Romson över Miljöpartiets resultat i regeringen. Men det är inte det som är hennes problem.

Mehmet Kaplans samröre med fascister och islamister var bara det synligaste exemplet på Miljöpartiets djupa ideologiska kris. Detta är vad Romson borde skriva om. Att hon inte gör det betyder bara att hon inte förstår eller inte vill förstå.

Bild: Framsidan är Dagens Nyheter den 3 maj 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Vad är skillnaden mellan Donald Trump och Ted Cruz? En sak som sticker ut är deras förhållande till religion.

The New Yorker Febuary 1 2016

Trump framstår inte bara som ointresserad av religion utan också direkt obekväm i religiösa situationer.

I The New Yorker ger Ryan Lizza ett exempel när Trump hänvisade till ett avsnitt från ”Two Corinthians” snarare än från ”Second Corinthians”

Cruz däremot kan inte få nog av religion. Han framhäver ständigt religionens betydelse för hans kampanj.

En cyniker skulle säga att detta bara beror på att han är ute efter de väljare som brukar kallas socialkonservativa (d.v.s. troende, konservativa och med ett intresse för sociala frågor).

Men detta ger inte hela bilden av olikheterna mellan de två.

Lizza konstaterar att många av dessa socialkonservativa även verkar tilltalas av Trumps budskap. Och ofta av samma anledning som andra republikaner med mindre intresse för trosfrågor.

De anser ofta att Trump är en person som vågar säga obekväma sanningar.

Han är inte rädd att gå emot partihöjdarnas taktiserande och önskan att alla presidentkandidater bör följa partietablissemangets definition av vad som anses lämpligt för att vinna ett presidentval. Många av de frågor som republikanska politiker brukar driva har inte alltid gynnat deras väljarbas.

Trumps ekonomiska oberoende gör att han dessutom framstår som betydligt hederligare eftersom han inte är beroende av inflytelserika lobbyisters donationer.

Lizza skriver om hur Trump och Cruz förhåller sig till de fyra väljargrupper som utgör Republikanska partiets väljarbas enligt Dante J. Scala och Henry Olsens ”The Four Faces of the Republican Party”.

In “The Party Decides,” published in 2008, the political scientist Hans Noel and three co-authors showed that, since 1980, the best predictor of the Democratic and Republican nominee has been endorsements by elected officials.

Trump—a media-created populist who has no such endorsements and is despised by Party insiders—defies that theory. “If Trump wins, he’d be forcing himself on the Party,” Noel told me. Cruz, too, represents the kind of hostile takeover that Polsby warned about. He is the consummate political insider—a U.S. Senator from Texas with a long history of activism in the G.O.P.—but he is hated by Republican élites, and none of his Senate colleagues are backing him. The two candidates offer visions for the future of the Republican Party that are starkly different from one another and from what the Party seems to envisage for itself.

Pundits have taken to endlessly discussing the different “lanes” the candidates occupy, an idea best articulated in a new book, “The Four Faces of the Republican Party,” by Dante J. Scala and Henry Olsen. They describe a Republican primary electorate that, since the nineteen-eighties, has been divided into four well-defined groups: moderate and liberal voters, who make up twenty-five to thirty per cent of the electorate; somewhat conservative voters (thirty-five to forty per cent); very conservative evangelical voters (about twenty per cent); and very conservative secular voters (five to ten per cent). A successful candidate starts off by appealing to one of the lanes and then absorbs voters from one or more of the others as opponents drop out and their supporters look for someone else. Cruz is assiduously following this road map by presenting himself as the champion of the two “very conservative” voting blocs. He obeys every traffic sign and rarely veers left, hoping that later in the primary season he can expand into the other lanes.

[…]

Trump, though, has effectively ignored the conventional wisdom about Republican lanes. He’s like a snowplow barrelling across the highway. State and national polls consistently show that he draws strongly from all four ideological segments of the party. His strongest supporters are less educated and less well off; his fiercest opponents are Republicans with advanced degrees and high incomes. Trump has turned what is traditionally an ideological fight into a class war.

“The biggest thing to understand about Trump is that he is effectively redefining the G.O.P. by asking a different question than the one the Party has been answering for fifty years,” Henry Olsen told me. Since at least the Goldwater nomination of 1964, he said, every nomination battle has aimed to answer the question “To what extent should the G.O.P. be the vehicle for the conservative movement?” In addressing it, the Republican primary electorate has always sorted along a spectrum based on ideology: moderates and liberals oppose the idea; very conservative voters, the kind that Cruz is courting, champion it; and somewhat conservative ones split the difference. Trump draws from all four factions because he’s uninterested in how conservative the G.O.P. should or shouldn’t be. “He is not trying to answer this question at all,” Olsen said. “Instead, he is posing a new question: to what extent should the G.O.P. be the advocates for those struggling in the modern economy?”

[…]

In the unlikely event that Cruz wins the nomination, he will find it difficult to gain the loyalty of other elected officials and Party leaders, and he will make a poor opponent for Hillary Clinton. His nomination will be akin to Barry Goldwater’s victory in 1964, or, on the Democratic side, McGovern’s victory in 1972. Both Senators were too far outside the mainstream to win in a general election. Cruz would likely lose, but he wouldn’t necessarily destroy the G.O.P. in the process. However much his colleagues dislike him, he’s still one of them.

Trump is not. Some prominent Republicans fear that a Trump nomination would fundamentally alter the identity of the Republican Party, even if he goes on to lose the general election, which seems likely. The Party would become more downscale, a potential asset if it meant drawing in disaffected Democrats, but also more alienating to non-whites, who represent the largest source of potential growth in the electorate. It would be defined by ethno-nationalism at home and an anti-interventionist retreat from America’s obligations abroad. The last major figure in Republican politics who came close to Trump’s brand of nationalism was Pat Buchanan, the former Nixon aide who ran for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1992 and 1996. Buchanan was driven from the Republican Party by mainstream conservatives, who called him an isolationist and an anti-Semite; in 2000, he captured the nomination of the Reform Party. If Trump wins the nomination, it will be his opponents who are driven from the Party.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New Yorker den 1 februari 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Donald Trump är mer populist i dess amerikanska betydelse än republikan. Så här långt har detta knappast missgynnat honom.

The Economist

The Economist har tittat på hur det brukar gå för populister i amerikanska presidentval.

Populist insurgencies are written into the source code of a polity that began as a revolt against a distant, high-handed elite. The electoral college devolves power from the centre. Primaries attract the 20% of eligible voters most fired up by politics. Candidates with money behind them—his own in the case of Mr Trump, someone else’s for Mr Cruz—can sneer at their party’s high command.

Hence populists and anti-establishment candidates make frequent appearances in American presidential races. But as the thrilling spectacle runs its course and voters reluctantly compromise with reality, they tend to fade. That usually happens early (Pat Buchanan, a Republican firebrand who promised a “pitchfork rebellion” in 1996, won the New Hampshire primary, but was out of the race by the end of March). On the rare occasion when insurgents win the nomination, they have collapsed at the general election: Barry Goldwater lost 44 of 50 states in 1964. Those who stand as independents (as Ross Perot did in 1992) have also failed—which would not bode well for a self-financing candidate like Michael Bloomberg.

[…]

Goldwater’s surge came late; Mr Trump has mesmerised crowds, and been rewarded in the polls since July. Some Republican grandees who detest Mr Cruz even more than they despise Mr Trump have fallen in behind the billionaire. Perhaps on the day people won’t turn up for either man; perhaps the two of them will throw enough vitriol to destroy each other; perhaps what is left of Mr Bush’s $100m war chest will leave the elite time to mount a counter-attack. As of now, both populists have a chance of taking the fight to the convention and even, barring a backroom establishment deal, of winning the nomination.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Economist, 30 januari – 5 februari 2016.

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