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USA | För lång tid framöver kommer man att studera Donald Trumps valkampanj. Var den unik eller kan strategin kopieras av andra?

strategy

En bra början är att studera varför de övriga republikanska presidentkandidaterna inte lyckades stoppa honom.

James Fallows, som en gång ingick i Jimmy Carters kampanjstab och numera är på tidskriften The Atlantic, pratade med några strateger om hur man försökte hantera Trump.

After the fact, representatives of all the fallen candidates told me that none of it was inevitable, and that Trump could have been stopped if any of the others had imagined that he would go as far as he did. “If you put any of us in a time capsule and told us a year ago that he might be the nominee, then each candidate would have tried to prevent it in their own way,” Alex Conant, the communications director for Rubio’s campaign, told me after Trump had locked things up. “We all thought that the summer of Trump would not last. So our early strategy was not just to ignore him but actually to try hard not to offend his supporters, so we could be the alternative to him when he inevitably went down. He largely got a free pass until it was too late.” Tim Miller, who worked for Bush, agreed that the other non-Trump candidates were more intent on finishing one another off than attacking him when he might have been vulnerable. “By the end, Marco was scoring points against him,” Miller said. Before his humiliating loss to Trump in his own state of Florida, which forced him out of the race, Rubio was attacking Trump for his ignorance about policy and mocking him on hand size and blowhard traits. “But Marco was already sinking by then, so it was from a position of weakness rather than strength.”

“The rest of them were convinced that Donald Trump didn’t need to be defeated,” Stuart Stevens, who was Mitt Romney’s campaign strategist in 2012, told me. “That was a convenience, because they didn’t have to take him or his supporters on. With Jeb and Rubio, it became like the Bosnian civil war—more into killing each other than winning.” Meanwhile, Trump cruised ahead.

No one can say whether an earlier attack might have finished off Trump. It’s clear that the free pass he received allowed him to dominate and diminish his opponents […] “Low-Energy Jeb.” “Little Marco.” “9Lyin’ Ted.” His impulsive approach also paralyzed the other campaigns. “When we did our debate prep, we wondered how you can prepare to debate against someone who doesn’t prepare at all himself,” Alex Conant said. “I don’t think Trump had any idea what he was going to say until he said it. All you could be certain of is that if he said something funny or outlandish, that would dominate the news, and you’d be even further behind.”

Trump didn’t “win” all the debates, nor was he always effective minute by minute. When questions got into details of policy, he would set himself on pause until an opportunity for a put-down occurred. “With eight or nine others onstage, he could pick a moment to position himself as the alpha,” Tim Miller said. “And eventually the media got conditioned not to say negative things about his debate performance, since whatever he did, he rose in the polls—while for Jeb or Marco or Ted Cruz, any mistake was seen as ‘devastating.’ ”

James Parker, även han på The Atlantic, konstaterar att Trumps sätt att kommunicera gör det svårt för en motståndare eftersom han inte hade ett politiskt budskap i traditionell bemärkelse.

Trump-space is not democratic. It depends for its energy on the tyrannical emanations of the man at its center, on the wattage of his big marmalade face and that dainty mobster thing he does with the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. But it is artistic. Within its precincts, the most vicious and nihilistic utterances retain a kind of innocent levity: They sound half-funny, theatrical, or merely petulant. The scapegoating and bullying are somehow childlike. This is why, so far, no political strategy has succeeded against him. It rolls on, his power grab, his wild Trumpian trundling toward the White House, because he’s not doing politics at all. He’s doing bad art. Terrible art. He can’t go off message, because his message is “Look at me! I’m off message!”

Det blir svårt att tänka sig att någon kommer att kunna kopiera Trumps stil i kommande valkampanjer. Trump framstår som genuint unik i sin still.

I USA kommer det kanske räcka med en variant av Lloyd Bentsens put-down i vicepresidentkandidaternas valdebatt 1988. Bentsen fick Dan Quayle att krympa rejält i tv-rutan med klassikern ”You’re no Jack Kennedy!” Kanske kommer det att räcka med ett ”You’re no Donald Trump!” för att stoppa nästa Trump-wannabe.

Annonser

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VAL 2016 | En av de roligare konsekvenserna av Donald Trumps valkampanj var den moralpanik som följde på valsegern.

time-augusti-22-2016

(The Reckoning: ”Donald Trump’s sinking polls, unending attacks and public blunders have GOP reconsidering its strategy for November”)

Och hela ”etablissemanget” – politiska, media, kulturella – hängde villigt på både här och over there. ”En ond och sjuk människa ska leda världens mäktigaste nation. Detta är inte bra för världen!”, skrev t.ex. riksdagskvinnan Hillevi Larsson (S) på Twitter.

time-october-2016

(Inside Donald Trump’s Meltdown: ”Donald Trump’s sinking polls, unending attacks and public blunders have the GOP reconsidering its strategy for November”)

Två andra exempel: Skoladministratörer i Boston erbjöd ”råd och stöd” till ungdomar som oroade sig över Trump medan Olle Wästberg, ”USA-kännare” och tidigare generalkonsul i New York, påstod att Trumps seger var värre för Sverige än för amerikanarna.

new-york-october-31-november-13-2016

(Final Days: ”As the unmanageable, unrepentant, and unprecedented candidate careens to the finish line, Donald Trump’s advisers try to figure out how to save themselves – and the movement he started.”)

Men speciellt pinsamt var valresultatet för opinionsinstituten och den politiska journalistiken som ”ended up with egg on their faces”.

I detta inlägg är tre favoriter från Time och New York som borde förfölja redaktörerna i sömnen framöver. Time t.o.m. följde upp sitt omslag med den alltmer smältande Trump i augusti med ett ”total meltdown” omslag i november. Så säker framstod Hillary Clintons valseger vid det laget.

För den som redan känner sig nostalgiska kan klicka på länkarna för att läsa hur fel alla hade.

Tidskriftsomslag: Time den 22 augusti (amerikanska editionen) och den 24 oktober 2016 samt New York den 31 oktober-13 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 | Var finns de framgångsrika demokratiska och socialistiska politiska konsulterna i amerikansk politik?

Bernie Sanders

Den retoriska frågan ställde Bernie Sanders när han intervjuades i Rolling Stone av Tim Dickinson.

Frågan var intressant med tanke på att Sanders valkampanj har ett överskott av entusiasm, inte minst från sina unga gräsrötter men ett underskott av professionella medarbetare.

Team Sanders har varit duktiga på att två saker: samla in stora mängder pengar från vanligt folk och locka stora folkmassor till sina valmöten.

Mindre framgångsrika har man varit när det gäller att stå emot attackerna från Hillary Clintons professionella medarbetare med stor erfarenhet från tidigare valrörelser.

Men en annan förklaring till att Sanders hamnat på efterkälken är att han säkerligen inte förväntade sig få en sådan positiv respons bland de demokratiska väljarna.

Även Sanders trodde nog att det skulle bli en promenadseger för Clinton. Sanders hoppades nog bara på att kunna påverka Clinton och partiets valplattform i en mer positiv riktning.

On a campaign, a candidate gets so much advice. Who’s been the lodestar – the person or people that you return to for guidance?

The difficulty that we have had in this campaign is that if you have the politics of somebody like a Hillary Clinton, you can bring together a team with a whole lot of political experience, people who have been part of Bill Clinton’s campaigns or administration, or Al Gore’s efforts, pollsters or media people or great surrogates. That is what the establishment Democratic Party has – hundreds of very knowledgeable people. Sophisticated people. I know many of them. I’ve been in the rooms during Obama’s campaigns. I have looked at the chart of literally the 39 different ways Obama can win. ”If you lose Wisconsin but you win New Je rsey and bup, bup, bup…”

But there aren’t a whole lot of people who understand the day-to-day mechanics of running a presidential campaign, who have history running a campaign for a candidate like myself. You tell me: Where are the democratic-socialist political consultants who have been involved in successful campaigns in recent history? There aren’t any. So we’ve had to put together our own campaign by the seat of our pants. And that’s been hard. We started this campaign with a handful of people from Vermont, people I’ve known for 20 or 30 years. And it’s grown. We’ve used people who have experience in the Democratic Party – the best that we can find. And we have political activists involved. We’ve met some great people over the campaign. A lot of great surrogates, from Nina Turner to Chuy Garcia to Killer Mike to Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon – great people from different walks of life who gravitated into the campaign.

Bild: Talking Union.

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Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders i en intervju med Rolling Stone:

It’s hard. But I volunteered to do this. I’m glad we’re doing it. I look forward to winning this damn thing.

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VAL 2016 | Trots att Hillary Clinton befunnit sig i den politiska hetluften sedan Bil Clinton var president är det fortfarande svårt att sätta fingret på vad hon tror på.

The Spectator 21 May 2016

Och inte blir det bättre av att allt tenderar handla om Donald Trump i medias bevakning av valkampanjen. ”The Donald” suger upp allt syret i den politiska bevakningen av presidentvalet.

En indikation att det skulle behövas mer kritisk bevakning av Clinton och hennes politiska ställningstaganden är att opinionsundersökningar visar att hela 60 procent av amerikanerna anser att hon är opålitlig (”untrustworthy”) och ohederlig (”dishonest”).

Av de demokratiska och republikanska presidentkandidaterna är det bara Trump som lyckats uppvisa än värre förtroendesiffror.

Hillary kan tacka högre makter att hon skall möta just Trump i presidentvalet. I väljarleden verkar däremot mest sucka över att behöva välja mellan de två.

En som tittat på det politiska fenomenet Clinton är  Christopher Buckley som med stor humor skrivit om henne i The Spectator:

The difficulty with limning a template of a Hillary Clinton administration is that her existing template is unlimnable. That is, fuzzy. It’s not so much a template as a palimpsest. Mrs. Clinton’s policy positions are rarely fixed points. They have a tendency to get up and wander about, whether it’s the Iraq war vote, or the trade deal she was so in favor of until she was not, or the minimum wage of $12 or $15 an hour, or the Benghazi attack being the fault of that asshole in California streaming that totally inappropriate Islamophobic video, or the private emails with the nuclear launch codes and George Clooney’s recipe for penne arrabiata. If Mrs. Clinton had an escutcheon, its motto would be ‘Whatever’ (Quisquis?) You Brits all the know Latin, right?) The catalogue of Clinton’s policy books has more positions than the Kamasutra. As Groucho Marx said, ‘I’ve got principles. And if you do not like them, I’ve got others.’

This morphing and shapeshifting has allowed her to survive over the years. The catch is that, while getting away with stuff may sustain you in power, it won’t endear you to the general public. Mrs C has been front and center on the national stage now for nearly a quarter-century. Result: 60 per cent of Americans find her ‘untrustworthy’ and ‘dishonest’. A triumph. But she is hardly unique. Richard Nixon, aka ‘Tricky Dick’, was on the national stage for 20 years before he made it all the way. And that turned out fine.

[…]

Mrs. Clinton has her admirers, no arguments. But if that 60 per cent figure is accurate, she’s going to need more than her faithful hard core to put her over the top in November. Fortunately, many – indeed most – Republicans are resistant to the charms of the Mussolini of Fifth Avenue. Confronted with a Hobson’s Choice from Hell in November, they will hold their noses and vote for her. Or write in Ronald Reagan. And then get stinking drunk and go home and kick the dog.

Of the many difficulties facing Mrs. Clinton once she achieves her life’s ambition is a fact that even her most ardent devotees might admit to, if you promised them anonymity, voice-altering software and witness protection: she is, well, dull.  She is, to paraphrase Falstaff, not only dull herself, but the cause of dullness in others, especially the minions who warble on TV about how wonderful she is. Maybe she is wonderful, but hearing about her wonderfulness has’ve become, 24 years later, excruciating.

Mrs. Clinton is many things – intelligent, accomplished, hard-working, quisquis – but she is not herself interesting, except as a historical phenomenon – an American Evita, minus the charisma and the balcony. This is likely to make four years of her feel interminable. One year into her presidency, Stephen Hawking may have to revise his theory of time and posit that it is now slowing down. Or has stopped altogether.

[…]

Barack Obama came into office wafting on zephyrs of adoring oohs and aahs, trailing angel-dust and proclaiming the dawn of a new golden era of nonpartisan enlightenment – a new shining Washington upon a hill. In less fancy terms: he promised to change the way Washington does business. That turned out well too.

[…]

Safe bet-wise: The First Mrs. President is going to be very, very good for the Clinton Foundation. As for America, not so much. A lot has been written about how fed up people are with the arrogance and corruption of Washington. That’s why so many are voting for Donald Trump. But if you think Americans are angry now, just wait until they suffer a full term of Clinton 2.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator den 21 maj 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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