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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Scherer’

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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VAL 2016 | Ted Cruz har inte gett upp sina drömmar om Vita huset. Men rent röstmässigt kommer han att förbli den ständiga tvåan efter Donald Trump.

Time april 20 2016

Ett tecken på att han försöker ta sin kampanj ända till det republikanska konventet är att han nu är mindre aggressiv och anslår en mildare ton i sina tal.

Han vill på så sätt öka chanserna att kunna fungera som en kompromisskandidat om det blir en strid om delegaterna på kommande partikonvent.

Ett exempel på denna ändrade stil är att han nu t.o.m. börjat citera John F. Kennedy i sina tal. Det hör inte vanligheterna bland konservativa republikaner vars bas är evangeliska kristna. Men det är sådant som brukar kallas signalpolitik.

Frågan är bara om det är speciellt trovärdigt. Cruz har varit en av de ledande figurerna inom Tea Party-rörelsen och är inte speciellt älskad av vare sig partietablissemanget eller bland partikollegor han kritiserat.

Att försöka vinna över de mer moderata konservativa är nödvändigt men kan också komma att skada hans trovärdighet så här sent i valrörelsen.

Michael Scherer skriver om hans nya stil i tidskriften Time:

Good politicians know how to recast their message for the moment. The great ones seem to do it without contradiction, alienation or any actual change in position. This is the leap that Cruz is now attempting. He won the Iowa caucuses with devotion and red meat. His rallies began like prayer circles and continued into fury. He would describe the hatred for him from his own party as “the whole point of the campaign.” He promised not just to repeal Obamacare but to rescind “every word” on Day One. More than unwind the Iran nuclear deal, he vowed to rip it “to shreds.” He would not just destroy Islamic extremism, he would find out if “sand can glow in the dark.”

Those bold positions all remain, but their packaging has been muted. The clenched fists are now open arms. “From the beginning, our objective was to reunite the old Reagan coalition to bring together Republicans and independents and libertarians and Reagan Democrats,” he said. “I believe the path to winning the Republican nomination and winning the general election is standing up for hardworking men and women of America who have been left behind by Washington.” The conservative caterpillar is becoming a general-election butterfly.

This same pivot animates his campaign. After Wisconsin, Cruz planned to work hard to move beyond the white, evangelical, mostly male voters who have always been his core supporters. In his campaign speeches, he has begun to address “single moms” and “working moms” directly, with a message of economic populism to match the appeal of Trump and the Democrats. The day after Wisconsin, he traveled to a meeting with black and Latino pastors in the Bronx, spoke halting Spanish with reporters afterward and repeatedly referred to “our community” when talking about Latinos.

Then there are the gauzy new references in his public remarks. The speech he had prepared for the network cameras the night he won Wisconsin included a quote from former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill about ending the quarrel between past and present to focus instead on the future. He would even quote Democratic President John F. Kennedy, who Cruz has long argued, improbably, would be a conservative Republican if he were alive today. “We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future,” Cruz said, repeating Kennedy’s words.

But it is another President who he said gave him hope his gambit could succeed. “Throughout the course of this campaign, as others have gotten nasty and gotten personal, have engaged in a war of insults and petty personal attacks, I haven’t responded in kind,” Cruz explained, referencing, among other things, Trump’s recent attack on the appearance of his wife Heidi. “That is very much the model of Ronald Reagan, even when Reagan primaried Gerald Ford in ’76.”

Tidskriftsomslag: Time, 18 april 2016

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USA | ”Speak softly and carry a big stick” är ett uttryck som brukar tillskrivas Theodore Roosevelt.

Time August 31 2015

Donald Trumps strategi verkar vara den diametralt motsatta. Han talar tufft men har en pragmatisk inställning i många frågor enligt Michael Scherer i Time.

Strategin verkar fungera. Trump leder över sina republikanska rivaler i många opinionsmätningar.

“I don’t think the people running for office are real,” säger Trump. “They have to throw a lot of consultants away and be themselves. I think it is one of the things that has helped me.”

Scherer har studerat Trumps kampanjstil.

If you want to understand what is happening in the country right now, to get at its shifting id, its calcifying frustrations, its guttural demand for change, you need only listen to that message of disgust, for the political system, its falsehoods and failures, which has taken Trump to the top of the Republican polls.

[…]

“It’s a belief that the country is fundamentally broken and nobody is fixing it,” explains Republican pollster Frank Luntz. “It’s a sense that all the elites are in it for themselves and everybody else is suffering.” It is also a reminder that performance matters. On the two dimensions of your television screen, in the 20-­second sound bite of an often bankrupt process, what H.L. Mencken termed “a carnival of buncombe,” a true showman can beat out rank even on his worst days.

[…]

When he says he will beat China, steal Iraq’s oil and stick it to Iran, he is selling an unlikely dream. But that, after all, is what campaigns are about. “I’m just as disappointed with the Republicans as I am the Democrats,” Trump says. “It’s just so false and so phony and they can’t move—it’s moribund. They become weak and ineffective, except with one thing, getting themselves re-elected. That’s the one thing they’re good at.” Preach.

“There are two things going on,” explains Roger Stone, Trump’s on-again, off-again political consultant, who left his campaign orbit most recently on Aug. 8. “One is the total revulsion of American voters with politicians and the entire political system. And secondarily, just the belief that he can’t be bought.

[…]

Less than 32% of the country has a favorable view of the Republican Party, including just 68% of people who call themselves Republicans. And the numbers are falling. “Every time somebody says I made a mistake, they do the polls and my numbers go up,” Trump says. “So I guess I haven’t made a mistake.”

[…]

Most of his rivals have been cowed by the onslaughts, unable to beat the more popular bully at his game. “At this point we just have to ride it out, wherever he takes us,” says a strategist for another GOP contender. “What else can we do?”

The bigger question is whether Trump can paste some broader credibility to his winning posture before his rivals gang up on him to push him from the field. It means a lot to have 25% of the vote when 17 candidates are running, but there are signs in the polls that many of those who don’t support him now will never vote for him. A recent CNN poll found that 58% of Republican-­primary voters thought Trump on the ticket would decrease the odds that the party wins the White House. More than half the country still finds him unqualified for the presidency.

His response has been a focus on policy, releasing a written plan for immigration that is both bold and indecipherable. He would build the wall, confiscate the earnings of undocumented immigrants if Mexico did not pay for it, seek an end to birthright citizenship and rejigger the way immigrants who enter the country legally get visas. As for the estimated 11 million now in the country without papers, including about 10% of California’s workforce, “they have to go,” though he won’t say how he plans to make them leave, and he promises to return the “good ones” quickly. Whether those lucky winners will get an eventual path to citizenship—he won’t say just yet.

[…]

Most of his rivals can’t even find a clear answer to the question of whether they agree with Trump’s threadbare immigration white paper, while Clinton has become a master of boldly committing to policies that poll well for her coalition while attempting to dodge any pressing question that might complicate her coronation. Yet it would be a mistake to think Trump is incapable of moderation or nuance. At heart he is a pragmatist, not an ideologue. He would not rip up Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, because contracts matter, but he would “enforce that deal like they never saw.” He boldly defends Planned Parenthood for the women’s health care it provides, not the abortions. And while his rivals quietly plot deep cuts in costly senior entitlement programs, he promises to treat Social Security and Medicare as sacrosanct.

Tidskriftsomslag: Time den 31 augusti 2015

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USA | Idag ser ingen demokrat ut att kunna utmana Clinton om hon verkligen vill bli demokraternas presidentkandidat.

Time March 23 2015

Att Hillary Clinton har använt sin private dator som utrikesminister, och sedan försökt dölja detta, har dock ställt till det för hennes troliga presidentvalskampanj.

Frågan är bara om det permanent har skadat henne.

Kanske väcker detta ”Emailgate” minnena från hennes mans alla skandaler. Vill amerikanarna verkligen se ännu en Clinton i Vita huset?

David Von Drehle skriver i Time:

As a rule, these are words no politician wants to be speaking in the days leading up to the launch of a major campaign:

“What I did was to direct, you know, my counsel to conduct a thorough investigation …”

“I fully complied with every rule that I was governed by.”

“They were personal and private, about matters that I believed were in the scope of my personal privacy.”

As a rule, a candidate wants to take flight on outstretched wings of hope, not scramble in the dirt on the crabbed limbs of legal compliance. Every day spent saying “Trust me, my lawyer’s O.K. with it” is a bad day – and worse if she appears to be reading from lawyer-vetted notes.

As a rule, these would be dire, perhaps fatal, markers of a campaign crashing on takeoff. But in this case the politician was Hillary Clinton, whose carefully laid plans to unveil her latest presidential bid hit turbulence on March 10 as she fumbled her way through an awkward press conference in a corridor at the U.N. At issue: Clinton’s decision to ignore White House guidance as Secretary of State and instead conduct government business through a private email account hosted on her family’s personal server.

[…]

Along with her husband – the 42nd President of the United States – Hillary Clinton is the co-creator of a soap-operatic political universe in witch documents vanish, words like is take on multiple meanings and foes almost always overplay their hand. Impeachment can be a route to higher approval ratings; the occasional (and rare) defeat merely marks the start of the next campaign. Whatever rules may apply to them, the law of gravity is not one.

[…]

What doesn’t kill Team Clinton only makes it stronger. Will that be the lesson again? Hillary Clinton has a vast lead over any potential challenger for the Democratic nomination, and 86% of Democrats are ready to support her, according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Though her poor handling of the email issue has left party insiders unsure whether she learned anything from her slow-footed and wooden 2008 campaign, insiders don’t control elections. Voters do.

The veteran New York political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, is unsure. “These stories will reach critical mass and coverage as she gets closer to any announcement date,” says Sheinkopf, “and they will damage her because they offer a portrayal of someone who plays fast and loose with rules.” But Clinton stories have reached critical mass so many times before. And still, to borrow from Maya Angelou, they rise.

Läs mer: Om Clintons kampanjteam i Michael Scherers ”Go time for Hillary” i Time. Om Clintons krishantering i efterdyningarna av ”Emailgate” i Dylan Byers Hillary Clinton team woos reporters” i Politico

Tidskriftsomslag: Time, 23 mars 2015.

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USA | Allt fler talar numera om senator Rand Paul som republikanernas blivande presidentkandidat. Detta säger en del om partiets problem.

The New York Times Magazine August 10 2014

Det har skrivits mycket om senatorn från Kentucky på senare tid. The New York Times Magazine och Time har haft honom på omslaget. The New Yorker har publicerat en längre essay. Time kallade honom t.o.m. för ”The most interesting man in american politics”.

Robert Drapers artikel i The New York Times Magazine fokuserar på de förändringar som republikanska partiet står inför om man vill kunna attrahera fler väljare.

After eight years out of the White House, Republicans would seem well positioned to cast themselves as the fresh alternative, though perhaps only if the party first reappraises stances that young voters, in particular, regard as outdated. Emily Ekins, a pollster for the Reason Foundation, says: “Unlike with previous generations, we’re seeing a newer dimension emerge where they agree with Democrats on social issues, and on economic issues lean more to the right. It’s possible that Democrats will have to shift to the right on economic issues. But the Republicans will definitely have to move to the left on social issues. They just don’t have the numbers otherwise.” A G.O.P. more flexible on social issues might also appeal to another traditionally Democratic group with a libertarian tilt: the high-tech communities in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, whose mounting disdain for taxes, regulations and unions has become increasingly dissonant with their voting habits.

Hence the excitement about Rand Paul. It’s hardly surprising that Paul, in Ekins’s recent survey of millennial voters, came out ahead of all other potential Republican presidential candidates; on issues including same-sex marriage, surveillance and military intervention, his positions more closely mirror those of young voters than those of the G.O.P. establishment. Paul’s famous 13-hour filibuster last year, while ultimately failing to thwart the confirmation of the C.I.A. director John Brennan, lit afire the Twittersphere and compelled Republican leaders, who previously dismissed Paul as a fringe character, to add their own #StandWithRand endorsements. Paul has also gone to considerable lengths to court non-Republican audiences, like Berkeley students and the National Urban League. In a presidential field that could include Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, Paul — who has called himself “libertarian-ish” — is by far the candidate most associated with the movement.

Pauls önskan om att bli mer relevant i amerikansk politik har inneburit att han har varit tvungen att kompromissa och modifiera sitt politiska budskap för att kunna tilltala fler inom och utanför sitt parti.

Time Oct 27-2014

Det är talande är att Michael Scherers artikel i Time har rubriken ”The Reinventions Of Rand”.

It is a measure of his caution that his positions now take several sentences to explain. He will not say whether he supports bombing Iran if Tehran acquires a nuclear weapon, but also supports sanctions policies to try to prevent that from ever happening. He is against marijuana legalization even as he fights to end prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. He opposed limits on campaign donations but supports a plan to bar federal contractors from donating to politics. He opposes gay marriage but also opposes a constitutional amendment to define marriage, saying that states and Congress should pursue an extensive strategy of decoupling all government benefits from marriage so a ban might pass court scrutiny.

Paul uppfattas, både politiskt och ideologiskt, fortfarande stå i skuggan av sin fars politiska karriär. Kongressledamoten Ron Paul var under många år den tydligaste förespråkaren för de libertarianska idéerna inom det republikanska partiet.

Vid ett tillfälle bröt Ron Paul t.o.m. med partiet när han ansåg partiet hade blivit alltför konservativt. Inför valet 1988 nominerade Libertarian Party honom som sin presidentkandidat.

Ideologiskt har Rand Paul därför, precis som vicepresidentkandidat Paul Ryan under förra presidentvalet, försökt distansera sig från en lång rad nyliberala idéer.

Även om detta rent teoretiskt ökar sannolikheten för att han skall lyckas bli nominerad öppnar det samtidigt upp för attacker från politiska motståndare. Det är bara att fråga Mitt Romney.

När han nu försöker bättra på sin politiska image riskerar han slå knut på sig själv. Romneys motsägelsefulla försök att distansera sig från sin tid som guvernör i delstaten Massachusetts förföljde honom under hela presidentvalskampanjen.

Samma månad som Scherers artikel publicerades i Time publicerade The New Yorker Ryan Lizzas betydligt längre essay “The Revenge of Rand Paul”.

In some respects, Paul is to Republicans in 2014 what Barack Obama was to Democrats in 2006: the Party’s most prized fund-raiser and its most discussed senator, willing to express opinions unpopular within his party, and capable of energizing younger voters. The Republican National Committee, which in 2008 refused to allow his father, Ron Paul, to speak at its Convention, recently solicited donations by offering supporters a chance to have lunch with Rand Paul.

[…]

Yet, also like Obama at a similar stage in his career, Paul could be hobbled by past associations and statements, especially on race and foreign policy. He has questioned government attempts, including a core provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to address discrimination in the private sector. He has proposed dramatically slashing the Pentagon’s budget and cancelling all foreign aid. Ron Paul ran for President as the nominee of the Libertarian Party in 1988 and as an isolationist Republican in the Presidential primaries of 2008 and 2012. Rand has followed his lead in opposing most U.S. military interventions of the past few decades, aside from the war in Afghanistan.

Many members of the Republican establishment see him as a dorm-room ideologue whose politics are indistinguishable from his father’s. Earlier this year, Mark Salter, who helped run John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign, wrote that Rand’s “foreign policy views, steeped as they are in the crackpot theories that inform his father’s worldview, are so ill-conceived that were he to win the nomination, Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse other than to vote for Hillary Clinton.”

[…]

As with so many aspects of his personal history, Paul approaches the subject of his intellectual influences as though he were defusing a bomb. In his book, he wrote about several libertarian writers he had turned to since high school: Ayn Rand (“one of the most influential critics of government intervention and champions of individual free will”), Hayek (“ ‘The Road to Serfdom’ is a must-read for any serious conservative”), and the Mises disciple Murray Rothbard (“a great influence on my thinking”). In my conversation with him, he shrugged them off.

Ayn Rand was just “one of many authors I like,” he said. “And it’s, like, ‘Oh, because I believe in Ayn Rand I must be an atheist, I must believe in everybody needs to be selfish all the time, and I must believe that Howard Roark is great and Ellsworth Toohey is evil,’ but she’s one of many authors I’ve read. I like Barbara Kingsolver, too.”

Hayek? “I wouldn’t say I’m like some great Hayek scholar.”

Rothbard? “There are many people I’m sure who are more schooled.”

[…]

Rand Paul has spent the past few months often clumsily trying to convince voters that his foreign policy differs from his father’s. Rand is perhaps best known, thus far, for his nearly thirteen-hour filibuster last year to protest the Administration’s use of drones—a tactic that further convinced Republican hawks that he doesn’t share their assessment of the risks posed by terrorism. Over the summer, Paul was under constant attack from rivals, such as Governor Rick Perry, of Texas, who described him as “curiously blind” to the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. As with the criticisms of his past statements on civil rights, Paul felt that he was the victim of a smear campaign. “Unfair criticism from people who have partisan goals,” he told me.

Kritiken kommer knappast mildras framöver. Ju närmare valrörelsen vi kommer ju mer kommer hans idéer att granskas.

Och skulle han vinna partiets nominering väntar demokraternas attacker. Är det något man kan vara säker på så är det att demokraternas kampanjstrateger har en tjock dossier märkt ”Rand Paul – flip-flopper”.

Läs mer: Rand Paul: The Most Interesting Conspiracy Theorist in Washington” av David Corn i Mother Jones är ett bra exempel på vad demokraterna (och republikanska motståndare) kan komma att fokusera på.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine, 10 augusti 2014 och Time, 27 oktober 2014.

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USA | Allt fler har börjat tala om guvernör Chris Christie som republikanernas självklara presidentkandidat. Om man vill ha en chans att vinna vill säga.

Han har i alla fall en klar fördel framför övriga namn som det talas om (t.ex. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio) och det är att han inte är rädd att ta strid med Tea Party-anhängarnas favoriter.

Detta är om inte annat en nödvändighet om en republikansk kandidat skall ha en chans att locka väljare bortom de egna gräsrötterna.

Här nedan är utdrag från två reportage där man följt guvernören och tagit pulsen på hans möjligheter att bli republikanernas frontfigur.

Time 18 nov 2013 US edition

Michael Scherer, Time, skriver:

The Christie for America 2016 calculation goes like this: All Republican nomination contests usually go the same way. Primary voters claim to be big-C Conservatives, but they vote with a small c. After months of carping and griping, after rubber-chicken dinners, purity tests and endless debates, the party always settles on the most viable center-right option who has earned his place in line—Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney. As Christie might say it, the party decides it wants to win.

Christie’s strategy is clear enough, to execute a political coup de main: to try to clear the field (or his side of the field) by coming on very strong at the outset to take up the Establishment real estate. With four or five others (Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and others) battling to become the purist on the right, Christie’s initial goal is simply to be the Electable One. Yes, he may command only 15% of the total GOP electorate at the outset, but in a fractured field, that’s fine with him. If he is lucky, he might win Iowa by a little, New Hampshire by a lot. If he can squeeze by, the big states will love the big guy.

To aid in the effort, Christie will have some significant financial—and logistical—advantages. Sitting governors are much better fundraisers than any other kind of politician. And in a few weeks, Christie is going to supercharge that claim when he takes over command of the Republican Governors Association, which is looking to protect 22 governors who are up for re-election in 2014, including, conveniently enough, the leaders of South Carolina, Florida and Iowa. He will soon be traveling the country, collecting cards and chits and IOUs, all at someone else’s expense. “In the big cities where the GOP money will be raised,” says Wayne Berman, a leading Republican fundraiser and consultant, “Christie is already the default choice.”

From that perch, Christie can raise perhaps $50 million next year and borrow the fundraising networks of every other GOP governor. They will owe him. And together, those networks are worth $250 million. That is Hillary scale, something none of his current challengers can access as easily. And then there is the outside money. In 2012 several billionaires were involved in the draft-Christie movement.

New York augusti 2012

Benjamin Wallace-Wells i tidskriften New York:

We have never had a president as outwardly angry as Christie, but then this country has rarely been as angry as it is now. In the tea-party era, conservative anger has often been channeled by figures such as Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz into a hysteria over very abstract and inflated threats: health-care death panels, the national debt, the specter of a country overrun by illegal immigrants. Christie’s use of anger is very different: It is much more targeted, and therefore potentially much more useful.

The contrast was on display last week in the fight he picked with Rand Paul. The senator from Kentucky, having watched Christie denounce libertarianism, called him the “King of Bacon,” presumably referring both to his pleas for immediate federal help after Hurricane Sandy and to his weight. Christie had pointed out that New Jersey is a “donor state,” taking only 61 cents for every dollar it sends to Washington, while Kentucky takes back $1.51. (No acknowledgment from Christie that this is owed not to New Jersey’s superior character but to its good fortune of existing next to the great economic buoy of Wall Street, while Kentucky is near no economic buoy at all.) “So if Senator Paul wants to start looking at where he is going to cut spending to afford defense,” Christie had said, “maybe he should start looking at cutting the pork-barrel spending he brings home to ­Kentucky.” For Christie, the villain is always specific: not government, not socialism, not impersonal historical forces, but one moron in particular—the teachers union, or Steve Sweeney, or in this case Rand Paul, the libertarian ophthalmologist, high-mindedly denouncing government while his state is on its dole. “He’s not the first politician to try to use me to get attention,” Christie said later, dismissing Paul’s slight. “And I’m sure he won’t be the last.”

What Christie is doing when he starts arguments with other Republicans—and it is telling that what looks very much like a presidential run has begun with a sequence of fights—is offering his party the chance to preserve its anger, while trading in its revolutionaries for a furious institutionalist.

Läs mer: Blogginlägget ”Vem kan utmana demokraterna?”

Tidskriftsomslag: Time (amerikanska utgåvan), 18 november 2013 och New York, 12 augusti 2012.

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KAMPANJ | Tidskriften Time har utsett president Barack Obama till ”Person of the Year” 2012.

Time, 31 december 2012 - 7 januari 2013

I huvudartikeln beskriver Michael Scherer varför Obamakampanjen bestämde sig för att låta förtroendet för presidenten bli huvudtemat i valrörelsen.

To understand how he kept his job, the best place to start is where he did. In early 2011, David Simas, a former registrar of deeds in Taunton, Mass., who had become a senior White House aide, switched on what might be called one of the largest listening posts in U.S. history. For months on end, two or three nights a week, Simas and his team secretly gathered voters in rented rooms across the swing states, eight at a time, the men separated from the women. The Obamans poked at their guinea pigs’ animal spirits, asked for confessions and played word-association games. (Among swing voters, Democrat often elicited Barack Obama, and Republican would yield words like old and backward.) Live feeds of the focus groups were shown on computer screens at campaign headquarters in Chicago. The first discovery Simas made held the keys to the kingdom. “Here is the best thing,” he said of Obama when he went back to home base. “People trust him.”

In an age of lost authority, Obama had managed to maintain his. In group after group, the voters told the researchers they believed the President was honest, lived an admirable personal life and was trying to do the right thing. “Here’s what I heard for 18 months,” Simas says. “‘I trust his values. I think he walked into the worst situation of any President in 50 years. And you know what? I am disappointed that things haven’t turned around.’ But there was always that feeling of ‘I am willing to give this guy a second shot.’”

In different rooms, behind different one-way mirrors, Republicans made the same discovery. “There was almost nothing that would stick to this guy, because they just liked him personally,” Katie Packer Gage, Romney’s deputy campaign manager, said after the election. Most of those who had voted for Obama in 2008 were still proud of that vote and did not see the President as partisan or ideological. When Republicans channeled their party’s many furies, attacking Obama as an extremist, it backfired among swing-state voters. “The kind of traditional negative campaign that the Obama campaign did was not available to our side,” explained Steven Law, who oversaw more than $100 million in anti-Obama advertising for American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.

So even before the first ad ran, Obama had an edge and a way of framing the race. While Romney tried to focus on Obama’s weak economic record, Obama made his race about confidence. The most important poll question in Chicago was, Which candidate is looking out for voters like you? “What we saw these undecided voters doing for literally a year,” Simas says, “looking at two very different people outside fundamental message, tactics and strategy, is, they were making a very trust-based assessment between Obama and Romney.”

This became the through line of the brutal and at times unfair Obama attacks on Romney — the cracks about car elevators, the specious mention of his potentially felonious Securities and Exchange Commission filings, the false claim that he supported an abortion ban without a rape exception, the endless harping on a Swiss bank account once held in his wife’s name. It all spoke to a central message built around trust: One man, despite his failures, had voters like you in mind. The other man, by contrast, knew how to make a lot of money for people you will never meet.

Of course, Romney turned out to be Obama’s biggest ally in that narrative. But back at campaign headquarters, Simas slapped a poster on his office wall that told an even bigger story. It had three lines: two showing the rise of per capita GDP and productivity in the U.S. since 1992 and one flat line showing household income. He opened all his presentations with the same chart. “Above it was just a phrase from a focus group — ‘I’m working harder and falling behind,’” Simas says. “That was the North Star. Everything we did and everything we said was derivative of that sentiment.” The words of the faceless focus-group participant passed from the rented room to the computer screens in Chicago and eventually right into the President’s stump speech. “As long as there are families who are working harder and harder but falling further behind,” Obama told crowds, “our work is not yet done.”

Bild: Tidskriftsomslagets foto är taget av Nadav Kander. Numret är Time den 31 december 2012 – 7 januari 2013.

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