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Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

VAL 2016 | Trots att Hillary Clinton befunnit sig i den politiska hetluften sedan Bil Clinton var president är det fortfarande svårt att sätta fingret på vad hon tror på.

The Spectator 21 May 2016

Och inte blir det bättre av att allt tenderar handla om Donald Trump i medias bevakning av valkampanjen. ”The Donald” suger upp allt syret i den politiska bevakningen av presidentvalet.

En indikation att det skulle behövas mer kritisk bevakning av Clinton och hennes politiska ställningstaganden är att opinionsundersökningar visar att hela 60 procent av amerikanerna anser att hon är opålitlig (”untrustworthy”) och ohederlig (”dishonest”).

Av de demokratiska och republikanska presidentkandidaterna är det bara Trump som lyckats uppvisa än värre förtroendesiffror.

Hillary kan tacka högre makter att hon skall möta just Trump i presidentvalet. I väljarleden verkar däremot mest sucka över att behöva välja mellan de två.

En som tittat på det politiska fenomenet Clinton är  Christopher Buckley som med stor humor skrivit om henne i The Spectator:

The difficulty with limning a template of a Hillary Clinton administration is that her existing template is unlimnable. That is, fuzzy. It’s not so much a template as a palimpsest. Mrs. Clinton’s policy positions are rarely fixed points. They have a tendency to get up and wander about, whether it’s the Iraq war vote, or the trade deal she was so in favor of until she was not, or the minimum wage of $12 or $15 an hour, or the Benghazi attack being the fault of that asshole in California streaming that totally inappropriate Islamophobic video, or the private emails with the nuclear launch codes and George Clooney’s recipe for penne arrabiata. If Mrs. Clinton had an escutcheon, its motto would be ‘Whatever’ (Quisquis?) You Brits all the know Latin, right?) The catalogue of Clinton’s policy books has more positions than the Kamasutra. As Groucho Marx said, ‘I’ve got principles. And if you do not like them, I’ve got others.’

This morphing and shapeshifting has allowed her to survive over the years. The catch is that, while getting away with stuff may sustain you in power, it won’t endear you to the general public. Mrs C has been front and center on the national stage now for nearly a quarter-century. Result: 60 per cent of Americans find her ‘untrustworthy’ and ‘dishonest’. A triumph. But she is hardly unique. Richard Nixon, aka ‘Tricky Dick’, was on the national stage for 20 years before he made it all the way. And that turned out fine.

[…]

Mrs. Clinton has her admirers, no arguments. But if that 60 per cent figure is accurate, she’s going to need more than her faithful hard core to put her over the top in November. Fortunately, many – indeed most – Republicans are resistant to the charms of the Mussolini of Fifth Avenue. Confronted with a Hobson’s Choice from Hell in November, they will hold their noses and vote for her. Or write in Ronald Reagan. And then get stinking drunk and go home and kick the dog.

Of the many difficulties facing Mrs. Clinton once she achieves her life’s ambition is a fact that even her most ardent devotees might admit to, if you promised them anonymity, voice-altering software and witness protection: she is, well, dull.  She is, to paraphrase Falstaff, not only dull herself, but the cause of dullness in others, especially the minions who warble on TV about how wonderful she is. Maybe she is wonderful, but hearing about her wonderfulness has’ve become, 24 years later, excruciating.

Mrs. Clinton is many things – intelligent, accomplished, hard-working, quisquis – but she is not herself interesting, except as a historical phenomenon – an American Evita, minus the charisma and the balcony. This is likely to make four years of her feel interminable. One year into her presidency, Stephen Hawking may have to revise his theory of time and posit that it is now slowing down. Or has stopped altogether.

[…]

Barack Obama came into office wafting on zephyrs of adoring oohs and aahs, trailing angel-dust and proclaiming the dawn of a new golden era of nonpartisan enlightenment – a new shining Washington upon a hill. In less fancy terms: he promised to change the way Washington does business. That turned out well too.

[…]

Safe bet-wise: The First Mrs. President is going to be very, very good for the Clinton Foundation. As for America, not so much. A lot has been written about how fed up people are with the arrogance and corruption of Washington. That’s why so many are voting for Donald Trump. But if you think Americans are angry now, just wait until they suffer a full term of Clinton 2.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator den 21 maj 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Clinton vill gärna lyfta fram sina erfarenheter som bl.a. utrikesminister i valrörelsen för att visa på skillnaden mellan henne och Donald Trump.

The New York Times Magazine April 17 2016

Vad som är mindre känt är att hon ständig låg till höger om president Barack Obama i säkerhetspolitiska frågor när hon var hans Secretary of State.

Även om hon har gått åt vänster i år för att inte tappa väljare till Bernie Sanders kommer hon sannolikt lita mer på USA:s militära makt som president än vad Obama gjort.

Jack Sullivan, en av hennes kampanjrådgivare och tidigare medarbetare under hennes tid som utrikesminister, tror att hennes mer aggressiva framtoning i säkerhetspolitiska frågor ligger rätt i tiden.

Enligt Sullivan går hennes strategi i valrörelsen ut på att visa för väljarna att hon har en klar och tydlig plan för att konfrontera terrorismen från islamisterna samtidigt som hon tänker utmåla Trump som en person utan några kvalifikationer överhuvudtaget när det gäller att hantera USA:s nationella säkerhet.

Mark Landler kallar t.o.m. Clinton för hök när han skrev i The New York Times Magazine om Clintons instinkt på det utrikes- och säkerhetspolitiska området.

Det är en bild som säkert kommer att överraska många av Clintons många beundrare runt om i världen, inte minst i Sverige.

“Hillary is very much a member of the traditional American foreign-policy establishment,” says Vali Nasr, a foreign-policy strategist who advised her on Pakistan and Afghanistan at the State Department. “She believes, like presidents going back to the Reagan or Kennedy years, in the importance of the military — in solving terrorism, in asserting American influence. The shift with Obama is that he went from reliance on the military to the intelligence agencies. Their position was, ‘All you need to deal with terrorism is N.S.A. and C.I.A., drones and special ops.’ So the C.I.A. gave Obama an angle, if you will, to be simultaneously hawkish and shun using the military.”

[…]

Jack Keane is one of the intellectual architects of the Iraq surge; he is also perhaps the greatest single influence on the way Hillary Clinton thinks about military issues. A bear of a man with a jowly, careworn face and Brylcreem-slicked hair, Keane exudes the supreme self-confidence you would expect of a retired four-star general.

[…]

Though he is one of a parade of cable-TV generals, Keane is the resident hawk on Fox News, where he appears regularly to call for the United States to use greater military force in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. He doesn’t shrink from putting boots on the ground and has little use for civilian leaders, like Obama, who do.

Keane first got to know Clinton in the fall of 2001, when she was a freshman senator and he was the Army’s second in command, with a distinguished combat and command record in Vietnam, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo. He had expected her to be intelligent, hard-working and politically astute, but he was not prepared for the respect she showed for the Army as an institution, or her sympathy for the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families. Keane was confident he could smell a phony politician a mile away, and he didn’t get that whiff from her.

“I read people; that’s one of my strengths,” he told me. “It’s not that I can’t be fooled, but I’m not fooled often.”

[…]

He and Clinton continued to talk, even after Obama was elected and she became secretary of state. More often than not, they found themselves in sync. Keane, like Clinton, favored more robust intervention in Syria than Obama did. In April 2015, the week before she announced her candidacy, Clinton asked him for a briefing on military options for dealing with the fighters of the Islamic State. Bringing along three young female analysts from the Institute for the Study of War, Keane gave her a 2-hour-20-minute presentation. Among other steps, he advocated imposing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria that would neutralize the air power of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, with a goal of forcing him into a political settlement with opposition groups. Six months later, Clinton publicly adopted this position, further distancing herself from Obama.

“I’m convinced this president, no matter what the circumstances, will never put any boots on the ground to do anything, even when it’s compelling,” Keane told me.

[…]

“One of the problems the president has, which weakens his diplomatic efforts, is that leaders don’t believe he would use military power. That’s an issue that would separate the president from Hillary Clinton rather dramatically. She would look at military force as another realistic option, but only where there is no other option.”

Befriending Keane wasn’t just about cultivating a single adviser. It gave Clinton instant entree to his informal network of active-duty and retired generals.

[…]

Just as Clinton benefited from her alliance with the military commanders, she gave them political cover. “Here’s the dirty little secret,” says Tom Nides, her former deputy secretary of state for management and resources. “They all knew they wanted her on their side. They knew that if they walked into the Situation Room and they had her, it made a huge difference in the dynamics. When she opened her mouth, she could change the momentum in the room.”

David Axelrod recalls one meeting where Clinton “kicked the thing off and pretty much articulated their opinion; I’m sure that’s one that they remember. There’s no doubt that she wanted to give them every troop that McChrystal was asking for.” Still, Clinton didn’t prevail on every argument. After agreeing to send the troops, Obama added a condition of his own: that the soldiers be deployed as quickly as possible and pulled out again, starting in the summer of 2011 — a deadline that proved more fateful in the long run than a difference of 10,000 troops. Clinton opposed setting a public deadline for withdrawal, arguing that it would tip America’s hand to the Taliban and encourage them to wait out the United States — which, in fact, was exactly what happened.

[…]

To thwart the progressive insurgency of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Clinton carefully calibrated her message during the Democratic primaries to align herself closely with Barack Obama and his racially diverse coalition. But as she pivots to the general election, that balancing act with Obama will become trickier. “There’s going to be a huge amount of interest in the press to score-keep,” Sullivan says. “It just so easily can become a sport that distracts from her ability to make an affirmative case.”

In showing her stripes as a prospective commander in chief, Clinton will no doubt draw heavily upon her State Department experience — filtering the lessons she learned in Libya, Syria and Iraq into the sinewy worldview she has held since childhood. Last fall, in a series of policy speeches, Clinton began limning distinctions with the president on national security. She said the United States should consider sending more special-operations troops to Iraq than Obama had committed, to help the Iraqis and Kurds fight the Islamic State. She came out in favor of a partial no-fly zone over Syria. And she described the threat posed by ISIS to Americans in starker terms than he did. As is often the case with Clinton and Obama, the differences were less about direction than degree. She wasn’t calling for ground troops in the Middle East, any more than he was. Clinton insisted her plan was not a break with his, merely an “intensification and acceleration” of it.

It’s an open question how well Clinton’s hawkish instincts match the country’s mood. Americans are weary of war and remain suspicious of foreign entanglements. And yet, after the retrenchment of the Obama years, there is polling evidence that they are equally dissatisfied with a portrait of their country as a spent force, managing its decline amid a world of rising powers like China, resurgent empires like Vladimir Putin’s Russia and lethal new forces like the Islamic State. If Obama’s minimalist approach was a necessary reaction to the maximalist style of his predecessor, then perhaps what Americans yearn for is something in between — the kind of steel-belted pragmatism that Clinton has spent a lifetime honing.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine den 24 april 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Hur vinner man mot en person som Donald Trump? Denna fråga har satt myror i huvudet på både republikaner och demokrater.

Neera Tanden

Neera Tanden, på den liberala tankesmedjan Center for American Progress, tror sig ha svaret.

På 90-talet arbetade Tanden för Bill Clinton i Vita huset. Här hade hon även rollen som ”senior policy adviser” till First Lady Clinton.

Senare var Tanden ”deputy campaign manager” åt Clintons senatskampanj i New York 2000 samt ”policy director” i hennes presidentvalskampanj 2008.

Henne svar på problemet Trump är hämtat från valrörelsen i New York när Clinton drev med republikanen Rudy Giuliani.

Det bästa sättet är att helt enkelt att skämta om honom. Och inte ta honom på för mycket allvar. Ett bra skämt är bättre än äkta (eller låtsad) upprördhet.

Mark Binelli intervjuade Tanden i Rolling Stone.

”I was not at all surprised by the success of Sanders,” says Tanden, who is now an outside adviser to Clinton’s campaign. ”The oddity of the race is how much Democratic voters also strongly support President Obama. They like what he’s done, but they want more. On both sides, because of the Great Recession, the Republican assault on government and the virtual standstill in Washington, people have lost faith in traditional answers. Political rollouts and solutions don’t have the power they had in previous cycles. People are interested in more disruptive change.”

Still, Tanden, who has also worked in the Obama White House on crafting the Affordable Care Act, finds it a ”great irony” that Clinton is now considered suspect by parts of the progressive left. ”As someone who worked for her in the Nineties, I can tell you that everyone on Bill Clinton’s White House staff, and everyone on the outside, thought of Hillary as the liberal champion,” Tanden says. ”Liberal activists went to her to lobby. And the president’s more centrist staff was scared of her.” Tanden pauses for a moment, then continues, ”I have to say, I think some of this is weirdly sexist. We assume she has the same views as Bill Clinton when it hurts her, and we assume she has different views when that hurts her.”

[…]

The political class, after months of writing off Trump and being proved wrong again and again, has developed an almost superstitious fear of the man, as if he must have a shriveled monkey’s paw secreted in one of his pockets that’s giving him special powers. But Tanden thinks that ”the best analogy to this race is one that Hillary has actually already run”: her 2000 Senate campaign against another brash New Yorker beloved by his supporters for going off-script, Rudy Giuliani. ”He and Trump are similar, and the way to deal with him was to make clear what he was doing. Our campaign got to a place where we were mocking him, and it really worked.”

Giuliani eventually dropped out of the race after his marriage fell apart and he received a diagnosis of prostate cancer (and Clinton went on to easily dispatch his replacement, Rick Lazio). Before that, according to The New York Times, Clinton ”had found her way to handle the gibes thrown at her by the confrontational mayor. Rather than engage him, Mrs. Clinton became the foot-tapping, arms-folded sighing mother of a forever misbehaving teenager, a strategy intended as much to infantilize Mr. Giuliani as to provoke him.

”‘I can’t be responding every time the mayor gets angry,’ Mrs. Clinton said, smiling as she campaigned in upstate New York a few days before Christmas 1999. ‘Because that’s all I would do.'”

Till detta kan läggas att man skall ta politiska motståndare på allvar om de kommer med seriösa policyförslag.

Gör man inte det riskerar man få även sina anhängare emot sig eftersom väljarna inte köper hela paket från en kandidat (eller ett parti). Även demokratiska väljare kan tilltalas av visa delar av Trumps förslag.

Att bara avfärda allt han säger kan uppfattas som nonchalant och förstärka bilden av Clinton som en av politikeretablissemanget i Washington.

Bild: Från Real Time With Bill Maher Blog.

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VAL 2016 | Bernie Sanders har lovat jaga Hillary Clinton hela vägen till demokraternas eget partikonvent.

Rolling Stone USA - March 24, 2016

”We’re in it for the long haul. We’ll win some states, we’ll lose some states. We’re going to the convention.” Detta var Sanders löfte när han nästan lyckades slå Hillary i Iowa.

Hans kampvilja har tvingat Clintons lite småtråkiga kampanj at bli lite mer snabbfotad. Han har fått Team Clinton att inse att man inte kan ta något för givet i denna valrörelse.

Och man kan definitivt inte ta något för givet med Donald Trump som motståndare. Han har varit undervärderad under hela sin valrörelse.

Mark Binelli har i Rolling Stone studerat dynamiken i demokraternas valrörelse.

The morning after Super Tuesday, as many pundits were writing Sanders’ obituary, his campaign held a press briefing in Burlington. ”We had a fantastic night,” campaign manager Jeff Weaver insisted, acknowledging that ”we shot for five [states] and got 4.9.” Sanders had won Vermont, Colorado, Oklahoma and Minnesota and lost Massachusetts by the thinnest of margins. ”We did not target 11 states yesterday,” Tad Devine, a senior adviser to the campaign, explained, describing Super Tuesday as ”the single best day” for Clinton on the campaign calendar in terms of geography and demographics.

”These arguments about the delegate math, I have to say, as someone who spent a lot of time in the Eighties working on this topic, I view the analysis as being, frankly, shallow, and representing not a real understanding about how the modern nominating process works,” Devine said. ”I know there’s a lot of number crunchers who think they know how this process works and conclude the race is over. I would suggest understanding the dynamics of a modern presidential campaign requires more skills than arithmetic.”

Devine went on to sketch out a Sanders path to victory, pointing out how the geographic diversity of the senator’s Super Tuesday wins proved they could rack up a string of wins as the primary season moved out of the South and into friendlier territory. At one point, he even suggested that pledged delegates – that is, the delegates won at the voting booth – might switch to Sanders if Clinton stumbled badly, an oddly undemocratic pitch from a campaign focused on the rights of the little guy.

[…]

Added the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who attended a half-dozen Sanders events in Iowa and New Hampshire, ”I’ve been doing this for 20 years now, and there’s something special about the Sanders voter. You can see it in their eyes: They believe they’re onto something, and that the rest of America will discover it in time. This is not Don Quixote to them. They think they can change the political process.”

Even before Super Tuesday, Luntz considered Clinton the likely nominee. But he also told me about a recent poll he’d conducted with Snapchat, in which, among 18-to-26-year-olds, Sanders was more popular than Barack Obama. ”He has really taken that generation by storm,” Luntz says. ”He is everything they have been waiting for. He’s not political, he’s more focused on policy. Whereas Clinton plays politics the way it was played 20 years ago when her husband was president.”

[…]

In the view of the Democratic pollster Peter Hart, Clinton’s biggest challenge is that ”voters think she’s competent, but they’re less convinced on compassion, and they’re downright skeptical when it comes to integrity.”

[…]

That said, the incredible stakes manifested by the spectre of a President Trump have started making even Clinton’s platitudes (”I know it sometimes seems a little odd for someone running for president, these days, in this time, to say we need more love and kindness in America. But I’m telling you, from the bottom of my heart, we do”) sound like necessary truths.

The primary fight with Sanders has also certainly transformed Clinton into a much stronger candidate: She’s more relaxed, and there’s a deeper focus and urgency in her message. According to a story in The New York Times, Team Clinton has been preparing to bloody Trump with the help of ”two prominent surrogates”: the Big Dog himself, Bill Clinton, who ”would not hold back on the stump” in order to blunt Trump’s ”ability to sway the news cycle,” and President Obama, ”who has told allies he would gleefully portray Mr. Trump as incapable of handling the duties of the Oval Office.”

Will that be enough, in these days of revolt? ”The key is, how does she handle Phase Two and Phase Three of this campaign?” Hart, the Democratic pollster, says. He isn’t as worried about the schism that’s been playing out in the primary. ”It’s different from other years, where there would be irreparable damage for a long time,” he says. ”I’m not of the belief that everyone who voted for Bernie looks at Hillary and says, ‘There’s the enemy.’ This is a situation where I think, by the time the Democrats go to the polls, the differences will be joined.”

Tidskriftsomslag: Rolling Stone, 24 mars (nr. 1257), 2016.

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Jack Ohman

Bild: Jack Ohman. Mer om bl.a. Hillary Clinton och Bernie Sanders på GoComics.

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VAL 2016 | Donald Trump och Hillary Clinton har en sak gemensamt: båda är genuint impopulära i stora delar av valmanskåren.

The Economist

”Never since modern polling began have the two likely nominees of the big parties been so disliked by the electorate. Mr Trump’s net approval rating (where those who disapprove are subtracted from those who approve) is minus 40. Mrs Clinton is at a still-Siberian minus 20”, skriver The Economist.

Och det är inte bara väljare som brukar rösta på det andra partiets kandidater som är problemet för respektive kandidat i år. Även det egna partiets väljare (se ovan) misstror den egna huvudkandidaten.

The Economist igen:

“The lesser of two evils is not an option. I won’t vote for evil.” So says Julie Edwards, a volunteer for the insurgent presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders, explaining why she will spurn both main party candidates if—as looks almost certain—her hero loses the Democratic presidential primary and Hillary Clinton ends up battling Donald Trump. Ms Edwards was one of dozens of Sanders-backers gathered at an Indianapolis pub on May 3rd to watch the results of the Indiana presidential primary. Many, declaring themselves “Bernie or Bust” voters, pledged to write their hero’s name on to the ballot paper if he is not the Democratic nominee. Mrs Clinton is steeped in “incredibly horrendous scandals” and can never win a general election, averred Ms Edwards. Other volunteers called her “a criminal”, a “neocon” and—perhaps most damningly for some—a pragmatist.

Detta påminner om spekulationerna när Barack Obama valdes till presidentkandidat. Frågan då handlade om Obama skulle locka Clintons många kvinnliga anhängare att rösta på honom i valet mot Mitt Romney. Men problemet visade sig snarare vara försumbart.

Samma sak kommer antagligen hända i år. Bernie Sanders anhängare är besvikna över sitt väntade nederlag. Och de är inte speciellt förtjusta i Hillary. Men det betyder inte att de inte kommer att rösta på Clinton när det verkligen gäller.

Åtminstone är detta problem mindre för Clinton än för Trump. Siffrorna visar sig att Trump har ännu större problem bland republikaner än vad Clinton har bland demokratiska väljare.

För Team Clinton är det en fördel, allt annat lika, om Trump uppfattas än mer negativt av väljarna än den egna kandidaten. Dessutom kommer Trump få betydligt svårare att mobilisera republikanska väljare än vad Clinton kommer att få med demokratiska.

The Economist skriver att Trump har varit betydligt mer framgångsrik än de övriga republikanska kandidater att vinna väljare.

Despite the initial size of the field, Mr Trump is on the verge of breaking the record for votes won in the Republican primaries (10.8m, set by George Bush in 2000). That is partly because, owing to a combination of riled activists and a growing population, more people vote in Republican primaries these days. He is still a long way shy of the 66m votes with which Mr Obama won re-election in 2012. Yet the size of the haul and the growing breadth of his appeal underlines the fact that, despite his divisiveness, Mr Trump has a solid chance of becoming president.

His odds are helped by having a probable opponent, Hillary Clinton, who is also disliked; around half of voters take a poor view of her. Mrs Clinton must be thrilled to have an opponent more unpopular still, and whom she has beaten in all but two of the last 58 head-to-head polls. Yet such polling tends to be a poor guide until after the party conventions, which focus voters’ minds. And being unpopular is always a weakness. Mrs Clinton’s victory over Mr Trump, though likely, is not assured.

Bild: The Economist.

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VAL 2016 | Donald Trumps protektionistiska politik går tvärt emot det egna partiets nyliberala inställning i ekonomiska frågor.

The Economist

Men protektionism har en lång historia i amerikansk politik. Under slutet av 1800-talet var det etablissemangets åsikt i det republikanska partiet medan frihandelsvännerna var i klar minoritet.

Idag kan vi konstatera att en anledning till Trumps framgångar är just hans villighet att gå emot sitt egets partis ideologiska fundament på det ekonomiskt-politiska området.

The Economist, under hela sin existens en frihandelsvänlig röst med nyliberala tendenser på det sociala området, gillar inte vad de har sett av Trump.

Samtidigt konstaterar tidskriften att han uppenbart har förmåga att känna in vad väljarna vill höra. Åtminstone vissa delar av väljarkåren. Om detta sedan räcker i en valkampanj mot Hillary Clinton lär vi snart få se.

I en längre artikel – ”Fear trumps hope” – skriver The Economist så här:

His electoral success is founded on espousing a view of America both exceptionally bleak and widely shared. Two-thirds of Americans think the economy is rigged in favour of the rich; almost seven in ten believe their politicians don’t care about ordinary Americans.

[…]

Mr Trump inflates and conflates these problems into an absurd caricature of undiluted failure and decline. “We’re like a third-world country,” he laments. America “makes the worst trade deals ever made in the history of trade…We’ve spent $4 trillion in the Middle East and we’re in far worse shape than we were before…China, it doesn’t respect us.” He must believe some of this; his opposition to free trade is long-standing. Yet his miserabilism is plainly tactical. It gives him opportunity to throw a few popular scapegoats to his despondent supporters: job-stealing illegal immigrants—including the “rapist” Mexicans he denounced when he launched his campaign; factory-killing Chinese trade negotiators, whom he accused this week of “raping” America; “incompetent” and “crooked” politicians.

[…]

His unusual talents are part of the answer. Charismatic, tactically astute, charming at times and ruthless, Mr Trump is a far more formidable politician than almost anyone had suspected. His outrages have kept print- and broadcast-media attention focused on him; with nearly 8m followers on Twitter and a flair for pithy invective, he rules on social media, too. At the time of his entry into the race, his slander against Mexicans seemed naive as well as boorish; it now seems remarkable how well-formed his pitch to resentful, working-class whites was. He says this was because he understands and shares their concerns. “I worked summers when I was going to school with carpenters and electricians. You know my father was a builder in Brooklyn and Queens, predominantly…I worked with all of these guys, I know these guys.” That has a rare ring of truth. Expedience explains his positions on many issues, including guns, which he once disliked and now advocates, abortion, which he once accepted and now opposes, God, in Whom he previously showed little interest but now praises. His xenophobia and protectionism, however, have form.

Newspaper clippings suggest he vigorously opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993: “The Mexicans want it and that doesn’t sound good to me,” he was reported as saying.

[…]

Yet if Mr Trump’s supporters like his message, many are also motivated by disdain for the party bosses who so haplessly opposed him. Exit polls in Indiana suggested half of Republican voters felt “betrayed” by their party.

[…]

Second, years of partisan grandstanding in Congress have discredited America’s entire political process, and the Republicans—especially those of them thrust to power by the party’s previous populist insurgency, the Tea Party—are mainly responsible.

[…]

In that sense, the Trumpian revolt is not a continuation of the false promise raised by the anti-government Tea Party, but its successor. With Mr Trump’s nomination almost assured, its fires, too, must now rage and burn out.

Trump against Clinton: the general election is shaping up to be hot and ugly. There appears to be little prospect of Mr Trump moderating his positions, by lurching to the more ameliorative centre that Republican leaders—fearing electoral annihilation—recommend. Whether he believes in his positions or not, they are mostly too extreme to be credibly revised. Apparently vindicated by his success in the primaries, Mr Trump seems to have little interest in changing tack. That also goes for his aggressive, often offensive methods. Turning to Mrs Clinton, his one-time wedding guest, the presumptive Republican nominee is disdainful. “She’s playing the woman card. That’s all she’s got going. She’s got nothing else going. The only thing she’s got is the woman card. And she plays it to the hilt,” fumes Mr Trump, whom 70% of American women dislike.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Economist, 7-13 maj 2016.

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