Tuesday, January 26, 2016

WSJ: What drives the Trump strategy?

The Wall Street Journal tackled the question of what exactly drives the Donald Trump campaign on yesterday's front page.  Critics characterize him as a buffoon but there is apparently much more behind the blond hair than just hot air.  The newspaper reported:
Donald Trump made his decision to start skewering Sen. Ted Cruz as his private jet was approaching here earlier this month.

“Ted is hanging around the top too long,” the Republican presidential front-runner announced on the plane, according to his campaign manager. “Time to take him down.”

Mr. Trump’s airborne verdict to strike at his closest GOP rival and a look at other decisions like it reveal a truth behind his famously pointed attacks: Mr. Trump, not his staff or consultants, personally drives them, and they are both calculated and improvised to adapt to news and polls, with little research or extensive prep work.

Mr. Trump proceeded to question whether Mr. Cruz’s Canadian birth disqualified him. A week later, he tore into the Texas senator about a loan he took from Goldman Sachs to finance his political career and about his notoriety as a Senate “nasty guy.” The onslaught seemed to stall Mr. Cruz’s rise in Iowa, where polls show Mr. Trump holding an advantage.

In a repeated pattern, Mr. Trump has fired personal attacks at rivals when they emerge as a challenge. While his attacks and policy pronouncements often appear to be off-the-cuff, hours spent interviewing Mr. Trump and watching him behind the scenes show how he plots them, most often alone in his jet as he flies to early primary states.

“We do have a very big staff,” Mr. Trump said in an interview backstage just before an Ames, Iowa, appearance, “but I do like to make up my own mind on what I want to say.”....

Ten minutes before landing, he grabbed paper, scrawling five points—15 words—on what to say before his next adoring crowd. “I’m strategic, but trying to do the right thing and only saying what I have a very strong opinion on before going into battle,” he said on the plane. “Interestingly, people say that’s what everybody’s thinking but nobody wants to say it.”


At the event, he loosely followed his note, talking broadly and then returning to items on his list. After expressing support of the Second Amendment, he pointed out a few big men in the audience. “If we had you, and you, and you, with weapons, think how different the result would have been in Paris and San Bernardino.”

A key to his unscripted approach is his conversational style of speaking extemporaneously, incorporating the day’s news and gauging the crowd’s reaction. “Without a photographic memory, you can’t speak without notes,” Mr. Trump said. “My memory is one of the greats.”

Mr. Trump has shown a flair for touching the popular zeitgeist, such as in his position on immigration. But his campaign-by-counterpunch approach has critics charging him with eroding civility and raising the question of whether he has any positive message.

He drew new criticism for his weekend assertion in Iowa that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

“Trump’s style degrades people and public discourse,” said Pete Wehner, a former White House adviser and speechwriter for President George W. Bush. “His keen sense to go for the jugular and play to the Kardashian culture is effective, but dangerous for failing to offer a positive vision for the country.”

“I’m doing it from the heart—and the brain,” Mr. Trump said. “A lot of it resonates.”...

He has attacked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as “low energy,” Ben Carson by mocking the retired neurosurgeon’s story that a belt buckle spared a person he tried to stab as a teenager and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for his “profuse sweating.”

Mr. Bush and Mr. Cruz have responded to his taunts by questioning his conservative credentials. Mr. Rubio and Mr. Carson repeatedly resisted opportunities to respond directly to his remarks.

In late December, Mr. Trump took on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton after she said he had “demonstrated a penchant for sexism.”

“If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!” he tweeted. ...

On Mr. Trump’s jet next morning, a senior aide brought an Esquire magazine with the cover of Mr. Trump and the headline: “Hater in Chief.” At the rally that evening when Sarah Palin endorsed him, a few protesters yelled: “A vote for Trump is a vote for hate.” The crowd drowned them out: “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!.”

In his motorcade in Des Moines, Iowa, Mr. Trump said he wasn’t deterred by charges he is running a negative campaign. “A lot of times I sound negative, but ultimately I’m positive,” he said. “ ‘Make America Great Again’ is a very positive campaign.”

If his campaign doesn’t succeed, “the worst thing that happens, I’ll be standing in the middle of Turnberry with waves hitting me in the face,” Mr. Trump said, referring to a Trump golf resort on Scotland’s coast. “I’m either going to do it right, or I’m not going to do it at all.”.. Rest of article. 

Kingfish note: Where have you seen this style before? Huey P. Long.  Read T. Harry Williams biography of The Kingfish.   Same style. Same manner. Same complaints.  And a brain that knew exactly what it was doing as he broke the rules and drove his critics crazy.  Sort of like when Bear returned to the SEC and all kinds of hell was raised because he wasn't playing like a gentleman as he taught his players a new rough and tough style of football that busted leather helmets.


Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to hear a politician say what they want without asking permission from some group. It is about time we see a politician that is not a puppet.

Anonymous said...

It is scary that people are mezmerized by the star-power and frankness of the comments and don't register the absurdity contained in them. It shows how dumbed down the nation has become. I don't know one educated professional who supports him.

Anonymous said...

Obama was voted in and had empty slogans. Trump is the same. Trump is a liberal, but a populist.

Cruz is a true conservative. Kasich and Bush are liberals. Kasich even endorses bringing the Muslem immigrants here and the Iran nuclear treaty.

Rubio is moderate. Carson is a great man but does not have the savvy to be President.

Anonymous said...

The only thing worse than a damned Republican is a damned Democrat. There is no one running for president that is not a tool or an idiot................God help us!!

Anonymous said...

It's telling that more people watch SNL for their political insights than read articles. Do we really want a president who insults people on Twitter? Or is being President the ultimate form of entertainment?

Burke said...

10:35: "refreshing"? "saying what he wants"? But what he wants is never described in detail. The most specific thing I can recall is The Wall, which he plans to make Mexico pay for.

We're watching a TV sitcom about a candidate who says what he wants. If it were fictional, many more of us would enjoy the spectacle. Even Theodore Bilbo could be entertaining. But as Cromwell said to Parliament, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, to consider that you may be wrong." President Trump? With Sarah Palin in the Cabinet? Will he have epaulets and dark glasses? Me, I hear the Highway to Hell chimes.

Kingfish said...

Or read All the Kings Men. The scene where Taulos tears up his speech full of specifics, solutions, and other details and instead launches into a populist oriented oration that brings the crowd to its feet as he connects with them.

Anonymous said...

We have elected life long politicians for too long. Trump may not be the best but he is much better than some of these life long politicians who have been a ward of the govt. all of their life.
Look at what has become of the U.S. In debt up to our eyeballs, not a chance in hell of ever repaying what we have borrowed, becoming weaker every year, middle class disappearing, over half of the population on some sort of govt. benefits.
Something has to be done and we cannot keep electing life long politicians.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments. Read the piece in the "evil" NY Times about "Wait. Which Party is Imploding?" This excerpt really hits here. "I think a big factor for a lot of people is the belief that Trump is sticking up for people who feel they have been treated with contempt. Going all the back to 2008 with Obama’s infamous “they cling to guns or religion” line (at a fund-raiser in San Francisco, no less), there has been a tangible sense that this president cares more about virtually anyone else than he does about working-class people, who have been absolutely hammered by the recession. A psychologist once told me that most human conflict stems from poorly concealed contempt. Research shows that contempt is the best predictor of divorce. And I think it is part of what has sparked the Trump movement. " That is a possible explanation of Trump's success with white Democrats of the working class.
Now, see if you feel that contempt here from "educated professionals" and moderates or liberals. Here's the comment afore that one: "As a social scientist, I have been watching the so-called expert analysis unfold on this with real interest. From academia, explanations of Trumpism range from esoteric theories of disgust to simplistic accusations that working-class Republicans (and so-called Reagan Democrats) are just racists and xenophobes. But I don’t think these explanations ring true." Sound familiar here?

Re: "I don't know a single educated professional who supports him" is the real life companion to 1972. The New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael cried, "I don't know a single person who voted for him!" And Nixon took 49 states. And she told the truth. She said, "I can't believe it!" when Nixon was elected. Contempt for Trump or Sanders from the wealthy establishment? Yep. Doubt there will be 49 states for Trump. But don't look down your nose at him too quickly. The majority in this country remains the white Christian working and middle class. Along with minorities of faith and humble origin.

Anonymous said...

Less energy writing words, more creating a coherent thought.

Anonymous said...

If people don't want Trump as our president give us an honest politician to vote for.

Ophelia J. Fortune said...

"I don't know a single person who voted for him," "I don't know a single educated professional who supports him," blah, blah, blah. You all are going to be mightily surprised, and flummoxed, if he wins come November. And I think he will win.

Do I support him? Do I desire his victory? No, not really, but I think his "madness" (ah, but IS he mad?) is the perfect antidote to the left-wingery (which HAS gone mad).

Google/re-read Yeats' "The Second Coming." All is said.

Tell da troof, Danny Mollisack! said...

12:55 - very well said. When I saw the "I don't know one educated professional that supports him" line, I immediately thought of Pauline Kael and her oft quoted evidence of the insular Weltanschauung to which so many liberals subscribe. The attacks on Trump are becoming increasingly snide and superior, and I think you are correct in pointing to the unabashed arrogance that exudes from this president and his water-bearers in the MSM as at least part of the reason for Trump's success.

It's not just Republicans that are on his side. The media is working hard to paint the Trump voters with a single brush, but they come from many backgrounds and are energized in a way that Cruz, Rubio, or Clinton supporters are not. Only Sanders is generating anything near the fervor that Trump is. The media attacks the candidate, the party, and the voters - anyone and everyone in a scattershot attempt to marginalize him, but Trump's polling has remained high. One has to draw the conclusion that the media's and the elite's attempts are backfiring.

For the record, I think Trump will make a miserable president. I know it's the truth and I will not vote for him, but I can't help but feel a bit of schadenfreude when I see Trump's success giving fits to the same people who took vociferous glee in watching Obama ride to the White House on the back of a servile media who rarely challenged him and called those who did racist. Perhaps it's the only joy one could take in a Trump presidency.

And 1:03, if you cannot discern the quite coherent line of thinking in the previous post, the problem lies with you, bud.

Ophelia said...

You nailed it, 2:11.

Anonymous said...

@11:08 - very highly educated professional supports Trump here. Same things said about "that actor" in 1980. The ridiculous bureaucracy in the Fed isn't up for election and no Pres will make much difference.Might as well have some fun.

Anonymous said...

Reagan excluded...the presidents that you educated professionals (of which i am one) have voted for have sucked absolute donkey dick and put us in the mess we are in now. I am not really ready to vote for trump (more of a cruz man), but jeez. If you educated professionals don't wake up to the misery that most of our country has been in for the last 10 years, you will wake up with a pitch fork under your chin.

11:08...your hubris is showing.

Anonymous said...

Don't be a fool. I agree with respect to the Fed, but our position globally, let alone continentally, is not a game by which we should bet our futures on a reality star.

4:29, 'educated professionals' have better words than 'suck donkey dick' and 'but jeez.' Your inability to hide your lack of (or poor) education is showing. The comment about supporting Cruz could have been inferred, and was redundant.

Anonymous said...

Sure nice to hear all of these educated people telling us how stupid we are for supporting Trump.
Please explain how the educated voters got us into debt so deep we are stealing from our grand children?
Please tell us how the educated voters have our military in so many countries but we cannot defend our own borders?
How about the educated voters telling us what is happening to the middle class, or how all of our jobs went over seas, or how our veterans are being treated like dogs, or how the U.S. is dropping behind other countries, or why we have to take in refuges from other countries while we have homeless people living on the streets.

Sounds like you educated voters have some explaining to do.

Anonymous said...

Wow 5pm, you have some amazing skills there. You need to seek a greater calling in life if you can discern someone's education pedigree from comments on the internet. I take it you are the pompous ass from above. Some of the greatest intellectual men to ever walk the earth had notoriously foul mouths.

Don't ever assume anything. You are, in fact, dead wrong.


SusieQ said...

4:29, 'educated professionals' have better words than 'suck donkey dick' and 'but jeez.'

Right. Educated professionals prefer the copious usage of the word 'prick'. If you hear, or read here at JJ, the word 'prick' you can be assured that is an educated professional utterance.

[Their] former glories and all [their] stories
Dragged and washed with eager hands

Can we get back to some real jackassery Kingfish?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the last contestant of the Bachelor is available as his running mate. That will make the morons on this thread giddy. Were you able to keep it in your pants when you watched the Sarah Palin endorsement? She was speaking your language.

Anonymous said...

12:55's comments about Trump's rise because the "working middle class" have been "treated with contempt" is about as defining a statement about the delusion of his supporters as anything I've read. Trump has convinced the mindless to ignore the career he has spent doing just that.

What's more, Trump's entire political campaign is based on calling those who don't praise him dumb, stupid, terrible, etc., yet, his supports think those that speak to them in the same tone are condescending.

I'm scared for this country's fate if left in the hands of the mindless fools begging to be led by a reality star. But, your numbers are rising just like the numbers on the post about births out of wedlock.

History will judge this time harshly.

Anonymous said...

8:07, my opinion is that history will harshly judge the last 8 years.
During this time the U.S. has dropped from being the top country in the world. Our jobs have left. Our tax money is used for helping other countries and their people while there are those in the U.S. who are homeless. We, as a country, are forced to accept people into our country who are trying to destroy us. Our military cannot even defeat a street gang.
And if any person dares to speak up the are called racist.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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