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Posts Tagged ‘Newsweek’

VAL 2016 | Kurt Eichenwald på tidskriften Newsweek tycks vara specialiserad på att granska Donald Trumps affärsverksamhet. Här nedan följer två längre artiklar.

newsweek-2-sep-2016

The Art of the Bad Deal”:

Lost contracts, bankruptcies, defaults, deceptions and indifference to investors—Trump’s business career is a long, long list of such troubles, according to regulatory, corporate and court records, as well as sworn testimony and government investigative reports. Call it the art of the bad deal, one created by the arrogance and recklessness of a businessman whose main talent is self-promotion.

newsweek-23-sep-2016

The Man Who Sold the World”:

Much of the public believes Trump is a hugely successful developer, a television personality and a failed casino operator. But his primary business deals for almost a decade have been a quite different endeavor. The GOP nominee is essentially a licensor who leverages his celebrity into streams of cash from partners from all over the world. The business model for Trump’s company started to change around 2007, after he became the star of NBC’s The Apprentice, which boosted his national and international fame. Rather than constructing Trump’s own hotels, office towers and other buildings, much of his business involved striking deals with overseas developers who pay his company for the right to slap his name on their buildings. (The last building constructed by Trump with his name on it is the Trump-SoHo hotel and condominium project, completed in 2007.)

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 12 september 2016 och den 23 september 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Tre tidskrifter har inför folkomröstningen i Storbritannien bjudit in representanter för Vote Remain och Vote Leave att argumentera för sin sak.

Newsweek 24 juni 2016

I Newsweek är det Iain Duncan Smith och Sadiq Khan som står för argumenten.

Duncan Smith, som säger Ja till Brexit, var partiledare för Conservative Party mellan 2001 och 2003 och minister för ”work and pensions” i David Camerons regering mellan åren 2010-2016.

Sadiq Khan, från Labour, valdes till Londons borgmästare i maj och anser att Storbritannien mår bäst av att stanna kvar i EU.

Först Duncan Smiths argument i korthet:

President Barack Obama is just one of the many international leaders to urge the people of the United Kingdom to remain members of the European Union. But in doing so he is asking British voters to accept policies and institutions that the American people would not accept for themselves. I’m not just guessing that this is the case. An opinion poll by YouGov found that only 29 percent of Americans would agree to Mexicans having an automatic right to live and work in the U.S. in return for Americans enjoying such a right in Mexico. Even fewer—19 percent—supported the idea of a joint Canadian-Mexican-American high court that would be the ultimate decider of human rights questions. Only 33 percent supported a “South and North American Environmental Agency” that would regulate the fishing industry across the Americas.

As members of the 28-state EU, the British people are subject to the decisions of a supranational and highly politicized court; they watch as jobs in their neighborhoods are taken by Romanians, Bulgarians and other Europeans; and they also find that bureaucrats in Brussels rather than elected representatives in the House of Commons decide all key environmental, fishing and agricultural matters. Britain is only a fraction of the democracy that it was in 1973, when we joined the European Economic Community.

Och här är några av Khans motargument:

Whether it’s analysis from the British Treasury, the Bank of England, the Confederation of British Industry, the International Monetary Fund or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, it is clear that remaining part of the EU will be better for our economy, better for trade, better for businesses—both large and small—and better for exports.

Almost half of everything we sell to the rest of the world we sell to Europe. In London alone, we export more than £12 billion every year to Europe, and we are home to the European headquarters of 60 percent of the world’s non-European global businesses.

Access to EU markets is crucial to the success of the City of London, and for every £1 we put into the EU, we get almost £10 back through increased trade, investment, low prices and jobs.

I The Spectator har Matthew Parris och Daniel Hannan plockat fram sina sex bästa argument för och emot EU-medlemskapet. Debattörerna har dessutom fått möjlighet att replikera på varandras inlägg.

The Spectator 11 June 2016

Parris är kolumnist för tidskriften och dagstidningen The Times. Hannan sitter i EU-parlamentet för Conservative PartyParris skriver:

Like almost everyone, I’ve piled angrily into this fight. But as the debate nears resolution I feel ashamed of all my furious certainties. In the end, none of us knows, and we shouldn’t pretend to. So I’ll try now to express more temperately six thoughts that persist as the early rage subsides.

From the first three you’ll see that I’m beginning to understand that for many the EU is now a whipping boy. ‘Europe’ has become for many what in other ages Rome, or communist plots, or America, or international Jewry, or big business represented: a conspiracy against us, an explanation. In the words of Cavafy’s poem ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’, ‘a kind of solution’. Europe has become a punchbag for our fears and frustrations. Hating the EU has become exciting, brave, a source of self-affirmation, a proxy.

Daniel Hannan inleder med att skriva:

For me, as for so many people, it’s a heart versus head issue. I’m emotionally drawn to Europe. I speak French and Spanish and have lived and worked all over the Continent. I’ve made many friends among the Brussels functionaries. Lots of them, naturally, are committed Euro-federalists. Yet they are also decent neighbours, loyal companions and generous hosts. I feel twinges of unease about disappointing them, especially the anglophiles. But, in the end, the head must rule the heart.

Remainers often tell us to think of our children, and I’m doing precisely that. I am thinking, not just about the EU as it is now, but about the diminished role that a surly, introverted Europe will have in their lifetime. And that makes my decision very easy.

Standpoint har låtit de två konservativa parlamentsledamöterna Oliver Letwin och Michael Gove stå för argumenten.

Standpoint..

Letwin, förespråkare för Vote Remain, tar i sitt inlägg som utgångspunkt det avtal som premiärminister David Cameron förhandlade fram med EU inför folkomröstningen.

The binding, international law decision that he agreed with the other heads of government in Brussels a few months ago provides explicitly for some member states to form voluntarily a full political, fiscal and monetary union. But it also makes it explicitly clear that this will not apply to other states (including, explicitly, the UK).

The agreement goes on to state explicitly that the phrase “ever closer union” does not provide the European Court with a legal basis for expansive interpretations of the treaties, that it is not the ambition of the UK to form part of an ever closer union, and that the phrase “ever closer union” therefore does not apply to the UK.

Second, the agreement acknowledges, for the first time, that the EU is and will remain permanently a multi-currency zone. And, to make a reality of this, it establishes a new set of protocols governing the relationship between those countries within the eurozone and those countries that maintain their own currencies.

These changes are fundamental. Together, they create the opportunity for a new Europe of concentric circles to emerge — a Europe in which Britain can do exactly what very many of us have wanted for decades: namely, for Britain to be a permanent, full member of the outer circle, the free trade single market, while some other countries travel towards a different destination as members of the inner circle of political, fiscal and monetary union.

Även Michael Gove, Vote Leave, argumenterar utifrån avtalet med Bryssel. Gove är minister i Camerons regering.

We have to be honest about the lack of reform. The deal with other EU nations doesn’t return a single power from Brussels to nation states, doesn’t reduce wasteful EU spending by a penny, doesn’t get rid of a single job-destroying regulation or display even a glimmer of a scintilla of a recognition that the EU might be anything other than a Garden of Eden from which no one should wish to be excluded.

But what makes the deal particularly problematic for us in Britain is not just failure to reform the EU this time round, but the surrender of our veto over future changes.

The deal specifies that countries such as Britain which may not want to see further integration will give up their ability to stop others; they “will not create obstacles to but [will] facilitate such further deepening”.

It has always been critical to the defence of our interests in Europe that we can block other countries at critical moments and make sure our needs are met before others can make new arrangements. The PM made good use of that power in 2011 when he vetoed plans for further integration that didn’t take account of Britain’s needs. Under the new Brussels deal, that power would be lost.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 24 juni 2016; The Spectator den 11 juni 2016; Standpoint juni 2016.

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VAL 2016 | De har gjorts otaliga försök att jämföra Donald Trump med Mussolini och Hitler. Mest verkar detta handla om önsketänkande från motståndare.

Nam Y. Huh - AP

Poängen tycks vara att försöka få jämförelserna att fästa så att det skall bli lättare att mobilisera väljarna mot honom inför presidentvalet. Om alla ser honom som en blivande diktator kommer ingen att vilja rösta på honom.

Men Matthew Copper har tidigare i t.ex. Newsweek visat att denna oro – äkta eller låtsad – inte har mycket med verkligheten att göra. Detta även om Trump själv skulle ha tankar på att göra sig till USA:s diktator.

Det amerikanska systemet är uppbyggt just för att hindra att något parti eller politiker tillskansar sig någon diktatorisk makt.

Om Barack Obama har haft svårt att få igenom sin politik under snart åtta år finns det knappast någon anledning att tro att en president Trump skulle få det lättare.

Om något så har det politiska systemet under Obama snarare anklagats för att vara trögt och oförmöget att kunna hantera de problem som landet står inför. Kongressen har mer eller mindre effektivt lyckats hindra och obstruera för att minimera presidentens beslut.

Just p.g.a. att den dömande, lagstiftande och beslutande makten är skilda åt är risken för att beslut som utmanar konstitutionen skall gå igenom liten i USA.

Och varför skulle kongressens politiker välja att lägga sig platt på marken p.g.a. Trump? Är det någon som tror att politiker frivilligt skulle lämna över makt och inflytande till Trump bara för han säger det? I vilken demokrati brukar det ske?

Men det betyder inte att man inte kan dra vissa lärdomar av den personlighetskult som skapats kring Trump.

Hans förmåga att locka människor till massmöten är t.ex. intressant när man tittar på personer som just Hitler och Mussolini. (Men när det gäller massmöten påminner han kanske mer om Barack Obama än någon av dagens populister på högerkanten eller gårdaganes diktatorer.)

Emily Cadei har för Newsweek talat med en rad forskare och akademiker om deras syn på Trumps valkampanj:

The lesson from this race: A strong cult of personality can trump ideology. And that’s been proved by generations of demagogues. The support behind Italy’s Benito Mussolini was “more about the leader than…about the party or the ideology,” bypassing or even upending the traditional party structures, says Arfon Rees, a specialist in Soviet and Russian history at the U.K.’s University of Birmingham.

There are other parallels, says Joseph Sassoon, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. When Trump says he’s his own best adviser and has no speechwriters, “this is really a prototype of Saddam or Qaddafi or Nasser…the wanting to control the language of their speeches,” says Sassoon, referencing former leaders of Iraq, Libya and Egypt. “An essential component of the cult of personality is it cannot be shared with anyone.”

German philosopher Max Weber coined the term  charismatic authority to describe leaders whose power is built on their “exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character,” as opposed to the rule of law or simply brute force. Many may not regard Trump the candidate in an admirable light, but to his followers, his business success and his personal wealth — which freed him from the unseemly campaign fundraising dance of his primary rivals — make him inviolable. American politicians are “all bought and paid for by somebody,” 62-year-old Trump supporter Nick Glaub said outside the suburban Cincinnati Trump rally. “The only person that isn’t is that man right there,” said Glaub, gesturing to the community center where the real estate mogul had just spoken.

Trump’s charismatic authority stems from this belief that he is above politics-as-usual, says Roger Eatwell, a politics professor at Britain’s University of Bath. And it goes beyond his reality-TV fame. “Celebrity…tends to be a fairly passing phenomenon, and it doesn’t tend to be a very emotional phenomenon,” Eatwell explains. But Trump’s campaign offers something deeper: “a sense of identification.”

[…]

Trump frequently points out that he is bringing into the political process people who rarely vote—those who have been, in one way or another, marginalized. A  Quinnipiac University poll released April 5 shows the depths of alienation of Trump supporters: While 62 percent of all U.S. voters agree that their “beliefs and values are under attack,” that number soars to 91 percent among Trump backers. And 90 percent of Trump supporters agreed that “public officials don’t care much what people like me think.”

[…]

A common way populist leaders burnish their anti-elite bona fides is through a lowbrow speaking style. Trump’s  third- or fourth-grade language level has made him a media punch line, but he’s hardly the first politician to use little words to gain mass appeal. Many of the most successful populists “talk in everyday speech to their target audience,” says Eatwell. Eschewing upper-middle-class academic sentence construction for short, declarative “common” phrasing “helps say they’re not part of the system,” he explains. This is a fundamental element of Trump’s appeal.

And it’s not just the speaking style that is simplified. Rees says a common theme of the right-wing regimes he studies is their simplification of the entire political discourse, “reducing it to basic binary opposites, of black and white,” and, of course, of us vs. them. Psychological theory holds that targeting the “other” helps a group construct its own identity: “You say…what you are not,” as Eatwell puts it. For Trump, the “other” is immigrants—Mexican and Muslim, in particular. In Nazi Germany, it was the Jews.

Rees sums up the mindset as: “We don’t really need complexity. We know what the problem is. We know what the solution is. All we need is the will to do it.”

Bild: Nam Y. Huh/AP. Trump vid ett valmöte på Wexford County Civic Center den 4 mars i Cadillac, Michigan. ”Even the experience of a Trump rally feels different from normal campaign event, something more akin to a rock concert or a mega-church prayer session than a political event.” 

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VAL 2016 | Inom Torypartiet kampanjar man idag inte bara för Vote Remain eller Vote Leave utan också om vem man vill se som nästa premiärminister.

Newsweek 20 maj 2016

Även om kampanjen för att positionera Boris Johnson, partiets populäre tidigare Londonborgmästare, inte sker allt för öppet kan alla ändå se tecken på att striden pågår bakom kulisserna.

Johnsons strategi tycks gå ut på att bara kritisera David Cameron när det gäller hans inställning i folkomröstningen. I övriga frågor har Johnson intagit rollen som den lojale partianhängaren som inte kritiserar sin premiärminister.

Isabel Oakeshott, political editor-at-largeDaily Mail, har skrivit en artikel i Newsweek om rivaliteten mellan de två och kampanjen kring Cameron och Boris Johnson.

Johnson publicly declared he would be campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union, in direct opposition to Cameron, who called the referendum but is backing the Remain campaign.

Johnson’s announcement—on the issue that has repeatedly divided the Conservative Party over the past three decades—added personal drama to the historic decision facing the British electorate on June 23: whether to remain part of the economic and political bloc that formed in the wake of two catastrophic wars in Europe to bring peace and prosperity to the continent. The now-public contest between Johnson and Cameron will result in either the defeat and possible resignation of a sitting British prime minister or a potentially fatal blow to the ambitions of his rival, Johnson, who may be the most intellectually capable and popular politician of his generation.

”The last thing I wanted was to go against  David Cameron or the government,” Johnson told reporters gathered outside his home on February 21, the day he made his public declaration.

[…]

The prime minister had good reason to believe his entreaties to Johnson might work. Johnson is multilingual and fundamentally internationalist in outlook. Privately, his doubts about the merits of the EU were usually outweighed by his appreciation of its benefits. But he wavered. A friend of Johnson’s, who wants Britain to stay in the EU, says Johnson once told him, ”I have to warn you, one day I might say we should come out of Europe.”

After Cameron’s election victory in 2015, the prime minister promised to negotiate a new relationship between Britain and the EU, one that gave Britain more power over its own policies. Still conflicted, Johnson waited until Cameron had concluded his dealmaking before making up his mind. In the end, it was Johnson’s wife, Marina Wheeler, who helped persuade him that the prime minister’s deal did not reclaim enough British sovereignty.

If Johnson ends up on the losing side of the referendum it would be a blow—but, in an odd twist, he could end up benefiting from the defeat, because in the eyes of many Conservative MPs he will have been on the right side of the argument. The next few years might then play out like this: Cameron stays on as leader and prime minister until 2019 (the process for choosing a new leader takes several months), or he might quit earlier; a leadership contest takes place; and Johnson defeats Cameron’s key ally, George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, who is less popular with the Conservative legislators. (A March poll by YouGov showed 43 percent of Conservative Party members backed Johnson to be the next leader, while just 22 percent backed Osborne.)

In that scenario, Johnson would likely lead the Conservatives to an election victory in 2020, over a Labour Party that has weakened since its catastrophic defeat in 2015. That would bring Eton’s tally of prime ministers to 20.

Publicly, Johnson shrugs off the suggestion that he is fixated on getting to 10 Downing Street. In truth, his campaign for that job seems to be well underway. ”Low-key and loyal to Cameron” is how an insider describes his strategy. By ”loyal,” the insider means that Johnson is not making it his business to challenge or undermine the prime minister on subjects other than Europe. His outriders—a handful of MPs working, very unofficially, on Johnson’s behalf in an attempt to improve his prospects—are assiduously avoiding the small but significant faction of anti-EU Conservative MPs who detest the prime minister and would like him gone at any cost. At this delicate early stage, Johnson can’t come over as too grabby.

He is unlikely to find an easy path to the most powerful job in Britain. Osborne, who has played Cameron’s understudy for years, will fight him hard. And while Tory MPs like a winner—and even Johnson’s political enemies acknowledge his electoral successes—he hasn’t cultivated his colleagues. During his long years in City Hall, he spent little time in the House of Commons tea room—networking, sharing gossip, forging friendships and alliances. Colleagues who envy his career or disapprove of his foibles and indiscretions are unlikely to hold back from damaging his chances when they can.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 20 maj 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Mycket har skrivits om Donald Trump. En hel del har varit direkt hysteriskt och verklighetsfrämmande.

Newsweek 25 mars 2016

Det har gjorts få balanserade försök att ge en realistisk bild av vad Trum skulle kunna åstadkomma om han verkligen valdes till president.

Istället har vi matats med fåniga försök att jämföra Trump med Adolf Hitler. Och precis som alla republikanska politiker försöker Trumps anhängare jämföra kandidaten med Ronald Reagan. Båda har lika fel.

Det amerikanska politiska systemet ger inte presidenten fria händer att göra som han eller hon vill. Presidentens makt är inte oinskränkt. Inte ens när det gäller inom försvars- och utrikespolitiken.

Detta borde vara uppenbart för alla som exempelvis studerat Barack Obamas bataljer med kongressen under de senaste två mandatperioderna.

Alla som är intresserade av amerikansk politik borde därför läsa Matthew Coppers analys i Newsweek. Han ger en realistisk bild av Trumps möjligheter att få igenom den politik som han baserar sin kampanj på.

Om Trumps potential skall jämföras med någon historisk föregångare så är det inte, enligt Copper, någon auktoritär diktator utan snarare de tidigare presidenterna Dwight D. Eisenhower och Jimmy Carter.

Demokraten Carter anses allmänt vara en av de mer mediokra presidenterna i modern tid.

Och man får gå tillbaka till republikanen Eisenhower för att hitta någon som helt saknade politisk erfarenhet innan de blev valda.

Även Trump saknar politisk erfarenhet. Detta är en anledning till hans popularitet men det kommer också påverka hans administrations effektivitet om han blir vald. Precis som det påverkade Eisenhowers och Obama idag.

Copper skriver:

The comedian Louis C.K. wrote to his fans that “Trump is Hitler,” another “funny and refreshing dude with a weird comb-over.” On the left, The Washington Post and Slate columnists have likened Trump to a fascist. In a case of rare agreement across party lines, conservatives have used a similar description. Conservative author Matt Lewis has called Trump an avatar of white-identity politics. And the haters have a lot of fodder. The mogul began his campaign saying Mexico was sending the U.S. “rapists,” then proposed a loopy and bigoted ban on Muslim immigration “until we figure out what the hell is going on” (whatever that means). Trump continues to lambaste the media at his rallies, referring to them as “the worst.” At least two journalists say they’ve been roughed up at Trump events without provocation—one of them is a woman who writes for a conservative publication and claims it was Trump’s campaign manager who left her bruised, a charge Trump’s people vigorously deny. This isn’t the Beer Hall Putsch, but it is ugly.

[…]

Trump isn’t Hitler. He isn’t a fascist either—although he has, despite a career of deal-making, the my-way-or-the-highway proclivities of a Latin American strongman, which would be worrisome if America were Bolivia and not an enduring democracy. […] He’s also not a savior. Due to his solipsistic personality and vague, unworkable policies, he could never be what he promises to be if elected. But that doesn’t make him the sum of all fears.

The unspectacular truth is that a Trump presidency would probably be marked by the quotidian work of so many other presidents—trying to sell Congress and the public on proposals while fighting off not only a culture of protest but also the usual swarm of lobbyists who kill any interesting idea with ads and donations. […] Trump is no match for the American political system, with its three branches of government. The president, as famed political scientist Richard Neustadt once said, has to take an inherently weak position and use the powers of persuasion to get others to do what he wants.

Could Trump blow up those legendary checks and balances and make America a fascist state? Oh, please. …] Trump’s more likely to end up like Jimmy Carter—a poor craftsman of legislation and a crushing disappointment to his supporters. Since World War II, only Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have left office with high approval numbers. Presidents generally end their tenure not with a bullet in a bunker but with a whimper.

[…]

But to actually accomplish even modest legislative goals, let alone become a 21st-century führer, is beyond the mogul’s ken. Philosopher Leo Strauss coined the term reductio ad Hitlerum, the common tendency to reduce all arguments to Hitler, or to always see an action leading to Nazism. In its more extreme forms, you get statements like “You-know-who was also a vegetarian.” Trump’s displays of bigotry during the primary, most notably his call for a “total and complete shutdown” on Muslims entering the U.S., are abhorrent, but they don’t put the America on a fast track toward the Third Reich—not unless you believe Congress, business, the armed forces, the judiciary and so on are all willing to start setting up internment camps. The U.S., with its unemployment rate of less than 5 percent and minuscule inflation, is a country where retirees try to get better yield, not the hyperinflation Weimar Republic that gave birth to Hitler. Fascism, with its totalitarian control of society and the economy—“Nazi” was short for National Socialists—doesn’t describe Trump’s views, even if former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, throw around the term fascist when bad-mouthing the billionaire.

[…]

But one thing we know is that Trump is used to having his way. Eisenhower, the last president who had never held elective office before entering the White House, might be the closest thing we have to a useful comparison. Many worried that the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe would flounder in a system where his commands were not instantly met with a salute. ”He’ll sit there all day saying, ‘Do this, do that,’ and nothing will happen,” lamented Harry Truman as he readied to turn over the presidency to the five-star general. “Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the military. He’ll find it very frustrating.”

It’s extremely unlikely anyone will ever utter the phrase “poor Donald.” And we should allow for the possibility that, like Eisenhower, he would be a successful president. His business has its eye-rolling qualities (mmm, Trump Steaks), but he does cut deals and, in case you hadn’t heard, even wrote a book about it. Trump has positive qualities that detractors should recognize: ideological flexibility, an ability to negotiate, great communication skills. However, they seem easily overwhelmed by his obvious flaws: bigoted policies that target religions and utterances that slander Mexicans, a brash and imperious style, a tendency to hold grudges long beyond their sell-by date. Ultimately, Eisenhower’s weak grip on Washington was a contributing factor to the rise of anti-Communist crusader Senator Joseph McCarthy.

[…]

It’s more than likely Trump would wind up being just another president on the alphabetical roll call, nestled between the memorable Truman and the utterly forgettable John Tyler, distinguished more by his hue, his bullying and his encouragement of other bullies than by any lasting damage done to a republic that has endured far worse.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek, 25 mars 2016.

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USA | Enligt The Economist uppskattar många Donald Trumps valkampanj för dess ”skunk-at-the-picnic” karaktär.

Newsweek 14 aug 2015

Trumps sätt att tala och agera uppskattas av en viss typ av väljare som är ilskna på det politiska etablissemanget i Washington. Många tycker att politikerna från båda partierna bara lovar runt och håller tunt.

Men för de väljare som är mindre imponerade framstår Trump mer som sinnebilden av republikanernas ständigt återkommande freakshow när det nu återigen är dags att nominera en presidentkandidat.

Många oroar sig för att Trump skapar ett så pass negativt intryck av republikanerna att det kommer att spilla över på övriga kandidater.

Bill Powell följde Trump en tid under den pågående valrörelsen för tidskriften Newsweek. Powell är ingen politisk reporter men har bevakat Trumps affärsverksamhet under trettio års tid.

För att försöka förstå de opinionsmässiga framgångarna för The Donald har han också talat med Trumps politiska rådgivare Roger Stone. Stone har till och från varit Trumps rådgivare och lobbyist under tjugo års tid.

To try to understand it, I turned to one of the most fabled political operatives of the last 40 years: the famous (or, depending on your politics, infamous) Roger Stone. As a young man, Stone worked for Richard Nixon when he was in the White House, after being hired by Jeb Magruder, who went to jail for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. Stone was part of the so-called dirty tricks team, which did clever/evil things like make donations to political opponents in the name of nonexistent organizations, such as the “Young Socialist Alliance.”

[…]

His core tenet as a campaign adviser has always been, “Attack, attack, attack—never defend,” and Trump is a more than willing pupil. You don’t grow up in the New York real estate business and not know how to fight. His instinct is to fight. Trump tells me that he hasn’t initiated the campaign fire this round—“Not once, Bill!”—but he returns it, always with a heavy bit of topspin, in his inimitable and endlessly entertaining style. He’s gone after not only Bush but also Lindsey Graham (“Every time I see him on TV, he wants to bomb somebody!”), Rick Perry (“He bought a pair of glasses so he could look smart!”) and Walker (the Wisconsin governor who Trump, as of late July, trailed in Iowa). “Wisconsin,” he snarled the other day, “is in turmoil!” Hell, these days, Trump even goes after the pundits who have the temerity to criticize him. “George Will,” he declared on the radio, “is a dope!”

[…]

Stone is more than happy to fill in my blanks. He starts with the point everyone makes: A significant percentage of the American public is really angry, and they hate the political class, whom they see as phonies who don’t “do what they say they’re going to do,” as Stone puts it. “I’ve never seen the voters this sour in my life, and they are responding to someone they see as authentic. Who’s a billionaire, says what he thinks, doesn’t need the Koch brothers’ or anyone else’s money, and yet still comes across as a regular guy. Compare that with, say, Mitt Romney.

“And the thing of it is, that’s what Donald is. He is a regular guy. He’s the opposite of a phony. He is what he is, and he has always been this way.”

[…]

For one thing, Stone tells me—and political reporters I respect, like Robert Costa of The Washington Post, have reported—that the Trump campaign has hired very credible operatives in the key early states. That suggests this is not just a lark, a clever way for Donald Trump to extend his brand even further.

And there’s more. Listen, again, to Stone, and what I’ll call his The Apprentice theory of politics. For 15 seasons, The Apprentice was a popular TV show. “Millions of people watched it,” Stone says, and what did all those people see on The Apprentice? “They saw a guy in a blue suit in a red tie, a guy who looks presidential, sitting in a high-backed chair. They see a guy in control. A guy making decisions. He appears thoughtful. He mulls things for a few seconds” before deciding whether he should tell someone, “You’re fired!”

The Apprentice, Stone says, “transformed Donald’s image for good.”

I’m reeling a bit as he lays this out. “Wait a second,” I say. “Because he’s shown mulling things ‘for a few seconds,’ a lot of people think he can be president?”

“Yes.”

[…]

But then comes this: “You know,” Stone says, “I worked for a guy they used to say the same thing about. That he didn’t know enough.’’

Oh no, I’m thinking. Please don’t do it, Roger! Please don’t compare Trump with…

“That he was just an actor.”

Oh God.

“And he turned out to be the most consequential president of our lifetime.”

Yes, folks, Donald Trump is the new Ronald Reagan. You read it here first.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 14 augusti 2015.

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ANALYS | I Newsweek berättar Tony Blair om bl.a. sin syn på de problem som demokratier runt om i världen idag står inför.

Newsweek - April 17 2015

En intressant detalj är hans kritik mot hur många regeringar fungerar idag är att de verkar tro att kommunikation kan ersätta behovet av att leda utifrån sin övertygelse.

Innan man vågar ta beslut måste man försöka utröna medborgarnas åsikter innan man vågar fatta några egna beslut – vad Blair kallar “governing by Twitter”.

Detta är inte minst intressant eftersom Blairs tid i Downing Street just utmärktes av ett dagligt behov av att kommunicera minsta lilla, äkta eller påhittade, nyhet man kunde finna.

Det var under Blairs tid som spin och spin doctor blev skällsord för att beskriva hur hans team fungerade vid makten.

Alex Perry skriver:

On 4 December Blair wrote an essay in The New York Times headlined: “Is democracy dead?” He began by stating that democracy was certainly “not in good shape”. US politics were deadlocked in partisanship. European politicians were not delivering a return to growth. The democratic Arab Spring had been largely outmanoeuvred by the old regimes. Democracy was failing, he wrote, and, worse, the challenges before it – extremism, financial crisis, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea – were rising.

Blair had sharpened his ideas about leadership and the failings of democracy in the years since he left power. Democracy, he now concluded, faced an “efficacy challenge”. “Slow, bureaucratic and weak,” it was too often “failing its citizens” and “failing to deliver”. The price was grave, and apparent. Without effective action by democratic governments to stem it, volatility and uncertainty were spreading. Public fear and disillusionment was stoking the return of the far Right in Europe and the United States. “Suddenly, to some, Putinism – the cult of the strong leader who goes in the direction he pleases, seemingly contemptuous of opposition – has its appeal,” wrote Blair. “If we truly believe in democracy, the time has come to improve it.” Every few years, democracy was about the people’s vote. But most of the time, it was about their elected representatives harnessing the machinery of government to effect change on their behalf. Attempts to be a cipher for popular opinion Blair dismissed as “governing by Twitter”. Leaders had to lead.

[…]

“This is a shocking thing to say,” said Blair, “but in modern politics, if you are spending 30% to 40% of your time on your real core priorities, I think you’re lucky. I can think of political leaders and systems who are lucky if they get 5%.” Agendas were more packed than ever, crises came ever thicker and faster and yet leaders were spending all their time “communicating”. The core functions of government were being forgotten, Blair said. All but gone was any time to consider “the big questions”. “You know,” said Blair. “Where are we going? What are we trying to do here? What’s it all about?” Blair viewed the resulting paralysis with disdain. “The wheels are spinning and the vehicle is moving” but the result was often just “driving round in circles”.

Blair said that many veteran leaders agreed “the whole business of government . . . has just got to change radically to be effective”. If politics as usual wasn’t working, then the pragmatist’s response had to be to search for answers outside it. “Democracy is a way of deciding the decision-makers, but it is not a substitute for making the decision,” he wrote in the Guardian in 2013. “Democratic government doesn’t on its own mean effective government. Efficacy is the challenge.”

In Egypt this March, Blair went further, praising the military regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, which has restored some stability but at a price of torturing and killing opponents and imprisoning journalists. “Yes, democracy is important, but democracy is not on its own sufficient,” said Blair. “You also need efficacy. You need effective government taking effective decisions. I don’t think you have to be authoritarian. But you have to be direct.”

[…]

His own method in power had been to study an issue, canvass a wide spectrum of opinion, even listen to the press and hold a public referendum; then note the debate, thank its participants, come to his own conclusions, and lead. “It wasn’t that I didn’t have doubt or hesitation or uncertainty,” he said. “You can’t be sure. But I’m for taking that big decision. It’s less to do with certainty than a big solution to a big problem.”

Blair was saying there was a time for talk and a time for action – and that a leader’s duty was to stay the course. “I decided a long time ago that it’s about whether I’m doing the right thing or the wrong thing,” he said. “If it’s the right thing I’m doing, if I’m doing what I think is right, then I should be doing it even though people disagreed, even if I am being attacked for it. If you always worry about why there is so much static, if you live your life by that, you end up not doing very much.”

[…]

Blair accepted that his views could be antagonistic to the democracy he wanted to improve. Partly, he said, that was the inherent tension between executive power and people power. A leader would always face dissent, on any issue. His opponents’ fury was “completely understandable” and they were “absolutely entitled” to their views, he said. But that didn’t make them right. And that meant, obviously, that the results-oriented leader shouldn’t take these views into account. Opposition was the price paid by true leaders. Weathering the storm was the test of them.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek, 17 april 2015.

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