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Posts Tagged ‘The New Yorker’

barack-obama

I love the stillness and the mystery of the day or two before elections, because in a lot of ways everything goes radio-silent. Nobody at that point is really listening to an argument. The infrastructure is set. And now it’s this weird alchemy that’s taking place in the country, and you just have to kind of wait and see how it works. But there’s always this mystery to it, this possibility.

Which, in some ways, is powerful and affirming of the humanity of democracy, right? […] It’s not mechanical. It’s not a formula. It’s not set. It’s not fixed. There is always the possibility of surprise. And in that sense it’s a little bit like sports. It doesn’t matter what the odds are. Weird stuff happens. And that makes it scary if you’re rooting for one team or the other, but that’s the drama of it.

Från ”It happened here” av David Remnick i The New Yorker, november 2016.

Bild: Pari Dukovic för The New Yorker.

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USA | Vad kommer att bli kvar av president Barack Obamas reformer efter (minst) fyra år av Donald Trump?  Obama själv verkar inte alltför oroad.

the-new-yorker-november-28-2016

I The New Yorker berättar han för David Remnick att han tror att Trump bara kan riva upp cirka femton till tjugo procent av hans administrations reformer.

Throughout the campaign, he had told his audiences that if Trump—“uniquely unqualified” and “temperamentally unfit” to be Commander-in-Chief—were to win, eight years of accomplishment would go out the window. I asked him if he still believed that.

“Now that the election is over, no, I don’t believe it,” he said with a sharp, dark laugh. “Not because I was over-hyping it. I think that the possibility of everything being out the window exists. But, as a practical matter, what I’ve been saying to people, including my own staff, is that the federal government is an aircraft carrier, it’s not a speedboat. And, if you need any evidence of that, think about how hard we worked over the last eight years with a very clear progressive agenda, with a majority in the House and in the Senate, and we accomplished as much domestically as any President since Lyndon Johnson in those first two years. But it was really hard.” Obama said that he had accomplished “seventy or seventy-five per cent” of what he set out to do, and “maybe fifteen per cent of that gets rolled back, twenty per cent, but there’s still a lot of stuff that sticks.”

[…]

At the same time, Obama refused to interpret Clinton’s—and the Party’s—loss as a personal repudiation. “Some of this is really simple and it’s the thing that Mitch McConnell figured out on Day One of my Presidency, which is people aren’t paying that close attention to how Washington works,” he said. “They know there are lobbyists, special interests, gridlock; that the powerful have more influence and access than they do. And if things aren’t working, if there’s gridlock, then the only guy that they actually know is supposed to be in charge and supposed to be helping them is the President. And so the very deliberate strategy that Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party generally employed during the course of my Presidency was effective. What they understood was that, if you embraced old-fashioned dealing, trading, horse-trading, bipartisan achievement, people feel better. And, if people feel better, then they feel better about the President’s party, and the President’s party continues. And, if it feels broken, stuck, and everybody is angry, then that hurts the President or the President’s party.”

Obama was convinced, accordingly, that Trump won less as a champion of working people than as an anti-establishment insurgent. “The President-elect, I think, was able to make an argument that he would blow this place up,” he said. “Hillary may have been more vulnerable because she was viewed as an insider. And the reporting around the Goldman speeches”—speeches given to Goldman Sachs executives—“might have reduced her advantage, the normal Democratic advantage, in the eyes of working people, that we were standing for them. I don’t think it was fair, but that’s how it played itself out.”

Tidskriftsomslag: The New Yorker, 28 november 2016.

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

the-new-yorker

Främst i raden är hans egen familj. Men i realiteten lyssnar han bara på sig själv. Oavsett vilket har de alla lika lite erfarenhet av politiska valkampanjer.

James Carville, Bill Clintons gamla kampanjstrateg, påstår t.o.m. att man inte ens kan kalla det för en valkampanj i traditionell bemärkelse. Inte konstigt att Team Trump har problem.

Lizzie Widdicombe skriver i The New Yorker följande:

The modern Presidential campaign may be the world’s most sophisticated pop-up operation, a billion-dollar multilayered organization that, if it hopes to succeed, must be as technologically sophisticated and responsive as any Silicon Valley unicorn. A campaign includes armies of social-media worker bees, data crunchers, messaging experts, policy advisers, media surrogates, fund-raising chiefs, oppo-research teams, volunteers, and, above all, coolheaded managers, who can formulate a coherent position on Chinese trade policy and a plan for how to get out the vote in Hillsborough County in a lightning storm.

Then, there is the Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, which has followed this formula about as closely as the candidate follows the South Beach Diet. The Republican Party establishment has, if reluctantly, helped sketch the outlines of an organization. The campaign raised eighty million dollars in July; some of Trump’s friends and donors have been tapped to form a team of economic advisers, who include numerous billionaires and men named Steve. But Trump’s “brain trust” is largely the black box of Donald Trump’s real and existing brain.

Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has hinted at the limitations of his own position. “The candidate is in control of his campaign,” Manafort told Fox News recently. “And I’m in control of doing the things that he wants me to do in the campaign.” To Trump’s fans, this is part of his appeal. Politicians can resemble automatons, mouthing the directives of some offstage Svengali. Trump tweets what he wants to tweet. “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain,” he has said. Preparation is overrated. Clinton staffers spent months detailing the rhetoric and the attacks that were part of this summer’s Democratic National Convention. Trump said, of the Republican version, “I didn’t produce our show—I just showed up for the final speech on Thursday.”

“The Trump campaign is not a bad campaign,” James Carville, who managed Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, told me. “It’s not a messed-up campaign. It’s not a dysfunctional campaign. There is no campaign.” Carville continued, “Everybody that’s done this for a living and got paid to do it is, like, ‘Oh, my gosh, suppose this works. We’re all rendered useless.’ He will have destroyed an entire profession.”

But the Trump campaign is not without secondary figures. Rather than a Karl Rove or a David Axelrod, his true inner circle seems to be his family, especially his adult children. It’s nothing new for the children of Presidential candidates to lend a hand. George W. and Jeb Bush worked alongside Lee Atwater in their father’s 1988 campaign. Al Gore’s daughters were well-spoken surrogates. The five Romney boys—those square-jawed Mittlets—gave strategic advice to their father. But it’s different with Trump, because, as the political historian Julian Zelizer observed recently, the Trump kids “seem at points to be the only people in the room.”

Tidskriftsomslag: The New Yorker den 22 augusti 2016. Bilden på omslaget är Barry Blitts ”Donald’s Rainy Days”.

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VAL 2016 | Här är två omslag från The New Yorker som ganska väl sammanfattar hur media generellt har framställt Hillary Clinton och Donald Trump.

The New Yorker - May 23, 2016

Här är Trump (“Grand Illusion” av Barry Blitt) kandidaten som ingen tog på allvar.

Men Trump lyckades besegra alla motkandidater och samtidigt knäcka det gamla gardet i det republikanska partiet. Och det med politiska idéer som ingen uppfattar som vare sig seriösa eller genomförbara.

Efter Trump blir inget sig likt igen för Abraham Lincolns och Ronald Reagans gamla parti.

The New Yorker - June 20, 2016

Och här är Hillary Clinton (“Ready for a Fight” av Barry Blitt) som kandidaten som tvingades slåss hela vägen till partikonventet. Vägen blev jobbigare än väntat. Men leendet visar att det var mödan värt.

Nomineringen har varit säkrad ett tag nu även om hon aldrig lyckades slå knockout på Bernie Sanders. Mot honom får hon nöja sig med poängseger. Nästa fight: Vita huset.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New Yorker den 23 maj respektive 20 juni 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Roger Stone, on-and-off politisk rådgivare till Donald Trump, berättade nyligen för The New Yorker om presidentkandidatens något udda strategi.

Roger Stone

Jeffrey Toobin intervjuade Stone:

It started in 1979, when Stone was a twenty-six-year-old aide in Ronald Reagan’s Presidential campaign.

[…]

Over the years, too, Stone shepherded Trump’s political ambitions through several near-runs for the Presidency. “In 1988, I arranged for him to speak to the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Chamber of Commerce—that was his first political trip,” Stone said. “There was lots of speculative publicity. He liked the attention. He liked the buzz. He’s the greatest promoter of all time.” In 2000, Trump came closer to a real bid. Because Ross Perot had run in the previous two elections as the candidate of the Reform Party, there was a chance that Trump could have received federal funding on that party line. “He was looking at the prospect of running on O.P.M.—other people’s money,” Stone said. “He loved that.” But Trump backed away.

Now that Trump is actually running for President, Stone has been largely sidelined. (He currently has no official campaign role.) Stone says that he speaks to the candidate “now and then.” In any event, he said, Trump has little use for political advisers. “He listens to no one,” Stone noted. “On his own, he conceptualized a campaign model that rejects all the things you do in politics—no polling, no opposition research, no issue shop, no analytics, no targeting, no paid advertising to speak of.” He went on, “He had this vision of an all-communication-based strategy of rallies, debates, and as many interviews as he can smash into a day. The campaign exists to support the logistics of the tour.” Stone does maintain a small super PAC that he said will help corral delegates for Trump. “How many of the delegates will want to play golf at a Trump resort?” Stone said. “How many will want to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago? How many will want to go to a cocktail party at his apartment in Trump Tower, with its extraordinary view of Manhattan?” (Trump said he has no plans to court delegates in this way.)

There’s a wistfulness about Stone these days. He judges politics on aesthetic grounds as much as on issues. “On ‘The Apprentice,’ Trump was always perfectly dressed, perfectly lit, perfectly made up,” he said. “That helped him enormously in establishing a Presidential brand.”

Bild: Fotot på Roger Stone är från hans eget Twitterkonto @RogerJStoneJr.

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VAL 2016 | Rimligtvis inser Bernie Sanders att han inte har en chans mot Hillary Clinton. Så varför fortsätter han kampanja.

Bernie Sanders

Enligt Ryan Lizza och The New Yorker siktar han på att maximera sitt inflytande. Genom att fortsätta kampanja vill han tvinga Clinton modifiera sin politik inför hennes nominering.

Den andra orsaken till att Team Sanders inte ger upp är att undersökningar visar att Clinton har ett imageproblem. Hon anses inte vara trovärdig och inte heller helt pålitlig.

Tre federala undersökningar, relaterat till hennes tid som utrikesminister, pågår parallellt medan hon kampanjar.

Och skulle det bli några uppseendeväckande avslöjanden innan Clinton nomineras på Demokraternas partikonvent kan allt hända.

Lizza skev så här i mars om Sanders kampanj:

Sanders has a large campaign war chest—he raised more than a hundred and thirty-five million dollars from more than 1.5 million individuals—and he is likely to score more victories. By staying in the race to the end, he will continue to force Hillary to respond to the anger and the frustrations in the electorate.

[…]

“The small donors can keep fuelling his campaign,” Joe Trippi, who ran Dean’s campaign, said. “Now you either have a super PAC or a small-donor base, and if you have one of those things you can keep going. So is he going all the way to the Convention? Yeah, if he wants to.”

There are two reasons for Sanders to soldier on. One is to exact concessions, as Warren was able to do on legislation restricting Wall Street employees. Sanders’s presence has required Clinton to adopt more populist economic policies, and the influence could go further. “She’s basically a conservative person, except on issues of gender and inclusiveness,” Gary Hart, who, with his insurgent primary campaign in 1984, almost beat former Vice-President Walter Mondale, told me.

[…]

If Sanders arrives at the Convention with a sufficient number of primary victories and between a third and half of the delegates, he will also be able to influence the Party’s platform. His advisers told me that Sanders will fight for more anti-free-trade measures, a commitment to campaign-finance reform, and breaking up big banks.

“He will come out of this with a prominent voice, with a committed e-mail list of people united around his issues,” Anita Dunn, who worked for Bill Bradley’s unsuccessful campaign against Al Gore, in 2000, and was one of Obama’s top strategists during the 2008 race and later in the White House, said. “That is the beginning of a potential movement, if he chooses to build on it. It’s not as though these issues are going to go away. Fundamental inequality and the inequities in the political process are not suddenly going to be fixed by anyone.”

[…]

The other reason for Sanders to stay in the contest is one that most Democrats, even Sanders, are reluctant to discuss. Polls show that Clinton’s greatest vulnerability has to do with trustworthiness and character. She is navigating three federal investigations resulting from her handling of classified data while she was Secretary of State.

[…]

At a Democratic debate last October, Sanders declared the scandal a non-issue. He said, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.” Some of his strategists have been trying to get him to change his mind, but they say that his wife, Jane, has opposed attacking Clinton too harshly.

[…]

Democrats outside the campaign remain surprised by Sanders’s decision not to raise the e-mail issue more directly and alarmed that more Democrats are not talking about the potential fallout from the investigations. “The person that the White House cleared the field for, and that everyone has fallen in line for, has three federal investigations going on,” a prominent Democratic consultant told me. “The guy who set up the system for her took the Fifth. You’re not supposed to read anything into that, but please. It’s the elephant in the room, and Sanders took it off the table. Trump will have no problem going after this stuff.”

[…]

Sanders has become increasingly aggressive in attacking Clinton’s relationship with the financial world. […] Meanwhile, Sanders’s aides have started to talk more openly, and delicately, about some of Clinton’s vulnerabilities. “Trust and honesty,” Tad Devine, a senior adviser to the Sanders campaign, told reporters on the morning after Super Tuesday. “Rightly or wrongly, the Secretary, when you poll independents, has some real problems with independents. They just don’t have confidence that what they’re hearing is what they’re going to get. And to overcome that hurdle in a general-election environment when you’re being pounded by Donald Trump day after day after day—I’m not sure that that can be done.”

But Sanders seems far more interested in affecting policy than in taking advantage of Clinton’s scandals. It might be the right decision in the long run; it’s not clear that attacking Clinton helps him win over the older and nonwhite partisans who are the core of her support. Sanders’s real legacy may be proving to the Democratic Party that the new generation of voters has no affinity for the old Clinton-era politics of moderation.

Bild: (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer).

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VAL 2016 | Vad är skillnaden mellan Donald Trump och Ted Cruz? En sak som sticker ut är deras förhållande till religion.

The New Yorker Febuary 1 2016

Trump framstår inte bara som ointresserad av religion utan också direkt obekväm i religiösa situationer.

I The New Yorker ger Ryan Lizza ett exempel när Trump hänvisade till ett avsnitt från ”Two Corinthians” snarare än från ”Second Corinthians”

Cruz däremot kan inte få nog av religion. Han framhäver ständigt religionens betydelse för hans kampanj.

En cyniker skulle säga att detta bara beror på att han är ute efter de väljare som brukar kallas socialkonservativa (d.v.s. troende, konservativa och med ett intresse för sociala frågor).

Men detta ger inte hela bilden av olikheterna mellan de två.

Lizza konstaterar att många av dessa socialkonservativa även verkar tilltalas av Trumps budskap. Och ofta av samma anledning som andra republikaner med mindre intresse för trosfrågor.

De anser ofta att Trump är en person som vågar säga obekväma sanningar.

Han är inte rädd att gå emot partihöjdarnas taktiserande och önskan att alla presidentkandidater bör följa partietablissemangets definition av vad som anses lämpligt för att vinna ett presidentval. Många av de frågor som republikanska politiker brukar driva har inte alltid gynnat deras väljarbas.

Trumps ekonomiska oberoende gör att han dessutom framstår som betydligt hederligare eftersom han inte är beroende av inflytelserika lobbyisters donationer.

Lizza skriver om hur Trump och Cruz förhåller sig till de fyra väljargrupper som utgör Republikanska partiets väljarbas enligt Dante J. Scala och Henry Olsens ”The Four Faces of the Republican Party”.

In “The Party Decides,” published in 2008, the political scientist Hans Noel and three co-authors showed that, since 1980, the best predictor of the Democratic and Republican nominee has been endorsements by elected officials.

Trump—a media-created populist who has no such endorsements and is despised by Party insiders—defies that theory. “If Trump wins, he’d be forcing himself on the Party,” Noel told me. Cruz, too, represents the kind of hostile takeover that Polsby warned about. He is the consummate political insider—a U.S. Senator from Texas with a long history of activism in the G.O.P.—but he is hated by Republican élites, and none of his Senate colleagues are backing him. The two candidates offer visions for the future of the Republican Party that are starkly different from one another and from what the Party seems to envisage for itself.

Pundits have taken to endlessly discussing the different “lanes” the candidates occupy, an idea best articulated in a new book, “The Four Faces of the Republican Party,” by Dante J. Scala and Henry Olsen. They describe a Republican primary electorate that, since the nineteen-eighties, has been divided into four well-defined groups: moderate and liberal voters, who make up twenty-five to thirty per cent of the electorate; somewhat conservative voters (thirty-five to forty per cent); very conservative evangelical voters (about twenty per cent); and very conservative secular voters (five to ten per cent). A successful candidate starts off by appealing to one of the lanes and then absorbs voters from one or more of the others as opponents drop out and their supporters look for someone else. Cruz is assiduously following this road map by presenting himself as the champion of the two “very conservative” voting blocs. He obeys every traffic sign and rarely veers left, hoping that later in the primary season he can expand into the other lanes.

[…]

Trump, though, has effectively ignored the conventional wisdom about Republican lanes. He’s like a snowplow barrelling across the highway. State and national polls consistently show that he draws strongly from all four ideological segments of the party. His strongest supporters are less educated and less well off; his fiercest opponents are Republicans with advanced degrees and high incomes. Trump has turned what is traditionally an ideological fight into a class war.

“The biggest thing to understand about Trump is that he is effectively redefining the G.O.P. by asking a different question than the one the Party has been answering for fifty years,” Henry Olsen told me. Since at least the Goldwater nomination of 1964, he said, every nomination battle has aimed to answer the question “To what extent should the G.O.P. be the vehicle for the conservative movement?” In addressing it, the Republican primary electorate has always sorted along a spectrum based on ideology: moderates and liberals oppose the idea; very conservative voters, the kind that Cruz is courting, champion it; and somewhat conservative ones split the difference. Trump draws from all four factions because he’s uninterested in how conservative the G.O.P. should or shouldn’t be. “He is not trying to answer this question at all,” Olsen said. “Instead, he is posing a new question: to what extent should the G.O.P. be the advocates for those struggling in the modern economy?”

[…]

In the unlikely event that Cruz wins the nomination, he will find it difficult to gain the loyalty of other elected officials and Party leaders, and he will make a poor opponent for Hillary Clinton. His nomination will be akin to Barry Goldwater’s victory in 1964, or, on the Democratic side, McGovern’s victory in 1972. Both Senators were too far outside the mainstream to win in a general election. Cruz would likely lose, but he wouldn’t necessarily destroy the G.O.P. in the process. However much his colleagues dislike him, he’s still one of them.

Trump is not. Some prominent Republicans fear that a Trump nomination would fundamentally alter the identity of the Republican Party, even if he goes on to lose the general election, which seems likely. The Party would become more downscale, a potential asset if it meant drawing in disaffected Democrats, but also more alienating to non-whites, who represent the largest source of potential growth in the electorate. It would be defined by ethno-nationalism at home and an anti-interventionist retreat from America’s obligations abroad. The last major figure in Republican politics who came close to Trump’s brand of nationalism was Pat Buchanan, the former Nixon aide who ran for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1992 and 1996. Buchanan was driven from the Republican Party by mainstream conservatives, who called him an isolationist and an anti-Semite; in 2000, he captured the nomination of the Reform Party. If Trump wins the nomination, it will be his opponents who are driven from the Party.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New Yorker den 1 februari 2016.

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