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DIALOG Internet och social media är inga förutsättningar för förolämpningar och halvsanningar i dialogen mellan politiker eller medborgare.

pub

Detta skriver Mark Hailwood, författare till Alehouses and Good Fellowship in Early Modern England, i januarinumret av History Today.

Senaste valrörelsen i USA må ha varit unik vad gäller den negativa tonen mellan Donald Trump och Hillary Clinton men var knappast speciellt unik i ett längre historiskt perspektiv.

Hailwood, verksam vid universitetet i Exeter, skriver t.ex. så här om pubarna i 1600-talets England:

Political debate is eternally fractious. In what has been a politically tumultuous period it has become an increasingly common assertion that we are witnessing a rapid deterioration in the decorum of public and political debate.

[…]

It is self-evident, though, that digital technology is not a prerequisite for fractious interpersonal political exchanges. Division and hostility were, for example, rife in the face-to-face world of 17th-century political discussion.

[…]

The growth of political awareness and discussion in 17th-century England – what we now call ‘public opinion’ – has been associated with the rise of the coffeehouse from the 1650s onwards, a place where urbanites could go to read that emerging product, the newspaper, and to engage in caffeinated chatter over the state of the nation in a civilised and rational spirit. But long before the coffeehouse came onto the scene both town and country dwellers of all classes had used another site of liquid refreshment as a place to gather and debate politics: the pub.

Commonly known as the alehouse, the local pub had enjoyed a period of growing popularity in the century between 1550 and 1650, with numbers more than doubling from around 25,000 to 55,000 – or one alehouse for every 90 inhabitants of England. Almost every village would have had at least one such establishment and part of its appeal was the opportunity to engage your neighbours in political debate.

[…]

A difference of opinion was likely to descend into the trading of insults, blows, drinks thrown in the face – or even with being hauled before the authorities for a capital offence. The anonymity and physical distance provided by the computer screen are neither necessary nor sufficient for the development of bitter and fractious cultures of everyday political discussion to emerge in times of political turmoil.

Bild: “Woodcut of a tavern scene, English, 17th century”, History Today.

Annonser

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.

Gott Nytt År!

happy-new-year

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.

ann-miller

Ovan önskar skådespelerskan Ann Miller oss alla en riktigt God Jul ända från 40-talet.

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.

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.