Tag Archives: 2016 campaign

Lessons From the Trump Surge: What We Learned

1. You cannot buy victory. Although the left insists money has corrupted politics, allowing the rich to buy elections, Jeb Bush spent over $130 million on his campaign, with nothing to show for it, while Trump spent very little and still bested all of his competitors by a large margin:

2. The pundits are (almost always) wrong. With the exception of Mike and Scott, few pundits predicted the accent of Trump. Even Nate Silver got it wrong.

3. Connecting with voters is crucial. Trump’s divorces, past ‘liberal leanings’, and bankruptcies didn’t impede his ability to connect with voters, who supported Trump on one issue above all: immigration. In 2008, Obama wooed voters on a single issue: economics, specifically promising to undo the mistakes of the Bush administration. Jeb, Rubio, and Cruz were never able to forge the necessary connection with voters, preferring instead to uphold ‘safe’ status quos instead of taking risks by tapping into the fears and frustrations of voters.

4. Never apologize. Trump received flak for his comments on Mexico, Muslims, Megyn Kelly, and John McCain, but refused to recant, knowing that doing so would show weakness to his supporters and that apologizing would not change minds of those who already didn’t support him. Also this tries into ingroup/outgroup dynamics. By making these comments, Trump is signaling to like-minded supporters (ingroup) against an outgroup (‘establishment conservatives’, feminists, SJWs, mainstream media, etc).

5. Make others play your game; don’t play someone else’s game. Trump knew he would not get a fair shake at a Fox News debate, so he didn’t show up, knowing that that the ratings would plummet in his absence; consequentially, the debate was cancelled.

6. Leverage the media. Trump would quote statistics that were possibly exaggerated, knowing that the media in ‘fact checking’ would inadvertently make the subject matter of those comments the focal issue. Trump quoting statistics about black-on-black crime got the media talking about crime, for example.

7. Trump is a one-man media empire. Although the WSJ and NYT twitter accounts have 11 million and 22 million followers, respectively, their tweets on average only get 40-100 ‘engagements’ (likes, retweets) whereas Trump’s account, which has only 8 million followers, gets between 4-10 thousand engagements per tweet. This means a single Trump tweet probably has more ‘reach’ than all of the mainstream media combined. There’s no need for Trump to waste money on ineffective, costly campaign ads when Twitter and Facebook are free and have substantially more engagement and virality.

8. Related to #7, social media is taking over traditional media. From Reddit to 4chan to the ‘alt right’, Trump is like the Ron Paul of 2016, channeling internet grassroots enthusiasm, with ‘cuckservative’ as a rallying cry for millions of those on the ‘right’ who had enough of a party indifferent to the issues really important to voters (immigration).

9. Until recently, hoaxes took time to debunk, often after the damage had already been done. However, with the collective intelligence of social media and sites like Reddit, these armies of netizens are not only influencing the news cycle but are also debunking hoaxes within hours instead of days or weeks, forcing the mainstream media to quickly retract stories and issue corrections. A recent example is the Michelle Fields assault hoax, which falsely implicated Trump staffer Corey Lewandowski. Now the left is trying to create a narrative that Trump is a womanizer, in a New York Times article that too was quickly debunked as a hoax, with many comments by women taken out of context to defame Trump.

10. Trump is like Teflon. Related to #3, because Trump is so masterful at connecting with voters, he’s impervious to everything, and the media’s only recourse if to make stuff up (#9) when facts fail.

Trump skipping the debates: a smart move

The mainstream liberal and conservative media cannot fathom why Trump would want to skip the Iowa debate, but if Trump is smart he will continue to abstain from GOP debates. There is no ‘rule’ that says candidates must debate. But the main reason why candidates debate is not to pitch policy but merely for exposure. However, Trump has more than enough goodwill and exposure, making further debate unnecessary.

By not debating, everyone will be talking about him. ‘Where’s Trump?’ ‘Why is not not debating?’ Hence, he steals the spotlight, which is really what matters in the end.

By not debating, Trump controls the message and the platform. He can leverage the media attention from his refusal to debate to explain why he’s not going to debate, arguing correctly that he would not have gotten a fair shake.

A debate without Trump is otherwise forgettable. As Mike argues, Trump is so effulgent and charismatic, he lifts his competition, too. Without Trump, no one is going to remember what Rubio, Jeb, or Cruz has to say. Some have likened Trump to a rodeo clown, but he’s much smarter than that.

The final debate is probably unavoidable. Debating Sanders should be a cakewalk. All Trump has to do is point to the Soviet Union and Venezuela as examples of why socialism doesn’t work. Sanders will try to explain why higher taxes and more regulation is good for the economy, and Trump using his extensive business experience will articulate otherwise. Trump unlike Sanders, has experience in the private sector, lending credibility to his side. It will be like the October 2012 debate when Romney obliterated Obama.

A debate against Hillary will be harder, owing to Hillary’s superior intellect and policy experience. Hillary has waited decades for this moment, and she’s not going down without a fight. Trump will have to emphasize his charisma and private sector experience and avoid the semantic traps Hillary will likely lay.

Media Outrage Fuels Trump Campaign

Trump mocks reporter’s chronic illness — and MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ cruelly laughs about it

And

Donald Trump’s various rude and offensive comments haven’t hurt him at all

Trump’s strategy is to get the media to overreact, which brings the issue to the forefront of the National Debate.

Even if there’s no definitive proof New Jersey Muslims weren’t partying in response to 911, it’s plausible some were celebrating (maybe in other ways), and that’s good enough. He’s planting seeds in the minds of millions of potential voters that, yes, we do have a Muslim problem in America. Trump is controlling the narrative, and that’s what matters. As we saw last week with Trump’s ‘incorrect’ race and crime statistics, the liberal media in trying to ‘correct’ Trump, is falling into his trap.

This leftist outrage will blow over. The media is trying to foment a narrative of collective outrage when, in reality, many people probably thought his impression (assuming it was intentional) was kinda funny and accurate.

There is also evidence Trump was not mimicking the reporter’s disability, but his inability to remember what he wrote 14 years ago:

Trump isn’t mocking the reporter’s handicap. You need to watch the video. Then, read Scott’s “Update” in the blog post above and the accompanying cartoon. Trump is mocking the reporter’s confusion from a story he wrote 14 years ago, and now can’t remember, can’t remember if it is true, can’t remember if what he wrote is true, can’t explain why just a few days earlier the Washington Post claimed to have run a Lexis/Nexis search on all media finding no contemporaneous evidence of Trump’s claim and yet it was printed IN THEIR OWN PAPER!

And on a related note, if the disabled want full integration in society and to be treated as ‘equals’, that includes possible ridicule and mockery. Liberals want protected status and equality, but the two cannot coexist.

Also, Serge Kovaleski, being that he’s a journalist for a major publication, is a public figure. Had Trump mocked some random person with a disability, it would have been far worse. Trump knows this – he only targets public figures, who should be able to take the heat.

Scott Adams writes:

2. Trump mocked an enemy reporter who has a physical disability. In the video, Trump does a sarcastic physical impression of the man that is hilarious to anyone with a sick sense of humor but appalling to anyone who has the least bit of respect for humankind. Personally, I’m in that second group, and I advise you to pretend you’re in it too.

So I guess everyone else who laughed is a sicko, according to Scott. Humor is a coping mechanism to help people get through the monotony of a world that has been cuckold by political correctness. If we can’t laugh at the absurdity of it all, even if it’s possibly mean spirited or inappropriate, then you’ve eliminated a refuge for many people. Especially ironic coming from a cartoonist, of all people, whose job it is to make people laugh.

Part of humor is the reaction, not just the prop or the joke. It was funny making jokes about Obama during the 2008 and 2012 campaigns not because of the jokes themselves, but how I imagined the left would react to reading them.

Hillary the Lesser of Two Evils

From Canto Talk: The Democrats are really socialists now

That’s right. There is no real difference, and that is not a good path to national election for the Democrats.

President Clinton tried to move the party to the center. He worked with the GOP to pass welfare reform and signed free trade agreements like NAFTA. Clinton understood that the party had gone too far to the left and was losing the middle class.

Perhaps V.P. Biden can put the party back in the middle. At the same time, how can he please the Sanders vote if he does that?

Not long ago, the left mocked the GOP as the party of old guys clinging to their guns and the 10th Amendment.

It looks like the Democrats are the party of old guys (and ladies) clinging to the Great Society and their Woodstock LPs.

In 2008 Hillary Clinton, for all her flaws, was correct about Obama’s inexperience, his softness on terror, his connections with unsavory individuals, and inability to appeal to working, hard-working white males. Obama won despite failing to receive the majority of the white male vote:

Along with Sarah Palin, Hillary at least deserves some credit for exposing Obama for the wealth spreader and Islamic sympathizer that he is. We can poke fun about her email server and pantsuits, but I would rather have Hillary as president than Sanders, and many on the right would also agree Hillary is the lesser of two evils. Bernie Sanders wants to spread your wealth through regulation, entitlement spending, and taxes to those who did nothing to earn it.

The welfare liberals like Sanders want to cling to to the ‘old era’ of overpaid jobs that don’t create enough economic value, whereas some on the right understand that the economy is changing in way where productivity and quantifiable results have precedence over wages and benefits.

The Trump PR Machine

Trump has momentum. The question is, will he follow through or drop-out as he as done every time before.

IMHO, Trump is an establishment candidate pretending to be anti-establishment. It’s possible he is helping Jeb by making the ‘establishment’ seem more electable by comparison. People assume his one comment about immigration makes him a rebel, but it’s probably marketing and hype. His campaign is like the Apprentice, but on a grander scale. His strategy is making attention seeking remarks for publicity to boost his brand. Like how Coca Cola constantly advertises to remind people it exists, Trump does the same. I don’t begrudge that as a business matter, but let’s not pretend he’s a serious candidate or that he has much of a chance. Mitt Romney in 2012, by contrast, was a serious candidate.

In the extremely unlikely event Trump becomes president, he will probably continue the Bush doctrine, leaving the anti-establishment Republicans who voted for him disappointed. He has also flipped-flopped on several issues such as drug legalization, eminant domain, and abortion. He’s also very litigious. But flip-flopping has become so commonplace in politics though. Nowadays among some Republicans, unlike as recently as a decade ago, being for drug decriminalization is ‘cool’, supporting controlled legalization of marijuana and shorter sentencing for drug offenders. The GOP definitely seems to be moving to the left on social issues.

As for his net worth, is he broke? Proabably not. His assets are held in The Trump Orgasnization, a holding company for Trump’s multitude of businesses.

AXA Financial Center 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York City and 555 California Street, in San Francisco: When Trump was forced to sell a stake in the railyards on Manhattan’s West Side, the Asian group to which he sold then sold much of the site for $1.76 billion. Trump ended up owning 30% of the two buildings. Based on the sales price, Trump’s stake was valued at $486 million.[6]

That alone is worth half a billion dollars. If Trump were to sell his entire holding company at once, including unconditional rights to the name ‘Trump’, he would probably get more than the sum of the parts. The question is, if Trump the brand were a public company, what outlook would investors give? If people stop caring about Trump, obviously the value would fall, so this is probably why publicity is so important. His whole business model is taking ordinary stuff and slapping his name on it; it’s not like most businesses, which have patents and tangible products.

There is a still a long way to go. As I said before, it comes down to the primaries. Everyone is in a frenzy, like the election is tomorrow. If Trump does badly in Iowa and New Hampshire, he will probably dropout, as candidates who do badly early on tend to do. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Trump & Sanders

Any 2016 speculation before the primaries is pretty much a waste of energy. If Bernie loses to Hillary in Iowa and Hew Hampshire, he’s pretty much finished, baring some major scandal or gaffe for Hillary. The GOP field is more diverse, with many candidates neck-and-neck, making it harder to determine a front-runner from the first few primaries, but if Jeb wins the first two by a comfortable margin, it’s pretty safe to conclude he will be the nominee.

A misconception is that the GOP is trying to suppress certain candidates, but this is false.

People choose the nominee through the nominating process of primaries and caucuses, not through some secretive cabal that convenes by a pyre in a castle to anoint the ‘chosen one’. When Trump loses (which he most certainty will) it won’t be because the GOP ‘establishment’ was keeping him down, but because he wasn’t able to get enough delegates to win the convention. What happens is these ‘maverick’ candidates tend to screw up, as we saw in 2012 with Herman Cain and Rick Perry, or they simply don’t get enough votes in the primaries. Yea, these moderates may suck, but they keep winning where it counts (the primaries). The media creates this narrative that people are tired of ‘politics as usual’, yet when people go to the voting booth they vote for the usual. Donald Trump, for all his chest-thumping, will probably pullout before the deadline, as he has always done in the past, using his brief candidacy as just another PR stunt. In the unlikely event he files the necessary financial disclosure forms, for many possible reasons (inexperience, gaffes, scandal), Trump will simply fail to win any primaries despite all the hype he’s generating now, while candidates that are boring but reliable pull ahead, analogous to the Tortoise and the Hare fable. ‘Boring’ wins the nomination, going as far as H.W. Bush in 1988. Candidates that are too ‘extreme’ or candidates that are not career politicians tend to fare poorly in GOP presidential primaries. That’s just the way it is.

Some on the right say the millennials are hopelessly infatuated with Sanders, much in the same way they were with Obama, but on Reddit, especially on viral Imgur posts of Sanders quotes, there are a sizable number of dissenters, so it’s not like every millennial is in the tank for Sanders. Many millennials, especially some of the smarter ones, know that Sanders is promising policy that is not only economically destructive, but also unconstitutional (especially the part about wealth confiscation). Much like Obama, Sanders appeals to the ignorance of the masses for votes. Some liken Sanders to a liberal Ron Paul, in which case I agree: they both advocate wealth destroying policy.

Ron Paul = destroy your wealth by ending fed/raising rates and making stock market & real estate prices fall

Sanders = destroy your wealth through taxes and regulation

That’s why moderates tend to win and why I (and many others) don’t want to see our hard-earned wealth destroyed by impulsive populists who have nothing to lose if everything falls apart under their destructive leadership.

In the event Sanders becomes president, it will reflect a major failing of America’s system of government and a major argument for neo-reaction, or some sort of alternative to the system we have now (such as requiring a minimum personal ‘net worth’ and or a certain threshold of IQ to vote), as if Obama wasn’t reason enough for such an overhaul. Checks and balances only goes so far.

Related: Some Thoughts on the 2016 Campaign