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USA | För lång tid framöver kommer man att studera Donald Trumps valkampanj. Var den unik eller kan strategin kopieras av andra?

strategy

En bra början är att studera varför de övriga republikanska presidentkandidaterna inte lyckades stoppa honom.

James Fallows, som en gång ingick i Jimmy Carters kampanjstab och numera är på tidskriften The Atlantic, pratade med några strateger om hur man försökte hantera Trump.

After the fact, representatives of all the fallen candidates told me that none of it was inevitable, and that Trump could have been stopped if any of the others had imagined that he would go as far as he did. “If you put any of us in a time capsule and told us a year ago that he might be the nominee, then each candidate would have tried to prevent it in their own way,” Alex Conant, the communications director for Rubio’s campaign, told me after Trump had locked things up. “We all thought that the summer of Trump would not last. So our early strategy was not just to ignore him but actually to try hard not to offend his supporters, so we could be the alternative to him when he inevitably went down. He largely got a free pass until it was too late.” Tim Miller, who worked for Bush, agreed that the other non-Trump candidates were more intent on finishing one another off than attacking him when he might have been vulnerable. “By the end, Marco was scoring points against him,” Miller said. Before his humiliating loss to Trump in his own state of Florida, which forced him out of the race, Rubio was attacking Trump for his ignorance about policy and mocking him on hand size and blowhard traits. “But Marco was already sinking by then, so it was from a position of weakness rather than strength.”

“The rest of them were convinced that Donald Trump didn’t need to be defeated,” Stuart Stevens, who was Mitt Romney’s campaign strategist in 2012, told me. “That was a convenience, because they didn’t have to take him or his supporters on. With Jeb and Rubio, it became like the Bosnian civil war—more into killing each other than winning.” Meanwhile, Trump cruised ahead.

No one can say whether an earlier attack might have finished off Trump. It’s clear that the free pass he received allowed him to dominate and diminish his opponents […] “Low-Energy Jeb.” “Little Marco.” “9Lyin’ Ted.” His impulsive approach also paralyzed the other campaigns. “When we did our debate prep, we wondered how you can prepare to debate against someone who doesn’t prepare at all himself,” Alex Conant said. “I don’t think Trump had any idea what he was going to say until he said it. All you could be certain of is that if he said something funny or outlandish, that would dominate the news, and you’d be even further behind.”

Trump didn’t “win” all the debates, nor was he always effective minute by minute. When questions got into details of policy, he would set himself on pause until an opportunity for a put-down occurred. “With eight or nine others onstage, he could pick a moment to position himself as the alpha,” Tim Miller said. “And eventually the media got conditioned not to say negative things about his debate performance, since whatever he did, he rose in the polls—while for Jeb or Marco or Ted Cruz, any mistake was seen as ‘devastating.’ ”

James Parker, även han på The Atlantic, konstaterar att Trumps sätt att kommunicera gör det svårt för en motståndare eftersom han inte hade ett politiskt budskap i traditionell bemärkelse.

Trump-space is not democratic. It depends for its energy on the tyrannical emanations of the man at its center, on the wattage of his big marmalade face and that dainty mobster thing he does with the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. But it is artistic. Within its precincts, the most vicious and nihilistic utterances retain a kind of innocent levity: They sound half-funny, theatrical, or merely petulant. The scapegoating and bullying are somehow childlike. This is why, so far, no political strategy has succeeded against him. It rolls on, his power grab, his wild Trumpian trundling toward the White House, because he’s not doing politics at all. He’s doing bad art. Terrible art. He can’t go off message, because his message is “Look at me! I’m off message!”

Det blir svårt att tänka sig att någon kommer att kunna kopiera Trumps stil i kommande valkampanjer. Trump framstår som genuint unik i sin still.

I USA kommer det kanske räcka med en variant av Lloyd Bentsens put-down i vicepresidentkandidaternas valdebatt 1988. Bentsen fick Dan Quayle att krympa rejält i tv-rutan med klassikern ”You’re no Jack Kennedy!” Kanske kommer det att räcka med ett ”You’re no Donald Trump!” för att stoppa nästa Trump-wannabe.

Annonser

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VAL 2016 | Här kommer ett tredje blogginlägg med anledning av Kurt Eichenwalds löpande granskning i Newsweek av Donald Trumps affärer.

newsweek-11-nov-2016

This Way Lies Deceit”:

Over the course of decades, Donald Trump’s companies have systematically destroyed or hidden thousands of emails, digital records and paper documents demanded in official proceedings, often in defiance of court orders. These tactics—exposed by a Newsweek review of thousands of pages of court filings, judicial orders and affidavits from an array of court cases—have enraged judges, prosecutors, opposing lawyers and the many ordinary citizens entangled in litigation with Trump. In each instance, Trump and entities he controlled also erected numerous hurdles that made lawsuits drag on for years, forcing courtroom opponents to spend huge sums of money in legal fees as they struggled—sometimes in vain—to obtain records.

newsweek-23-dec-2016

Tangled Up In Orange”:

Donald Trump hasn’t been sworn in yet, but he is already making decisions and issuing statements to world leaders that radically depart from American foreign policy, all to the benefit of his family’s corporate empire. Because of this, the next president of the United States is already vulnerable to undue influence by other nations, including through bribery and even blackmail. […] President-elect Trump has a monumental choice before him: He can, as he promised during the campaign, protect the sanctity of the presidency—which he can do only by selling his company. Or he can remain corrupted by the conflicts between his country’s future and his family’s fortune.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 11 november 2016 och den 23 december 2016.

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Val 2016 | Newsweek fortsätter sin granskning av Donald Trump. Här skriver Kurt Eichenwald bland annat om hans affärer i Fidel Castros Kuba.

newsweek-14-okt-2016

The Havana Hustle”:

Documents show that the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval. But the company did not spend the money directly. Instead, with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trump’s company—then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts—how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.

newsweek-28-okt-4-nov-2016

Donald the Destroyer”:

Donald Trump loves to put his name on buildings, but there are no hospital wings named for him. No museums have a piece of artwork with a plaque reading “A Gift of Donald J. Trump.” No buildings at the University of Pennsylvania bear his name, even though he constantly cites his graduation from its Wharton School as a sign of his intelligence. (Contrary to Trump’s suggestion, he attended the school for only two years as an undergraduate and did not obtain a degree from Wharton’s far more prestigious graduate business program.)

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 14 oktober och den 28 oktober-11 november 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Kurt Eichenwald på tidskriften Newsweek tycks vara specialiserad på att granska Donald Trumps affärsverksamhet. Här nedan följer två längre artiklar.

newsweek-2-sep-2016

The Art of the Bad Deal”:

Lost contracts, bankruptcies, defaults, deceptions and indifference to investors—Trump’s business career is a long, long list of such troubles, according to regulatory, corporate and court records, as well as sworn testimony and government investigative reports. Call it the art of the bad deal, one created by the arrogance and recklessness of a businessman whose main talent is self-promotion.

newsweek-23-sep-2016

The Man Who Sold the World”:

Much of the public believes Trump is a hugely successful developer, a television personality and a failed casino operator. But his primary business deals for almost a decade have been a quite different endeavor. The GOP nominee is essentially a licensor who leverages his celebrity into streams of cash from partners from all over the world. The business model for Trump’s company started to change around 2007, after he became the star of NBC’s The Apprentice, which boosted his national and international fame. Rather than constructing Trump’s own hotels, office towers and other buildings, much of his business involved striking deals with overseas developers who pay his company for the right to slap his name on their buildings. (The last building constructed by Trump with his name on it is the Trump-SoHo hotel and condominium project, completed in 2007.)

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 12 september 2016 och den 23 september 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Amatörism genomsyrar hela Donald Trumps valkampanj. Ett tecken på detta är alla oerfarna personer han omger sig med.

the-new-yorker

Främst i raden är hans egen familj. Men i realiteten lyssnar han bara på sig själv. Oavsett vilket har de alla lika lite erfarenhet av politiska valkampanjer.

James Carville, Bill Clintons gamla kampanjstrateg, påstår t.o.m. att man inte ens kan kalla det för en valkampanj i traditionell bemärkelse. Inte konstigt att Team Trump har problem.

Lizzie Widdicombe skriver i The New Yorker följande:

The modern Presidential campaign may be the world’s most sophisticated pop-up operation, a billion-dollar multilayered organization that, if it hopes to succeed, must be as technologically sophisticated and responsive as any Silicon Valley unicorn. A campaign includes armies of social-media worker bees, data crunchers, messaging experts, policy advisers, media surrogates, fund-raising chiefs, oppo-research teams, volunteers, and, above all, coolheaded managers, who can formulate a coherent position on Chinese trade policy and a plan for how to get out the vote in Hillsborough County in a lightning storm.

Then, there is the Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, which has followed this formula about as closely as the candidate follows the South Beach Diet. The Republican Party establishment has, if reluctantly, helped sketch the outlines of an organization. The campaign raised eighty million dollars in July; some of Trump’s friends and donors have been tapped to form a team of economic advisers, who include numerous billionaires and men named Steve. But Trump’s “brain trust” is largely the black box of Donald Trump’s real and existing brain.

Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has hinted at the limitations of his own position. “The candidate is in control of his campaign,” Manafort told Fox News recently. “And I’m in control of doing the things that he wants me to do in the campaign.” To Trump’s fans, this is part of his appeal. Politicians can resemble automatons, mouthing the directives of some offstage Svengali. Trump tweets what he wants to tweet. “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain,” he has said. Preparation is overrated. Clinton staffers spent months detailing the rhetoric and the attacks that were part of this summer’s Democratic National Convention. Trump said, of the Republican version, “I didn’t produce our show—I just showed up for the final speech on Thursday.”

“The Trump campaign is not a bad campaign,” James Carville, who managed Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, told me. “It’s not a messed-up campaign. It’s not a dysfunctional campaign. There is no campaign.” Carville continued, “Everybody that’s done this for a living and got paid to do it is, like, ‘Oh, my gosh, suppose this works. We’re all rendered useless.’ He will have destroyed an entire profession.”

But the Trump campaign is not without secondary figures. Rather than a Karl Rove or a David Axelrod, his true inner circle seems to be his family, especially his adult children. It’s nothing new for the children of Presidential candidates to lend a hand. George W. and Jeb Bush worked alongside Lee Atwater in their father’s 1988 campaign. Al Gore’s daughters were well-spoken surrogates. The five Romney boys—those square-jawed Mittlets—gave strategic advice to their father. But it’s different with Trump, because, as the political historian Julian Zelizer observed recently, the Trump kids “seem at points to be the only people in the room.”

Tidskriftsomslag: The New Yorker den 22 augusti 2016. Bilden på omslaget är Barry Blitts ”Donald’s Rainy Days”.

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VAL 2016 | Tror Donald Trump på vad han själv säger? Eller är det bara ett sätt att skilja ut sig från mängden och få gratis uppmärksamhet?

The Hollywood Reporter from 10 June 2016

Frågorna blir aldrig riktigt besvarade när Michael Wolff träffade Trump för The Hollywood Reporter.

Men rubriken på hans artikel – ”Politics’ ‘Dark Heart’ Is Having the Best Time Anyone’s Ever Had” – säger en ungefär var Wollf landar i sin bedömning av Trump.

”The biggest thing is the theme. It’s what he always wants to come back to. Bigness is unavoidable and inevitable. Bigness always wins”, skriver Wollf.

Det skulle förklara varför Trump alltid pratat om sig själv. Ju mer vi pratat om honom ju mindre utrymme blir det för Hillary Clinton.

Detta kan möjligtvis kallas en valstrategi. Men en framgångsrik sådan? Knappast. Väljarna röstar inte på politiker bara för att de är fascinerade av dem.

If there’s any pattern to his conversation, it’s that he’s vague on all subjects outside himself, his campaign and the media. Everything else is mere distraction.

[…]

I broach his problems with women and Hispanics and the common wisdom that he’ll have to do at least as well with these groups as Mitt Romney did in 2012. The ”pivot” is the word more politico pros are using to refer to his expected turn to the center. ”Unless,” I offer, ”you think you can remake the electoral math.” He says he absolutely can. So no pivot. ”It’ll be different math than they’ve ever seen.” He is, he says, bigger than anything anyone has ever seen. ”I have a much bigger base than Romney. Romney was a stiff!” And he’ll be bigger with the people he’s bigger with, but also he’ll be bigger with women and Hispanics and blacks, too. He believes, no matter what positions he holds or slurs he has made, that he is irresistible.

[…]

It is hard not to feel that Trump understands himself, and that we’re all in on this kind of spectacular joke. His shamelessness is just so … shameless. So how much, I ask — quite thinking he will get the nuance here — is the Trump brand based on exaggeration? He responds, with perfect literalness, none at all. I try again. He must understand. How could he not? ”You’ve talked about negotiation, which is about compromise and about establishing positions that you can walk back from. How much about being a successful person involves … well, bullshitting? How much of success is playing games?”

If he does understand, he’s definitely not taking this bait. I try again: ”How much are you a salesman?”

Salesman, in the Trump worldview, is hardly a bad word, and he is quite willing to accept it, although, curiously, he doesn’t want to be thought of that way when it comes to real estate. But as a politician, he’s OK as a salesman.

In this, he sees himself — and becomes almost eloquent in talking about himself — as a sort of performer and voter whisperer. He is, he takes obvious pride in saying, the only politician who doesn’t regularly use a teleprompter. With a prompter, he says, you can’t work the crowd. You can’t feel it. ”You got to look at them in the eye. Have you ever seen me speak in front of a large group of people? Have you ever watched?” He reflects on the lack of self-consciousness that’s necessary to make spontaneous utterances before a crowd. He cites a well-known actor (whose name he asks me not to use, ”I don’t want to hurt anybody”), who had wanted to run for office but, without a script, was a blithering idiot. Trump was never fed lines on The Apprentice, he says. It was all him: ”You have to have a natural ability.”

[…]

The anti-Christ Trump, the Trump of bizarre, outre, impractical and reactionary policies that most reasonable people yet believe will lead to an astounding defeat in November, is really hard to summon from Trump in person. He deflects that person, or, even, dissembles about what that person might have said (as much, he dissembles for conservatives about what the more liberal Trump might have said), and is impatient that anyone might want to focus on that version of Trump. It does then feel that the policies, such as they are, and the slurs, are not him. They are just a means to the end — to the phenomenon. To the center of attention. The biggest thing that has ever happened in politics. In America. The biggest thing is the theme. It’s what he always wants to come back to. Bigness is unavoidable and inevitable. Bigness always wins.

Läs mer: ”3 key ways Donald Trump’s Hollywood Reporter interview explains his Campaign” på Vox.com.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Hollywood Reporter den 10 juni 2016.

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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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