Posts Tagged ‘Presidentvalskampanj’

VAL 2016 | Enligt Mark Salter, veteran från två presidentvalskampanjer, är Donald Trump den förste kandidat som han velat ”punsch in the face”.

Esquire US February 2016

I samma nummer som Esquire publicerade sin stora intervju med Trump öppnade tidskriften med denna attack från Salter som också varit John McCains politiska rådgivare under många år.

I’ve always distrusted people who never question their assumptions or test their opinions against their critics’ arguments. I believe empathy is the starting point of wisdom, and imagining things from an opponent’s point of view is essential to solving problems in a closely divided polity.

Yet on the subject of Donald Trump, my mind is closed. Slammed shut. Triple-bolted. Sealed like a tomb.


There have been lots of candidates in the past I’ve disagreed with, even loathed. There’s only one I’ve wanted to punch in the face as he’s doing one of his pursed-lips, chin-tilting Il Duce impersonations.


He promises to make America great again and rejects the ideals and decency that made us great in the first place. Trump isn’t a fascist. He just says stupid, offensive things, seems unaware we have a Bill of Rights, and surrounds himself with aides who appear to have graduated first in their class at the Baghdad Bob School of Awesome Ass Kissing. Fascism is an ideology. Self-aggrandizement isn’t.

Självupphöjelse är kanske ingen traditionell strategi för att vinna väljarnas sympatier men det har knappast skadat Trump så här långt.

Att det blir ett mindre användbart kampanjverktyg i en valkampanj mot Hillary Clinton är däremot mer troligt. Då måste Trump nämligen också försöka vinna missnöjda demokrater och independents.

Läs mer: Scott Raabs intervju med Donald Trump i Esquire.

Tidskriftsomslag: Esquire (US), februari 2016.

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USA | Känslan att Hillary Clinton inte entusiasmerar väljarna har tilltagit sedan utmanaren Bernie Sanders har börjat locka stora skaror.

The New York Times-July 19-2015

Lösningen, enligt hennes campaign manager Robby Mook, är att låta Clinton få den tid hon behöver ute på fältet för att väljarna skall se henne som en historisk chans att kunna välja USA:s första kvinnliga president.

Detta skall kombineras med att väljarna får se en Hillary som gärna framhäver sig själv som en riktig medelsvensson som delar den vanlige amerikanens erfarenheter och vardag.

Detta är just så motsägelsefullt som det låter. Men konstigare kampanjupplägg har varit framgångsrika i amerikanska presidentvalskampanjer.

Tillsammans med en välfylld kampanjkassan, kalla nerver och ett målinriktad kampanjupplägg skall fixa valsegern.

Mark Leibovich rapporterade från hennes kampanj för The New York Times Magazine:

Hillary Clinton is private and guarded by nature, and three decades of being inspected like an exotic species has made her even more so. But right now, in the early days of what will be a 19-month campaign for the White House, she is trying to share and expound on her experi­ences, to project some greater measure of herself, big and small.


These are things Hillary Clinton has been talking about as she has undertaken the messy practice of what political types refer to as ‘‘reintroducing’’ — or, in Clinton’s case, re-re-re-reintroducing.

Still, all those introductions and forays into hostile territories have left her with battle scars. She is wary to a point where the control-freak tendencies of her campaign, especially with regard to how she is portrayed in the press, have reinforced an established story line: that she is sealed off and inaccessible and not like the rest of us. ‘‘DO YOU HAVE A PERCEPTION PROBLEM?’’ a reporter shouted out at her during Clinton’s last visit to New Hampshire, not quite the icebreaker you’d wish for when making reintroductions. As a rule, the media is not Clinton’s preferred confidant.


From the outset of the campaign, any hope that Clinton might unveil a more freewheeling style in keeping with the more unplugged sensibilities of today’s political and media culture lasted for all of, well, never. Signs of apparent spontaneity and whimsy have been nonexistent — she has been largely steadfast in avoiding interviews, with a campaign team that can convey a heavy-handed preoccupation with control.


Clinton’s enterprise has a grind-it-out quality reminiscent of Obama’s re-election strategy of 2012: cover your base, attack often. Her team will emphasize data, targeting and field operations — all specialties Mook sharpened as a wunderkind state director for Clinton in 2008 and in subsequent statewide and congressional races. Ground troops will identify supporters and make sure they vote, without giving much thought to persuading swing voters. In nearly every campaign event, the candidate catalogs all the fights she has waged on their ‘‘everyday American’’ behalf. That’s as close as there comes to a big idea in this expedition. To fight is a skill, and it creates a spectacle, but it hardly constitutes a vision. Nor is it a particularly fresh theme for Democratic presidential candidates, who have been trumpeting their ‘‘I’ll fight for you’’ credentials for decades (the future lobbyist Richard Gephardt used to punctuate his labor-heavy rallies with an impassioned ‘‘It’s your fight too!’’).

Clinton often says at her events that her campaign is ‘‘not about me.’’ All politicians say that (even though, of course, it is about them). But she is right in that she stands for bigger things, not least among them the goal of electing a woman as president. Her sex gives the campaign a built-in point of connection, and compared with what she did in 2008, Clinton has not hesitated to emphasize the factor known euphemistically as ‘‘the historic nature of her candidacy.’’


Mook projects a confidence belying his age and the stresses of his job. As the campaign manager, he sits in the bull’s-eye within the many circles of insanity that ring Planet Clintonia. (Actually, Mook does not sit, as his office is equipped with a standing desk.) What impressed me was how he dispatched my question about reconciling the divide between the candidate’s cautious persona and the private ‘‘Hillary I know’’ that her disciples swear by. ‘‘What I worry about is us getting up in our heads too much and trying to manufacture one thing or another,’’ he told me. ‘‘My priority is letting her take her time to get out there, let the voters see who she is, rather than some Wizard of Oz.’’

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine, 19 juli 2015.

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Kniv i ryggen

Chris Lehane, politisk rådgivare, om presidentvalskampanjer:

In the last five days, it always comes down to a knife fight in a telephone booth.

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STRATEGI | Det finns få negativa saker inom politiken som inte kan vändas till en fördel. Det gäller bara att lyfta fram styrkorna på bekostnad av svagheterna.

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015.  Clinton conceded that she should have used a government email to conduct business as secretary of state, saying her decision was simply a matter of "convenience." (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Hillary Clinton har fått mycket kritik för de första stapplande stegen i sin valkampanj och sättet hon har försökt krishantera.

Peter Beinart i The Atlantic har dock en lite annorlunda vinkling på temat. Hans poäng är att Clinton har gjort precis det hon är bäst på.

Hennes styrka har aldrig varit de stora visionerna. Däremot älskar hon att tala om sakfrågor. Hon är, precis som sin man, en riktig politisk geek.

Visioner är annars standardingrediensen i amerikanska politikers arsenal. Visioner är ett bra sätt att slippa bli alltför konkret i sin politik. Samtidigt låter det visionära som om man tänkt både länge och väl kring de stora utmaningar landet står inför.

Visioner har också den fördelen att man inte behöver vara speciellt konkret. På så sätt unviker man att öppna upp sig för motståndarnas attacker.

Beinart konstaterar att Clinton gjort precis tvärt emot vad många andra politiker gör när de drar igång sin presidentvalskampanj.

Soaring rhetoric and grand themes have never been Hillary’s strengths. That’s one reason so many liberals found her so much less inspirational than Barack Obama in 2008. And it’s a problem with deep roots. In his biography, A Woman in Charge, Carl Bernstein describes Hillary, then in law school, struggling to articulate her generation’s perspective in an address to the League of Women Voters. “If she was speaking about a clearly defined subject,” Bernstein writes, “her thoughts would be well organized, finely articulated, and delivered in almost perfect outline form. But before the League audience, she again and again lapsed into sweeping abstractions.”

Team Clinton appears to understand this. And so it has done something shrewd. Instead of talking vision, Hillary is talking policy, which she does really well.


Hillary’s handlers have played to this strength. On April 29, she devoted the first major speech of her campaign not to her vision for America, but to something more specific: race and crime.


The speech was not merely substantive. It was authentic. It showcased the real Hillary Clinton: A woman who, whatever her faults, hates injustice and knows what she’s talking about when it comes to government.


She’s at her best talking about America not abstractly, but concretely. She’s most inspiring when talking not about what she believes, but about what she wants to do. And she most effectively humanizes herself by being true to who she is: knowledgeable, passionate, and vaguely obsessive about making government work. Against Rubio, or any other likely Republican challenger, that identity should provide an excellent contrast.

Bild: Seth Wenig/AP Photo. Hillary Clinton talar med reportrar vid FN:s högkvarter den 10 mars 2015.

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Fotografen Steve Schapiro följde Robert F. Kennedy redan inför senatsvalet 1964 i New York. Under åren 1967-68 fotograferade han Kennedy i hans hem i en förort till Washington DC och under presidentvalskampanjen. Hans bilder finns dokumenterade i boken Schapiros Heroes.

Läs mer: ”Campaign ’68” av Stephen Smith och Kate Ellis på American RadioWorks. Här kan man även lyssna på Kennedy och de övriga presidentkandidaterna.

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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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POLITIK |  Jeb Bush har meddelat att han nu vill bli sitt partis presidentkandidat. Eller som det heter: ”actively explore the possibility”.

Jeb Bush - Photo Tony Gutierrez-AP

Vilket är politikerspråk för att känna av om han har tillräckligt stöd, om han kan attrahera tillräckligt med pengar och om han ens själv känner för det maratonlopp som en presidentvalskampanj innebär.

Bush räknades som konservativ under sin tid som guvernör i Florida. Idag ses han av många inom Tea Party-rörelsen som farligt liberal.

The Economist skriver:

More recently he has been a spokesman for his party’s pragmatic, pro-business wing. He is known for two positions, above all, that enrage conservative hardliners: his support for the nationwide education standards known as Common Core (seen on the right as a liberal plot), and his belief that Republicans must embrace comprehensive immigration reform with enthusiasm and compassion, or face long-term irrelevance.


Mr Bush speaks sense when he talks of the need for Republicans to compromise occasionally, if they want to govern. A few weeks before Christmas he told a summit of chief executive officers that a Republican presidential candidate in 2016 might have to adopt a “lose the primary to win the general” strategy. That is code for running from start to finish on policies that can win some centrist and independent votes, rather than following the pivot strategy attempted by such figures as Mitt Romney. To win the 2012 presidential nomination Mr Romney declared himself “severely conservative” and called for laws so tough that immigrants would despair and deport themselves. Too late, he tried to tack back to his real interest: business-friendly policies to fix the economy.

Mr Bush’s counsel is brave: many Republican members of Congress, governors and other officials only dare cheer him on silently. But for all that, an unmistakable rebuke lurked in his statement. Put another way, Mr Bush was signalling that the dedicated bands of grassroots activists who decide many party primaries are a menace. Even if he is right, that is quite a box to crack open. Bluntly, many of the business bosses, big donors and establishment Republicans who have spent years longing for Mr Bush to run do not just disagree with the conservative grassroots, they dislike them and resent their influence. The antipathy is mutual: perhaps no other candidate for 2016 so angers Tea Party types.

Att inte stryka Tea Party-rörelsen medhårs är en vansklig strategi om man i dessa dagar siktar på att bli republikanernas presidentkandidat .

Om inte annat för att Bush garanterat kommer att möta motkandidater som har så små chanser att bli nominerade att de inte har något att förlora på att inta ståndpunkter som t.o.m. kan få en Tea Party-anhängarna att tveka.

Det finns alltid gott om kandidater som bara är ute efter att göra ideologiska markeringar eller bara vill höja sin egen profil hos väljarna utan någon tanke på dynamiken i själva presidentvalet.

Risken är att andra kandidater då ser sig tvingade att hänga på för att inte tappa väljare bland gräsrötterna. Tea Party-rörelsen är idag till stora delar gräsrötterna inom det republikanska partiet.

Även om Bush enligt alla objektiva kriterier är konservativ riskerar han i alla fall uppfattas som alltför liberal inom partiet. Ett parti där t.o.m. Ronald Reagan skulle ha haft svårt att bli nominerad.

Men i ett presidentval räcker det inte bara med att tilltala det egna partiets väljare, man måste också kunna vinna över osäkra väljare och väljare från motståndarsidan.

Bild: Tony Gutierrez, AP.

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KONST | Även om man inte är speciellt intresserad av valkampanjer finns det åtminstone en bok som de flesta känna till.

Juxtapoz, april 2013

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 blev resultatet av Hunter S. Thompsons bevakning av George McGovern och Richard Nixon under presidentvalskampanjen 1972.

Enligt Frank Mankiewicz, McGoverns pressekreterare, var bokens beskrivning av kampanjen ”the most accurate and least factual” av alla redogörelser från valkampanjen.

Thompsons stil har kallats Gonzo journalistik, en blandning av reportage och fria fantasier. Resultatet blir – åtminstone för anhängarna – sannare än sanningen. Oavsett vilket var det underhållande.

Nära förknippad med Thompson är den engelske illustratören Ralph Steadman. Han var enligt Thompson ”the only illustrator I know of who understands the Gonzo journalism concept”.

Konsttidskriften Juxtapoz har ägnat ett nummer åt Steadmans illustrationer och hans samarbete med Thompson.

Nathan Spoor beskiver hans stil så här:

Equal parts painter, cartoonist, printmaker, sculptor and even songwriter, Ralph Steadman is a singular emblematic artist who defies definition at each turn. The instantly-recognizable splashes of ink and scrawled descriptions that make up the pantheon of his work reveals the vibrant and witty man that captured so many strange and defining moments in his award-winning political and social art.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Juxtapoz, april 2013. På framsidan ser vi Steadmans bild av Thompson.

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VALRÖRELSE | Stort som smått blandas när Världens Historia blickar tillbaka på amerikanska valrörelser under 224 år.

Här förklaras bl.a. skillnaden mellan ”administration” och ”government”, betydelsen av ”gerrymandering” och vad ”the Kennedy effect” innebär och varför ”swing states” är så viktiga för valresultatet.

Här om uttrycket ”Yellow dog democrat”.

Uttrycket ”yellow dog democrat” kommer från sydstaten Texas där lojala demokratiska väljare hävdade att om så Jesus ställde upp i valet för republikanerna och demokraternas kandidat var en gammal gul hund, skulle de ändå rösta på demokraternas kandidat.

Att kallas för ”gul hund” är ingen förolämpning utan snarare en ära eftersom det vittnar om stor lojalitet. Uttrycket blev populärt under presidentvalskampanjen mellan demokraten Al Smith och republikanen Herbert Hoover år 1928, då många demokratiska väljare i södern varken tyckte om Al Smiths politik eller hans katolska tillhörighet, men röstade på honom ändå. År 1964, när demokratiske presidenten Lyndon B. Johnson införde lika rättigheter för svarta amerikaner blev det dock för mycket för söderns gula hundar. Johnson motkandidat gick till val som motståndare till medborgarrättigheterna och vann i sydstaterna.

I dag har de gula hundarna fått sällskap av ”Blue dog democrats” – konservativa demokrater – och södern är fortfarande primärt republikanskt.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Världens Historia nr 15 2012.

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JOURNALISTIK | Det är inte ovanligt att amerikanska reportrar tecknar ner sina erfarenheter från de presidentvalskampanjer man har bevakat.

Vem har då skrivit den bästa boken om en amerikansk valkampanj? Om en sådan lista existerade skulle böcker av Theodore H. White och Richard Ben Cramer tävla om förstplatsen.

En av de mer underhållande är klassikern The Boys on the Bus av Timothy Crouse.

Crouse var reporter på tidskriften Rolling Stone när han bevakade presidentvalet 1972. Om man skall vara petig handlar boken minst lika mycket – om inte mer – om alla reportrar som följer ”sina” presidentkandidater på bussar och flygplan.

Här är några nedslag i boken:

It was just these womblike conditions that gave rise to the notorious phenomenon called “pack journalism” (also known as “herd journalism” and “fuselage journalism”). A group of reporters were assigned to follow a single candidate for weeks or months at a time, like a pack of hounds sicked on a fox. Trapped on the same bus or plane, they ate, drank, gambled, and compared notes with the same bunch of colleagues week after week.

Actually, this group was as hierarchical as a chess set. The pack was divided into cliques-the national political reporters from the big, prestige papers and the ones from the small papers; the wire-service men; the network correspondents; and other configurations that formed according to age and old Washington friendships. The most experienced national political reporters, wire men, and big-paper reporters, who were at the top of the pecking order, often did not know the names of the men from the smaller papers, who were at the bottom. But they all fed off the same pool report, the same daily handout, the same speech by the candidate; the whole pack was isolated in the same mobile village. After a while, they began to believe the same rumors, subscribe to the same theories, and write the same stories.

Everybody denounces pack journalism, including the men who form the pack. Any self-respecting journalist would sooner endorse incest than come out in favor of pack journalism. It is the classic villain of every campaign year. Many reporters and journalism professors blame it for everything that is shallow, obvious, meretricious, misleading, or dull in American campaign coverage.


Campaign journalism is, by definition, pack journalism; to follow a candidate, you must join a pack of other reporters; even the most independent journalist cannot completely escape the pressures of the pack.


There is nothing drearier than following a loser all the way to his grave. The candidate is exhausted, the staff is crabby, the hotels are bad and get worse, and the campaign generates less and less news. Off in the distance is the Winner’s campaign-a cornucopia of big stories, excitement, power, money, and a burgeoning sense of promise. Everybody in the business is suddenly talking about the Winner’s campaign. The best reporters seem to be there. It grows like a fad; you have to be there, at the center of the action.


If you stayed away from the campaign for any period of time and then came back on again, the first thing that stuck you was the shocking physical deterioration of the press corps. During the summer, the reporters had looked fairly healthy. Now their skin was pasty and greenish, they had ugly dark pouches under their glazed eyes, and their bodies had become bloated with the regimen of nonstop drinking and five or six starchy airplane meals every day. Toward the end, they began to suffer from a fiendish combination of fatigue and anxiety. They had arrived at the last two weeks, when the public finally wanted to read about the campaign- front-page play every day!-and they were so tired that it nearly killed them to pound out a decent piece.


During the last week, the press bus looked like a Black Maria sent out to round up winos; half the reporters were passed out with their mouths wide open and their notebooks fallen in their laps. When they were awake, they often wandered like zombies.

Förordet i boken är skrivet av Hunter S. Thompson. Gonzo journalistikens fader var en av de journalister som bevakade valet 1972. Även han skulle skriva ner sina efarenheter i bokform –  Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72.

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