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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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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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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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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 | Var finns de framgångsrika demokratiska och socialistiska politiska konsulterna i amerikansk politik?

Bernie Sanders

Den retoriska frågan ställde Bernie Sanders när han intervjuades i Rolling Stone av Tim Dickinson.

Frågan var intressant med tanke på att Sanders valkampanj har ett överskott av entusiasm, inte minst från sina unga gräsrötter men ett underskott av professionella medarbetare.

Team Sanders har varit duktiga på att två saker: samla in stora mängder pengar från vanligt folk och locka stora folkmassor till sina valmöten.

Mindre framgångsrika har man varit när det gäller att stå emot attackerna från Hillary Clintons professionella medarbetare med stor erfarenhet från tidigare valrörelser.

Men en annan förklaring till att Sanders hamnat på efterkälken är att han säkerligen inte förväntade sig få en sådan positiv respons bland de demokratiska väljarna.

Även Sanders trodde nog att det skulle bli en promenadseger för Clinton. Sanders hoppades nog bara på att kunna påverka Clinton och partiets valplattform i en mer positiv riktning.

On a campaign, a candidate gets so much advice. Who’s been the lodestar – the person or people that you return to for guidance?

The difficulty that we have had in this campaign is that if you have the politics of somebody like a Hillary Clinton, you can bring together a team with a whole lot of political experience, people who have been part of Bill Clinton’s campaigns or administration, or Al Gore’s efforts, pollsters or media people or great surrogates. That is what the establishment Democratic Party has – hundreds of very knowledgeable people. Sophisticated people. I know many of them. I’ve been in the rooms during Obama’s campaigns. I have looked at the chart of literally the 39 different ways Obama can win. ”If you lose Wisconsin but you win New Je rsey and bup, bup, bup…”

But there aren’t a whole lot of people who understand the day-to-day mechanics of running a presidential campaign, who have history running a campaign for a candidate like myself. You tell me: Where are the democratic-socialist political consultants who have been involved in successful campaigns in recent history? There aren’t any. So we’ve had to put together our own campaign by the seat of our pants. And that’s been hard. We started this campaign with a handful of people from Vermont, people I’ve known for 20 or 30 years. And it’s grown. We’ve used people who have experience in the Democratic Party – the best that we can find. And we have political activists involved. We’ve met some great people over the campaign. A lot of great surrogates, from Nina Turner to Chuy Garcia to Killer Mike to Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon – great people from different walks of life who gravitated into the campaign.

Bild: Talking Union.

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SWEXIT | Den som följde den svenska debatten kring Brexit lade säkert märke till att Jonas Sjöstedt syntes mer än vanligt i media.

Jonas Sjöstedt

Men vad ville Sjöstedt med alla sina framträdanden? Det är inte säkert att någon riktigt uppfattade något tydligt budskap.

Vänsterpartiet verkar inte riktigt veta vilken fot man skall stå på när det gäller frågan om en eventuell svensk folkomröstning om EU-medlemskapet.

Men läser man mellan raderna kan man ana att partiet skulle välkomna en folkomröstning. Men tydligen vågar man inte säga detta rent ut. Därav deras minst sagt vaga budskap.

Troligtvis är man rädd att äventyra Vänsterpartiets strategi att alltid försöka framstå som ”statsmannamässig”. Detta kräver att man inte uppfattas som ett ytterlighetsparti i viktiga frågor.

När Vänsterpartiet inte fick ingå i den rödgröna koalitionen var Sjöstedts upprördhet påtaglig. Men istället för att dra maximal nytta av sin oppositionsroll har partiet valt att fortsätta på den inslagna vägen.

En annan orsak till att man inte vågar ta ordet folkomröstning i sin mun är att man då skulle hamna på samma sida som Sverigedemokraterna i frågan. Därav deras något krystade resonemang kring Brexit och dess konsekvenser för Sverige.

Så här lät t.ex. Sjöstedt i Svenska Dagbladet inför folkomröstningen i Storbritannien:

Den brittiska kritiken mot EU har flera ansikten. Kritik mot EU-medlemskapet finns från både höger och vänster. Men en påfallande högljudd del av den brittiska EU-kritiken präglas av nationalism, traditionell högerpolitik och ibland ren främlingsfientlighet. Det är en form av EU-kritik som vi känner oss främmande inför. Vi kommer därför inte att stödja någon sådan brittisk nej-kampanj. Vår EU-kritik handlar om folkstyre, självbestämmanderätt och demokrati.

[…]

Om Storbritannien väljer att lämna EU bör de erbjudas ett nära samarbete med ett nytt avtal med EU. Ett avtal som kan ersätta dagens EES-avtal och i vilket även Norge kan ingå. Ett sådant avtal ska garantera fri varuhandel utan tullar och personers fria rörlighet. Samtidigt måste maktförhållandena i ett sådant avtal ändras så att de inte ensidigt bygger på att samtliga länder ska tillämpa EU-rätten. För att vara hållbart på sikt bör avtalet vara ett avtal mellan jämbördiga parter när gemensamma regler utformas.

Ett sådant nytt avtal skulle göra ett brittiskt utträde ur EU mindre dramatiskt och kunna vara grunden för ett gott framtida samarbete mellan våra länder. Ett brittiskt utträde ur EU skulle säkerligen starta en debatt om fortsatt EU-medlemskap i Sverige och andra EU-länder. Ett bra samarbetsavtal skulle vara ett bra alternativ om/när Sverige eller andra länder i framtiden väljer att lämna EU.

Detta låter som Sjöstedt både vill ha kakan och äta den.

Rivalen Kommunistiska Partiet har satt fingret på Vänsterpartiets ömma punkt. Så här skrev Jenny Tedjeza, chefredaktören på partitidningen Proletären, om partiets inställning:

Vänsterpartiet har, för att behålla sin parlamentariska ställning, stegvis tonat ner kravet på ett EU-utträde och därmed lämnat öppet fält för högerpopulistiska och nationalistiska strömningar att ta över. För att sedan använda den yttersta högerns EU-motstånd som en förevändning för att i praktiken helt överge kravet på utträde.

När det nu visar sig att Storbritannien är EU-kedjans svagaste länk och Brexit-anhängarna ser ut att kunna vinna torsdagens folkomröstning vägrar därför Vänsterpartiet och Jonas Sjöstedt att ta ställning, just med hänvisning till de nationalistiska, främlingsfientliga och konservativa elementen i Brexit-kampanjen.

Istället bekänner sig Vänsterpartiet idag till den diffusa EU-kritik som bygger på föreställningen att unionen kan göras mer progressiv inifrån.

Klockrent.

Sjöstedt skulle aldrig erkänna det men Vänsterpartiets strategi hamnar bra nära premiärminister David Camerons inför folkomröstningen.

Så här skrev tidskriften The Spectator i en kritisk ledare efter Brexitvalet:

His strategy of holding a renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership with the EU, followed by an in-out referendum, was logical.

[…]

The fault with Cameron’s strategy is that it was based on a false premise: that the EU is open to reform. It is not and never will be. The louder the voices for reform, the more its unelected leaders retreat into their siege positions. The threat of a British referendum was supposed to jolt them into the realisation that their dream of a pan-European pseudo-state is less and less shared by the public. But instead of sending scouts to hear what the people wanted, they stayed up on the ramparts and boiled the oil ready to pour on the mob.

Detta vet även Jonas Sjöstedt. Trots detta har han valt att låta mer som David Cameron än EU-motståndarna på den svenska vänsterkanten, inklusive de som finns inom det egna partiet.

Expressen ställde en direkt fråga till honom efter valet i Storbritannien. Sjöstedts lät återigen som den konservative premiärministern innan han tvingades gå med på en folkomröstning om EU.

– Det kan komma ett läge då vi tar upp frågan om folkomröstning om ett utträde i Sverige, säger han.

[…]

Vänsterpartiet var det enda av riksdagspartierna som inte ville ta ställning inför omröstningen. När beskedet om brexit kom på midsommaraftons morgon meddelade V-ledaren att han vill omförhandla det svenska medlemskapet.

Men du sträcker dig inte så långt som att du vill ha ett swexit?

– Det kan komma ett läge då vi tar upp frågan om folkomröstning om ett utträde i Sverige. Men då vill vi först veta vad som är förutsättningarna för ett omförhandlat medlemskap.

Detta är tydligen Vänsterpartiets försök att triangulera. Men vaghet i stora avgörande frågor brukar inte belönas av väljarna. Vi får se om det lyckas för Sjöstedt.

Bild: Anna-Karin Nilsson / Anna-Karin Nilsson Expressen.

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