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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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VAL 2016 | En av de roligare konsekvenserna av Donald Trumps valkampanj var den moralpanik som följde på valsegern.

time-augusti-22-2016

(The Reckoning: ”Donald Trump’s sinking polls, unending attacks and public blunders have GOP reconsidering its strategy for November”)

Och hela ”etablissemanget” – politiska, media, kulturella – hängde villigt på både här och over there. ”En ond och sjuk människa ska leda världens mäktigaste nation. Detta är inte bra för världen!”, skrev t.ex. riksdagskvinnan Hillevi Larsson (S) på Twitter.

time-october-2016

(Inside Donald Trump’s Meltdown: ”Donald Trump’s sinking polls, unending attacks and public blunders have the GOP reconsidering its strategy for November”)

Två andra exempel: Skoladministratörer i Boston erbjöd ”råd och stöd” till ungdomar som oroade sig över Trump medan Olle Wästberg, ”USA-kännare” och tidigare generalkonsul i New York, påstod att Trumps seger var värre för Sverige än för amerikanarna.

new-york-october-31-november-13-2016

(Final Days: ”As the unmanageable, unrepentant, and unprecedented candidate careens to the finish line, Donald Trump’s advisers try to figure out how to save themselves – and the movement he started.”)

Men speciellt pinsamt var valresultatet för opinionsinstituten och den politiska journalistiken som ”ended up with egg on their faces”.

I detta inlägg är tre favoriter från Time och New York som borde förfölja redaktörerna i sömnen framöver. Time t.o.m. följde upp sitt omslag med den alltmer smältande Trump i augusti med ett ”total meltdown” omslag i november. Så säker framstod Hillary Clintons valseger vid det laget.

För den som redan känner sig nostalgiska kan klicka på länkarna för att läsa hur fel alla hade.

Tidskriftsomslag: Time den 22 augusti (amerikanska editionen) och den 24 oktober 2016 samt New York den 31 oktober-13 november 2016.

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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 | 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 | Här är två omslag från The New Yorker som ganska väl sammanfattar hur media generellt har framställt Hillary Clinton och Donald Trump.

The New Yorker - May 23, 2016

Här är Trump (“Grand Illusion” av Barry Blitt) kandidaten som ingen tog på allvar.

Men Trump lyckades besegra alla motkandidater och samtidigt knäcka det gamla gardet i det republikanska partiet. Och det med politiska idéer som ingen uppfattar som vare sig seriösa eller genomförbara.

Efter Trump blir inget sig likt igen för Abraham Lincolns och Ronald Reagans gamla parti.

The New Yorker - June 20, 2016

Och här är Hillary Clinton (“Ready for a Fight” av Barry Blitt) som kandidaten som tvingades slåss hela vägen till partikonventet. Vägen blev jobbigare än väntat. Men leendet visar att det var mödan värt.

Nomineringen har varit säkrad ett tag nu även om hon aldrig lyckades slå knockout på Bernie Sanders. Mot honom får hon nöja sig med poängseger. Nästa fight: Vita huset.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New Yorker den 23 maj respektive 20 juni 2016.

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EKONOMI | President Barack Obama har varit bättre för USA:s ekonomin än vad företagen vill erkänna.

bloomberg-businessweek-27 June-July 3 2016

När Obama intervjuades av ett team från tidskriften Bloomberg Businessweek lyckades han även få in en giftig kommentar om att Donald Trump inte uppfattas som speciellt framgångsrik bland många affärsmän.

The stock market has tripled. Profits are very high. And yet you still have this label of being an anti-business figure. How do you look at that?

Well, first of all, toward the end of my second term, I think among the business community, there’s maybe a greater acknowledgment, a less grudging acknowledgment, that we steered through the worst financial and economic crisis in our lifetimes successfully—certainly more successfully than many of our peers. We’re now 10 percent above the GDP pre-crisis. In Europe, for example, they’re just now getting back to even.

As you mentioned, the stock market, obviously, has come roaring back. But I think more relevant for ordinary folks, we’ve cut the unemployment rate in half. We’ve been able to have the longest [stretch of] consecutive months of private-sector job growth in our history. Biggest job growth since the ’90s in manufacturing. The auto industry has come roaring back and is selling more cars than ever. We’ve doubled the production of clean energy. Our production of traditional fossil fuels has exceeded all expectations. We’ve been able to grow the economy, reduce unemployment, and cut the deficit by around three-quarters, measured as a percent of GDP. So it’s hard to argue with the facts.

I think where the business community has traditionally voiced complaints about my administration is in the regulatory sector. And yet, if you look at the results—Dodd-Frank being a good example—it is indisputable that our banking system and our financial sector are safer and more stable than when I came into office. Now, what’s also true is that banking profits are not as outsized as they were, but I don’t consider that a bad thing, and I think most Americans don’t either. They’re still making a profit, it’s just that there is a froth that’s been eliminated, and that’s good over the long term for the financial sector.

[…]

We’re going to have a global entrepreneurship summit—the last one of a series that we began when I first came into office. And the enthusiasm from around the world about these summits speaks to the advantage that we continue to have here in the United States. It’s this notion that if you get a good idea, and you organize some people to support you, and you learn from your mistakes, you can create something entirely new.

You can become Bill Gates.

You can become Bill Gates. Or, in some cases, you can electrify a village. You can save water in a desert. That’s the thing about the U.S. economy that continues to be unique. And it’s tied to capitalism and markets, but it’s also tied to a faith in science and reason and a mindset that says there’s always something new to discover, and we don’t know everything, and we’re going to try new things, and we’re pragmatic. And if we ever lose that, then we will have lost what has made us an incredible force for good in the world. If we sustain it, then we can maintain the kind of progress that has been made. I always tell interns and young people who I talk to that as tough as things seem right now, do not believe people when they tell you they wish they could go back to the good old days. Because the good old days aren’t—I’m now old enough where I remember some of those good old days.

Does it annoy you, then, that the guy who wants to go back and is America’s most successful businessman, at least by his own reckoning, is Donald Trump?

Well, I—there’s no successful businessman in America who actually thinks the most successful businessman in the country is Donald Trump. I know those guys, and so do you, and I guarantee you, that’s not their view.

Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek, 27 juni-3 july 2016.

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