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ANALYS | Det som en evighet sedan. Trots detta är ganska intressant att läsa vad som skrevs om presidentvalet innan valresultatet presenterades.

henry-payne

En analys – tagit på måfå – var Johan Anderbergs ”En riktig politiker” i Fokus. Artikeln handlade om Hillary Clinton självklara väg mot Vita huset.

Clinton såg så självklar ut att det inte ens kändes meningsfullt att följa rapporteringen från valkampanjen. Frågan vara bara hur stor segern skulle bli.

Så problemet var inte att Anderbergs artikel var dålig. Tvärt om. Den var mycket bra och insiktsfull…om det nu inte hade varit för att analysen skulle visa sig vara helt fel.

Hon är bara några veckor från att ta över presidentmakten.

Hon är den första kvinna som någonsin ens nominerats som presidentkandidat för de två största partierna.

Hon har en ledning som bara blir större och större.

Hon kommer troligen att få fler röster än alla som någonsin ställt upp i ett presidentval i den amerikanska republikens historia.

Ändå handlar alla berättelser om Hillary Clinton om en enda sak:

Hur dålig hon är.

Hon uttrycker sig klumpigt, har för dålig hälsa, döljer saker i onödan, är för gammal, har haft en privat mejlserver, lyckades inte skaka av sig gubbsocialisten Bernie Sanders i primärvalet.

Ändå har hon klättrat hela vägen hit.

Om inget oförutsett händer blir hon snart världens mäktigaste person.

[…]

Ezra Klein, chefredaktör på Vox, beskriver hennes strategi som ett »kvinnligt« ledarskap. Det handlar inte om stora tal, eller om applåder från stora åskådarmassor. I stället är det ett outtröttligt koalitionsbyggande som ytterst få klarar av.

Ta bara spelet inför primärvalet. I ett parti som knappt är ett parti, utan mer en regnbågspakt mellan svarta, latinos, LGBT-grupper, kvinnorörelser, fackföreningar och andra intressegrupper är det klart att det är viktigare att bygga allianser än att stå och hålla låda inför politiskt engagerade studenter.

”Det är dags att erkänna”, skriver Ezra Klein, ”att Hillary Clinton är en exceptionellt talangfull politiker”.

[…]

I Martin Gelins bok »Den längsta kampen« intervjuas forskaren Michael Kimmel. Han beskriver Republikanernas debatter som en tävling i vem som är den starkaste mannen.

[…]

Så på ena sidan står nu en politiker som har vunnit nomineringen genom en manlighetstävling.

På den andra sidan står en politiker som vunnit nomineringen genom vad som beskrivs som ett ”kvinnligt” ledarskap.

[…]

Men kanske handlar det inte alls om manligt och kvinnligt. För den stora kampen mellan Trump och Clinton går att sammanfatta i en enda fråga:

Hur arga är väljarna?

Och kanske är de inte så arga som man tror.

Hur fel vi hade.

Väljarna visade sig snarare mer ”pissed” än vad någon expert vågat tro. ”’C’est la vie’, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell”, som Chuck Berry uttryckte det.

Bild: Teckning av Henry Payne.

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STRATEGI | Hillary Clinton förlorade när hon flyttade fokus från ekonomin till att istället försöka få valet att handla om Donald Trumps moral och karaktär.

time

Detta är lite av en historisk ironi. James Carville, politiska rådgivare till Bill Clinton inför valet 1992, myntade begreppet ”It’s the economy, Stupid!” för att hans kampanjstab inte skulle lockas avvika från den fråga som man ansåg som absolut central för en valseger.

Om valanalysen är korrekt måste detta vara speciellt enerverande för både Bill, Hillary och demokraterna.

Michael Scherer skriver i Time:

For nearly 17 months on the campaign trail, Trump did what no American politician had attempted in a generation, with defiant flair. Instead of painting a bright vision for a unified future, he magnified the divisions of the present, inspiring new levels of anger and fear within his country. Whatever you think of the man, this much is undeniable: he uncovered an opportunity others didn’t believe existed, the last, greatest deal for a 21st century salesman. The national press, the late-night comics, the elected leaders, the donors, the corporate chiefs and a sitting President who prematurely dropped his mic—they all believed he was just taking the country for a ride.

Now it’s difficult to count all the ways Trump remade the game: the huckster came off more real than the scripted political pros. The cable-news addict made pollsters look like chumps. The fabulist out-shouted journalists fighting to separate fact from falsehood. The demagogue won more Latino and black votes than the 2012 Republican nominee.

Trump found a way to woo white evangelicals by historic margins, even winning those who attend religious services every week. Despite boasting on video of sexually assaulting women, he still found a way to win white females by 9 points. As a champion of federal entitlements for the poor, tariffs on China and health care “for everybody,” he dominated among self-described conservatives. In a country that seemed to be bending toward its demographic future, with many straining to finally step outside the darker cycles of history, he proved that tribal instincts never die, that in times of economic strife and breakneck social change, a charismatic leader could still find the enemy within and rally the masses to his side. In the weeks after his victory, hundreds of incidents of harassment, many using his name—against women, Muslims, immigrants and racial minorities—were reported across the country.

The starting point for his success, which can be measured with just tens of thousands of votes, was the most obvious recipe in politics. He identified the central issue motivating the American electorate and then convinced a plurality of the voters in the states that mattered that he was the best person to bring change. “The greatest jobs theft in the history of the world” was his cause, “I alone can fix it” his unlikely selling point, “great again” his rallying cry.

[…]

His was not a campaign about the effects of tariffs on the price of batteries or basketball shoes. He spoke only of winning and losing, us and them, the strong and the weak. Trump is a student of the tabloids, a master of television. He had moonlighted as a professional wrestler. He knew how to win the crowd. First he needed to define the bad guys. Then he needed to knock them over.

[…]

History will record that Clinton foresaw the economic forces that allowed Trump to win. What she and her team never fully understood was the depth of the populism Trump was peddling, the idea that the elites were arrayed against regular people, and that he, the great man, the strong man, the offensive man, the disruptive man, the entertaining man, could remake the physics of an election.

“You cannot underestimate the role of the backlash against political correctness—the us vs. the elite,” explains Kellyanne Conway, who worked as Trump’s final campaign manager. His previous campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, put it somewhat more delicately: “We always felt comfortable that when people were criticizing him for being so outspoken, the American voters were hearing him too.”

In June 2015, Clinton’s pollster Joel Benenson laid out the state of the country in a private memo to senior staff that was later released to the public by WikiLeaks. The picture of voters was much the same as the one he had described to Obama in 2008 and 2012. “When they look to the future, they see growing obstacles, but nobody having their back,” Benenson wrote. “They can’t keep up; they work hard but can’t move ahead.” The top priority he listed for voters was “protecting American jobs here at home.”

That message anchored the launch of Clinton’s campaign, and it was woven through her three debate performances. But in the closing weeks, she shifted to something else. No presidential candidate in American history had done or said so many outlandish and offensive things as Trump. […] “His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous,” Clinton argued.

[…]

For a Clinton campaign aiming to re-create Obama’s winning coalitions, all of this proved too large a target to pass up. Clinton had proved to be a subpar campaigner, so with the FBI restarting and reclosing a criminal investigation into her email habits, her closing message focused on a moral argument about Trump’s character. “Our core values are being tested in this election,” she said in Philadelphia, the night before the election. “We know enough about my opponent. We know who he is. The real question for us is what kind of country we want to be.”

The strategy worked, in a way. Clinton got about 2.5 million more votes than Trump, and on Election Day, more than 6 in 10 voters told exit pollsters that Trump lacked the temperament for the job of President. But the strategy also placed Clinton too far away from the central issue in the nation: the steady decline of the American standard of living. She lost the places that mattered most. “There’s a difference for voters between what offends you and what affects you,” Conway helpfully explained after it was over.

Stanley Greenberg, the opinion-research guru for Bill Clinton in 1992, put out a poll around Election Day and found clear evidence that Clinton’s decision to divert her message from the economy in the final weeks cost her the decisive vote in the Rust Belt. “The data does not support the idea that the white working class was inevitably lost,” Greenberg wrote, “until the Clinton campaign stopped talking about economic change and asked people to vote for unity, temperament and experience, and to continue on President Obama’s progress.” Interestingly, Greenberg said turnout among young, minority and unmarried female voters also decreased when the economic message Obama had used fell away.

Tidskriftsomslag: Time, december 19, 2016.

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barack-obama

I love the stillness and the mystery of the day or two before elections, because in a lot of ways everything goes radio-silent. Nobody at that point is really listening to an argument. The infrastructure is set. And now it’s this weird alchemy that’s taking place in the country, and you just have to kind of wait and see how it works. But there’s always this mystery to it, this possibility.

Which, in some ways, is powerful and affirming of the humanity of democracy, right? […] It’s not mechanical. It’s not a formula. It’s not set. It’s not fixed. There is always the possibility of surprise. And in that sense it’s a little bit like sports. It doesn’t matter what the odds are. Weird stuff happens. And that makes it scary if you’re rooting for one team or the other, but that’s the drama of it.

Från ”It happened here” av David Remnick i The New Yorker, november 2016.

Bild: Pari Dukovic för The New Yorker.

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STRATEGI | Det är nästan omöjligt att inte då och då ägna sig åt sällskapsspelet ”Tänk om…” när det gäller politik och valrörelser.

david-cameron

Om förlorarna bara hade gjort a, b, c så skulle valresultatet blivit helt annorlunda.

Men ofta är dessa kontrafaktiska resonemang näst intill meningslösa. En som dock lyckats ganska bra när det gäller folkomröstningen i Storbritannien är Tim Shipman.

Shipman är politisk redaktör på The Sunday Times och författare till All Out War: How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class.

I The Spectator har han listat sju händelser och strategiska vägval som skulle kunnat ge Vote Remain segern och därmed garanterat premiärminister David Camerons fortsatt regeringsinnehav.

1 ”A proper ‘deal’ with Brussels.”

2 ”A Yes/No referendum, not a Leave/Remain.”

3 ”Losing Dominic Cummings as head of Vote Leave.”

4 ”Michael Gove backing Cameron — and Remain.”

5 ”Vote Leave not being recognised as the official Out Campaign.”

6 ”Accurate opinion polls.”

7 ”Cameron making a pre-referendum ‘vow’ on immigration.”

När det gäller punkt sex och sju skriver Shipman följande:

Korrekta opinionssiffror:

Throughout the campaign, Stronger In’s pollster Andrew Cooper told Cameron and Osborne that they would win the referendum and that economic risk would trump immigration with the key swing voters. Cooper’s surveys — indeed, those of most pollsters — dramatically underestimated the number of traditional non–voters who would turn out for Leave (nearly three million of them). Cooper’s polls convinced Tory high command that they should stick to the gameplan which won them the Scottish referendum and the general election — of using warnings about economic risk. Had they known they were behind throughout the campaign, Cameron’s team would have felt compelled to change tack. As one campaign aide put it: ‘Frankly, we’d have been better off having no polling at all, or going out into the street and randomly stopping every fourth person and asking them what they thought.’

Cameron och immigrationsfrågan:

Non-Tories in the Remain campaign, including Will Straw and Peter Mandelson, repeatedly demanded that Cameron make a Scotland-style ‘vow’ telling the public he had listened to their concerns on immigration. Cameron’s aides wanted him to say he would veto Turkish entry into the EU. Cameron felt any public comment on migrants helped Leave.

In a meeting 11 days before the referendum, Cameron ruled out making a speech or a vow. The following day his communications chief Sir Craig Oliver emailed Cameron to say he should do something. Cameron went into work the next morning resolved to act, but was again talked out of it. In a call with Merkel, he made no requests. ‘If you ran the perfect campaign on immigration you still wouldn’t have made the fence on the issue. But you would have been competing,’ a Remain campaign staffer said. ‘And we just didn’t compete.’

Bild: PA

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USA Nyhetsreportage från USA ger en lätt uppfattningen att redaktionerna nöjer sig med att kopiera ståndpunkter och nyheter från The Huffington Post.

cafe

Marcus Oscarsson på TV4 är en av de få som avviker från det förutsägbara. Med stor entusiasm analyserar och sprider han kunskap om amerikansk politik som ingen annan.

I slutet av förra året uttalande han sig så här i livsstilsmagasinet Café om Donald Trump, amerikansk politik och val:

– Jag tror att han skulle kunna bli en bättre president än vad många tror. Jag tror att han har lyckats dölja sina goda egenskaper väldigt väl. Det är lite typiskt Sverige, och USA också, att tycka att Trump är ”galen”. Man kan inte vinna ett primärval mot 16 motkandidater om man är galen eller dålig. Däremot måste han sluta med en del av de här clownerierna.

Han gör en kort paus.

– Vilken kandidat var det förresten folk sa så där om förut: ”Han kan inte vinna, han är en Hollywoodpajas?”

– Reagan, mumlar en prematur ingenjör.

– Exakt. USA:s nästan mest populära president genom tiderna.

– Vem tror du vinner då?

– Jag tror att det blir väldigt, väldigt spännande. Och jag tror att Trump har mycket större chanser än vad folk tror.

[…]

– När man väl kliver in i Ovala rummet och vet att man är USA:s president och har hela världen på sina axlar, då tror jag att man skärper till sig. Och så finns det ju kontrollinstanser: kongressen, högsta domstolen, Pentagon och ministrarna. Många är arga för det här med muren mot Mexiko, men de har ju ett allvarligt problem med enorm illegal invandring från Mexiko. Vi har själva gränskontroller i Skåne. Hade vi haft hela vår landsgräns mot Turkiet tror jag att det hade varit stort stöd för en mur i Sverige också. Man får ta på sig den andra personens glasögon. Dessutom har Trump en history av att typ vara demokrat. Jag tror fortfarande att han är mer för aborträtten än vad många andra republikaner är. Jag tror inte att han är så som han verkar. Jag tror att ganska få personer är ondskefulla. Men ska han som person vara en förebild för USA:s unga så har han helt klart en del att förbättra – plus att stora delar av hans politik är okänd, vilket skapar stor osäkerhet om hur han faktiskt skulle agera som president.

[…]

– Politiska kampanjer är väldigt spännande för det är nära kopplat till att förstå väljarna och förstå vanligt folk, säger Marcus. Och amerikanska politiker är bra på göra sig begripliga. De är mindre byråkratiska än svenska politiker – som ofta använder svåra ord som ”arbetsgivaravgifter”. Det är många som inte vet vad det betyder. Säg ”så att det blir billigare att anställa” i stället.

Om Trump blir en bra som president lär vi få se. Men ingen president blir lika bra som deras anhängare säger eller så urusla som deras belackare påstår.

Vad vi kan se nu är att Trump uppenbart förstod något om USA som de flesta analytiker och politiker – inklusive Hiillary Clinton – missade.

Med sin försiktighet lyckades Oscarssons framstå som mer balanserad (och mer ”rätt” i efterhand) är de flesta i Sverige.

Tidskriftsomslag: Café, november 2016

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VAL 2016 | Presidentvalet 2016 kommer att studeras för lång tid framöver. Och en av nyckelfigurerna i Trumps kampanjstab var Jared Kushner.

forbes-december-2016

Kushner är precis som Trump inom fastighetsbranschen. Och precis som Trump saknar han någon egentlig erfarenhet av politik innan han fick hand om valkampanjen.

Detta hindrade honom dock inte från att sätta ihop en framgångsrik valkampanj på nästan inga resurser alls – åtminstone i jämförelse med Hillary Clintons välfyllda kampanjkassa.

Steven Bertoni berättar om framgångsfaktorerna i en artikel för tidskriften Forbes.

No resources at the beginning, perhaps. Underfunded throughout, for sure. But by running the Trump campaign–notably, its secret data operation–like a Silicon Valley startup, Kushner eventually tipped the states that swung the election. And he did so in manner that will change the way future elections will be won and lost. President Obama had unprecedented success in targeting, organizing and motivating voters. But a lot has changed in eight years. Specifically social media. Clinton did borrow from Obama’s playbook but also leaned on traditional media. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, delved into message tailoring, sentiment manipulation and machine learning. The traditional campaign is dead, another victim of the unfiltered democracy of the Web–and Kushner, more than anyone not named Donald Trump, killed it.

[…]

In the early days of the scrappy campaign, it was all hands on deck, with Kushner helping research policy positions on tax and trade. But as the campaign gained steam, other players began using him as a trusted conduit to an erratic candidate. ”I helped facilitate a lot of relationships that wouldn’t have happened otherwise,” Kushner says, adding that people felt safe speaking with him, without risk of leaks. ”People were being told in Washington that if they did any work for the Trump campaign, they would never be able to work in Republican politics again. I hired a great tax-policy expert who joined under two conditions: We couldn’t tell anybody he worked for the campaign, and he was going to charge us double.”

[…]

It was the epitome of the super-light startup: to see how little they could spend and still get the results they wanted.

Kushner stepped up to turn it into an actual campaign operation. Soon he was assembling a speech and policy team, handling Trump’s schedule and managing the finances. ”Donald kept saying, ‘I don’t want people getting rich off the campaign, and I want to make sure we are watching every dollar just like we would do in business.'”

[…]

Among those in his close circle, Kushner was the natural pick to create a modern campaign. Yes, like Trump he’s primarily a real estate guy, but he had invested more broadly, including in media (in 2006 he bought the New York Observer) and digital commerce (he helped launch Cadre, an online marketplace for big real estate deals). More important, he knew the right crowd: co-investors in Cadre include Thiel and Alibaba’s Jack Ma–and Kushner’s younger brother, Josh, a formidable venture capitalist who also cofounded the $2.7 billion insurance unicorn Oscar Health.

”I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley, some of the best digital marketers in the world, and asked how you scale this stuff,” Kushner says. ”They gave me their subcontractors.”

At first Kushner dabbled, engaging in what amounted to a beta test using Trump merchandise. ”I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,” Kushner says. Synched with Trump’s blunt, simple messaging, it worked.

[…]

Kushner structured the operation with a focus on maximizing the return for every dollar spent. ”We played Moneyball, asking ourselves which states will get the best ROI for the electoral vote,” Kushner says. ”I asked, How can we get Trump’s message to that consumer for the least amount of cost?” FEC filings through mid-October indicate the Trump campaign spent roughly half as much as the Clinton campaign did.

Just as Trump’s unorthodox style allowed him to win the Republican nomination while spending far less than his more traditional opponents, Kushner’s lack of political experience became an advantage. Unschooled in traditional campaigning, he was able to look at the business of politics the way so many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have sized up other bloated industries.

Television and online advertising? Small and smaller. Twitter and Facebook would fuel the campaign, as key tools for not only spreading Trump’s message but also targeting potential supporters, scraping massive amounts of constituent data and sensing shifts in sentiment in real time.

”We weren’t afraid to make changes. We weren’t afraid to fail. We tried to do things very cheaply, very quickly. And if it wasn’t working, we would kill it quickly,” Kushner says. ”It meant making quick decisions, fixing things that were broken and scaling things that worked.”

This wasn’t a completely raw startup. Kushner’s crew was able to tap into the Republican National Committee’s data machine, and it hired targeting partners like Cambridge Analytica to map voter universes and identify which parts of the Trump platform mattered most: trade, immigration or change. Tools like Deep Root drove the scaled-back TV ad spending by identifying shows popular with specific voter blocks in specific regions–say, NCIS for anti-ObamaCare voters or The Walking Dead for people worried about immigration. Kushner built a custom geo-location tool that plotted the location density of about 20 voter types over a live Google Maps interface.

Soon the data operation dictated every campaign decision: travel, fundraising, advertising, rally locations–even the topics of the speeches. ”He put all the different pieces together,” Parscale says. ”And what’s funny is the outside world was so obsessed about this little piece or that, they didn’t pick up that it was all being orchestrated so well.”

For fundraising they turned to machine learning, installing digital marketing companies on a trading floor to make them compete for business. Ineffective ads were killed in minutes, while successful ones scaled. The campaign was sending more than 100,000 uniquely tweaked ads to targeted voters each day. In the end, the richest person ever elected president, whose fundraising effort was rightly ridiculed at the beginning of the year, raised more than $250 million in four months–mostly from small donors.

Läs också: ”Jared Kushner’s Trump Card” av Devin Leonard och ”Trump’s Data Team Saw a Different America—and They Were Right” av Joshua Green och Sasha Issenberg i Bloomberg Businessweek.

Tidskriftsomslag: Forbes, 20 december 2016.

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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.

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