Posts Tagged ‘James Carville’

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


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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VAL 2016 | Amatörism genomsyrar hela Donald Trumps valkampanj. Ett tecken på detta är alla oerfarna personer han omger sig med.


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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Så här presenterar The Criterion Collection filmen The War Room:

The 1992 presidential election was a triumph not only for Bill Clinton but also for the new breed of strategists who guided him to the White House—and changed the face of politics in the process. For this thrilling, behind-closed-doors account of that campaign, renowned cinema verité filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker captured the brainstorming and bull sessions of Clinton’s crack team of consultants—especially James Carville and George Stephanopoulos, who became media stars in their own right as they injected a savvy, youthful spirit and spontaneity into the process of campaigning. Fleet-footed and entertaining, The War Room is a vivid document of a political moment whose truths (“It’s the economy, stupid!”) still ring in our ears.

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National TV spot featuring American political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin in a comfort debate over the cost of energy versus personal comfort. The famous foes are also married in real life.

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ANALYS | Barack Obama vann övertygande över sin republikanske utmanare Mitt Romney med 332 elektorsröster mot 206.

Bild-President Obama och First Lady Michelle Obama

Dessutom är det bara Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower och Ronald Reagan som också lyckats vinna mer än 50 procent av det totala röstetalet två gånger i rad.

I en insiktsfull intervju med Tim Dickinson på Rolling Stone beskriver James Carville, politisk strateg och arkitekten bakom Bill Clintons valseger 1992, hur Obama lyckades och varför Romney misslyckades.

Remember, for Obama, there was a great strategic dilemma as to whether to present Romney as a flip-flopper or as someone who is for the rich guy. You had to pick one, and they picked ”for the rich guy.” If you’re going to be successful in politics, you have to pick one. One of the great statements of the Kerry campaign was when they said, ”We have a nuanced and layered message.” It can’t be nuanced and layered and be a message – it just can’t.

The best thing Romney did was flip-flop in the first debate. If you flop to where people are, then they like you. Let’s say that somebody runs against gay marriage all their life, and you’re for gay marriage, and then they come out for it. You don’t say, ”I don’t trust him, he flipped his position.” You say, ”I like that, he changed his mind.” In the research – and I know this because we did a lot of it – if you’d say that Romney was for all these crazy right-wing things, people would say, ”He’s more moderate than that, he doesn’t believe that.” They liked the fact that they couldn’t trust him.

That’s why the Obama campaign decided to focus on his history at Bain.

Yeah. At the end, the message of the Bain stuff was: When he has to choose between you and his friends, he’s going to choose his friends. I think that stuck with him pretty good.


How did the Republicans get so outclassed in terms of technology? In 2004, Rove dominated on that front.

The most amazing story of the whole election was how personally shellshocked Romney was that he lost. They completely thought he was going to win. How can a man with a reputation of being data-driven, who does spreadsheets better than anybody in the world, be shocked that he lost? I can’t wait to read the book as to what happened to Romney. It’s stunning.

Part of it is how inefficiently they spent all the money they had. Conservatives have a point here: You give somebody too many resources, and they don’t allocate them very well. The top people in the Romney campaign were paid $134 million in this election. The top consultants in the Obama campaign were paid $6 million. Democrats just spent their money smarter, better and with less nepotism or favoritism. It’s stunning that a community organizer would be so much more efficient than a head of one of the largest private equity funds. As the rabbis have been saying for 5,000 years, ”Go figure.”

Bild: Obamakampanjen lade ut fotot på presidenten och Michelle Obama på Facebook och Twitter efter segern.

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EKONOMI | Många av presidentens egna anhängare har blivit djupt besvikna över resultat efter fyra år med Barack Obama i Vita huset.

Under första perioden brukar presidenter bränna mesta av sin energi. Det är då man är som mest innovativ och lanserar sina bästa idéer.

Har man inte lyckats genomföra idéerna under de fyra första åren blir det inte mycket lättare under andra mandatperioden.

Under de sista åren tryter idéerna. Även om man aldrig skulle erkänna det för sig själv har man redan börjat nedräkningen till den dag när man lämnar Vita huset.

Dessutom är många av de närmaste medarbetarna slutkörda. Många söker sig till mer välbetalda jobb med mindre pressande arbetstider och uppgifter.

Allierade i kongressen är dessutom inte längre lika villiga att hjälpa till om de sista åren ser ut att bli en segdragen historia med vikande opinionssiffror.

Många positionerar sig för att kunna bli återvalda. Går det inte bra för presidenten vill man inte gärna binda upp sig allt för nära till en person som snart skall lämna över.

Politiska motståndare har ännu mindre anledning att kompromissa. Man vet att presidenten är på väg ut. Och varför då ge hans partis nästa presidentkandidat möjlighet att rida på föregångarens politiska framgångar?

Och i media har man börjat spekulera om presidenten redan har blivit en ”lame duck”.

”It’s the economy, stupid!” var den maxim som kampanjstrategen James Carville spikade upp på väggen i Bill Clintons ”war room”. Samma sak gäller för Obamas administration.

Presidenten hoppas säkert att republikanerna efter sitt nederlag nu kommer att bli mer kompromissvilliga.

Om inte annat för att väljarna kan komma att straffa dem för vad man ser som ren tjurskallighet.

Om ekonomin förvärras kan det mycket väl vara kongressen som får stå som boven i dramat. Väljarnas förtroende för presidenten har nämligen alltid varit större än för politikerna i kongressen.

Nästa fyra år kommer därför att bli tuffa för Obama. Och problemen har knappast blivit mindre.

I en ledare i New Statesman skriver man följande:

The greatest immediate danger is that Congress will prove incapable of steering the US away from the so-called fiscal cliff, the $607bn worth of tax rises and spending cuts due to come into effect on 1 January 2013. Should the Democrats and the Republicans fail to reach agreement on a less severe austerity programme, the US could suffer a double-dip recession, with grave consequences for the global economy.

The US Congressional Budget Office estimates that the planned fiscal contraction, which, at 4 per cent of gross domestic product […] would cause the US economy to shrink at an annual rate of 1.3 per cent during the first half of 2013. In addition, it would lead to job losses of over five million by 2014. Already, the fiscal cliff is thought to have reduced GDP by 0.6 per cent this year through its chilling effect on investment. Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, whose activist monetary policy has done much to keep recession at bay, has warned, “If the fiscal cliff isn’t addressed, I don’t think our tools are strong enough to offset the effects of a major fiscal shock.” The responsibility for averting economic catastrophe lies with the president and Congress.

Mr Obama has proposed maintaining the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans earning less than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples), while allowing taxes to rise for those on incomes above this level. He would seek to achieve $4trn in deficit reduction over the next decade by cutting $2.50 in spending for every dollar in revenue, including using half of the money saved from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for this purpose.


On the economy, as in other areas, Mr Obama must hope that the Republicans, no longer preoccupied with defeating him, will instead seek to work with him. Should they prove willing to do so, there is potential for the president to make progress in those areas where he disappointed during his first term.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är New Statesman den 9-15 november 2012. Montaget med Obama som Harold Lloyd i den berömda klockscenen i filmen ”Safety Last!” är gjort av Dan Murrell.

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USA | Det är inte bara ideologiskt motiverade republikaner som firar Mitt Romneys val av vicepresidentkandidat. Även för Barack Obama är det goda nyheter.

Hitintills har man inom Romneys kampanj varit smarta nog att inse att deras största chans är försöka få valet att framstå som en folkomröstning om Barack Obamas skötsel av landets ekonomi.

Med valet av Ryan förflyttas fokus bort ifrån Obamas politik. I ett enda slag har valkampanjen istället förvandlats till ett tydligt val mellan två ideologiska system. Precis vad Obama önskar sig.

Om Ryans alternative budgetplan för USA har Johnathan Chait skrivit i “The Legendary Paul Ryan:

Whether Ryan’s plan even is a “deficit-reduction plan” is highly debatable. Ryan promises to eliminate trillions of dollars’ worth of tax deductions, but won’t identify which ones. He proposes to sharply reduce government spending that isn’t defense, Medicare (for the next decade, anyway), or Social Security, but much of that reduction is unspecified, and when Obama named some possible casualties, Ryan complained that those hypotheticals weren’t necessarily in his plan. Ryan is specific about two policies: massive cuts to income-tax rates, and very large cuts to government programs that aid the poor and medically vulnerable. You could call all this a “deficit-reduction plan,” but it would be more accurate to call it “a plan to cut tax rates and spending on the poor and sick.”

Om Romneys strategiska misstag skriver John Heilemann:

His agenda of turning Medicare into a voucher program, bloc-granting and taking the meat axe to Medicaid, drastically cutting spending on virtually every other government program (except defense, natch), and, yes, privatizing Social Security has been called many things, from courageous and bold (by countless conservatives) to “thinly veiled Social Darwinism” (by Obama) and “right-wing social engineering” (by Newt Gingrich). What you cannot call it is vague or vacuous or mealy-mouthed — all words that have been attached to the man at the top of the ticket.

So this was not a safe or conventional pick — not a pick motivated by winning a state (as Portman would have partly been regarding Ohio or Marco Rubio would have partly been regarding Florida). This was a pick about ideas, about policies, about core convictions. But it was also a pick driven by political weakness. All along, Team Romney’s bedrock strategy has been to make the 2012 election a clean referendum on Obama’s economic management and leadership, an election about unemployment, growth, and wages. In elevating Ryan, what Team Romney has done is execute a sharp U-turn, embracing the theory that 2012 will not be a pure referendum but a choice election, and one in which the two sides’ contrasting approaches to the deficit, debt, entitlements, and taxes will take center stage. And while this is surely not a Hail Mary pass on the order of John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin, it is almost as much, as some Romneyites admit, an attempt to (pardon the expression) change the game.

Så i kampen om att definiera valrörelsen i väljarnas ögon – folkomröstning (om Obama) eller ett val (mellan två ideologier) – blinkade Romney först.

Valet av Ryan har fört Barack Obama ännu ett steg närmare en valseger i november.

Läs mer: ”Serious Attack on Ryan Budget Takes Toll on Mitt Romney på den av demokraterna närstående Democracy Corps. (Grundare James Carville och Stanley Greenberg).

Bild: Paul Ryans första twitter-inlägg.

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STRATEGI | Året 64 f Kr ställde advokaten och talaren Marcus Tullius Cicero upp i valet till konsul, det högsta ämbetet i Rom.

Cicero var skicklig och framgångsrik på sitt område men tillhörde inte republikens aristokrati. Detta var ett stort hinder för någon som ville bli konsul. Normalt skulle det försvagat hans möjligeter att vinna.

Men en av Ciceros stora fördelar var att hans huvudmotståndare, Gaius Antonius Hybrida och Lucius Sergius Catiline, var genomkorrupta skurkar.

Quintus Tullius Cicero ansåg därför att hans fyra år äldre bror hade en rejäl chans om han bara bedrev en effektiv valkampanj.

I Rom hade de rikaste medborgarna oproportionellt mycket makt. Men politiskt och socialt stöd från gruppen var avgörande. Mutor och våld kunnde förekomma i en valkampanj men själva valprocessen var i det stora hela öppen och välfungerande.

Commentariolum Petitionis (här med titeln How to Win an Election) är det brev i vilket Quintus Tullius Cicero beskriver för sin bror hur valet skall vinnas. Idag skulle vi kalla det ett strategidokument.

Denna lilla volym är inte mer än nittionio sidor lång. Och då inkluderar det förord, en förklaring till översättningen, ordlista och en litteraturlista. Och dessutom löper den latinska texten parallellt med den engelska.

Men det är innehållet som räknas. Det fantastiska med texten är hur aktuell den känns även för den moderne läsaren.

Quintus Tullius Cicero var uppenbart väl införstådd med hur det politiska systemet fungerade och vad som skulle krävdas för en valseger.

Så här kan det låta:

The most important part of your campaign is to bring hope to people and a feeling of goodwill toward you. On the other hand, you should not make specific pledges either to the Senate or the people. Stick to vague generalities. Tell the Senate you will maintain its traditional power and privileges. Let the business community and wealthy citizens know that you are for stability and peace. Assure the common people that you have always been on their side, both in your speeches and in your defense of their interests in court.

Några andra råd som är värda att framhålla är följande: Se till att familj och vänner stödjer dig; omge dig med rätt personer; bygg en bred och stabil bas av anhängare; lova allt till alla; färdighet i kommunikation är a och o; lär känna dina fiender (och utnyttja deras svagheter mot dem) och se alltid till att smickra väljarna.

Läs mer: James Carville, tidigare rådgivare till Bill Clinton, har skrivet en kommentar till texten i tidskriften Foreign Affairs (maj/juni 2012).

Övrigt: Boken How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians (Princeton University Press, 2012), i översättning av Philip Freeman, kan beställas Bokus.se.

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KAN Tina Brown vända utvecklingen för Newsweek? Med sin efarehet från bland annat Tatler, Talk, Vanity Fair och The New Yorker har hon förutsättningar att lyckas.

Och när det gäller Newsweek skriver Peter Stevenson från The New York Times Magazine följande:

Since her first issue of Newsweek on March 14, newsstand sales are up 57 percent over the dismal 2010 numbers; ad pages are up 14 percent, with new advertisers like Credit Suisse, Progressive Insurance, Charles Schwab, Omega watches and Poland Spring coming aboard.

Brown’s early issues show signs of blood starting to pump through the veins again. A section called News Gallery showcases emotionally powerful photojournalism. “You can do a lot with photographs in telling a story, because it means that you’re in the news but you’re not pretending you can be profound about it,” Brown said.

At the same time, Brown’s early issues have been strewn with standbys from her Rolodex: Hillary Clinton, Harvey Weinstein, Judith Regan, James Carville, Arnold Schwarzenegger. A new section called Omnivore: Want has featured $2,100 Chanel shoes, a $6,500 Audi bicycle and a $10,000 Burberry “Python” trench, items that would not be within reach of your average newsmagazine reader but that would feel right at home in, say, Vanity Fair.

“There’s a great kind of high-low, newsy, sexy thing that the European newsmagazines have,” Brown said. “They have this great sort of slightly freewheeling pagination, where they go from a great sexy picture of an expensive watch to Libya or something. So I’d like to have more of that feeling in Newsweek. I think that’s a great thing for a magazine, because that’s where we all sort of are now, we’re all multiplatformed, everything’s messed up with everything else.”

Brown can’t spend the way she used to, but she has made significant hires, like persuading Andrew Sullivan to airlift his wildly popular blog from The Atlantic into The Daily Beast. […]

Other new NewsBeasties — everyone Brown hires will work for both Newsweek and The Daily Beast — include the British financial historian Niall Ferguson, The Washington Post’s Pulitzer-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan and the longtime New Yorker writer Peter Boyer.

Övrigt: Artikeln ”Tina Brown Is Still Hungry for Buzz” visar tidskriftsomslagen på Browns första nummer av Tatler och The New Yorker. Se också 25 omslag till tidskriften Talk.

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