After a VERY long hiatus, I’m back at the keyboard. (My family is probably glad to hear it, since they will not have to put up with my venting to them.)
It seems the “intelligentsia” cannot grasp the phenomenon that is Donald Trump. He seems to be able to defy every single “rule” of politics. He seems to be immune from the consequences of “mistakes” that every other politician works so hard to avoid making.
Why can Trump spout off and not be destroyed? Well, I believe that the answer to that question is both simple and complex.
The simple is plainly obvious: he just does not care what the punditry thinks. He calls them losers, and mocks their criticism. In so doing, he blunts it with those voter who have been drawn to him. Sure, such statements also alienate people who have not jumped on the Trump bandwagon yet, but that isn’t the point. He survives his “mistakes” and presses on.
He is helped a lot by the fact that he needs no donor money, he does not need backing from “mega donor” networks, and he cares nothing for the opinion of the party establishment. It is really easy to be Trump when there is no financial impact to your campaign for being Trump. Most other candidates cannot be so indifferent to the donor class.
But the complex part lies beneath the surface, and it is far more important for candidates to understand if they want to learn from Trump. They can (and should) duplicate his formula, and it does not require you to be a brash jerk all the time, either.
Trump has realized that the American people, including non-political types, are flat out frustrated and angry. Not at “the direction of the country” or “congress” or “the president” as most polls would tell the advisor class, who in turn tells their candidates.
They are pissed at the very political “formula” the advisor class keeps peddling. That formula looks like this:
Say nothing controversial + do nothing controversial + pander to donors + offer non-specific specifics + use “tested” talking points + never seem upset + let surrogates run nasty half true adds = victory.
We simply HATE this formula, but up until Trump, they ALL used it so we just put up with it. Sure, some politicians dropped one or two of these things and still won, and many of us were overly excited to see them deviate from the “formula”, but it was usually a short lived reprieve.
Walker, for example, dropped “do nothing controversial” and voters in WI rewarded him for it. Sadly, he seems to have been “fixed” of this deviation by the advisor class, who pushed him right back into their box for his POTUS run. Now he is just one more in a long line of mealy-mouthed, scared, timid, and formulaic candidates.
Watching the Fox debate was a clear demonstration of this formula juxtaposed to Trump. It was literally 9 clones of one politician vs. Trump. Was there a spits worth of difference between any of the other 9? With perhaps the exception of the Christie vs. Paul dust up, it was all the same “blah blah blah” we in Realville are sick to death of.
The entire “debate” was just more of the typical “Used Car Salesman” smiles, practiced talking point rote responses, phony emotionalism, and pandering to this donor group or that.
Except Trump. Every word out of his over-sized mouth was the exact opposite of any of that. Scowls. Indignation at the questions and the questioners, blunt answers that were not “pre-tested” with polling groups. It was just…..Trump. For better or worse, we knew what he really thought.
And a lot of people seem to gravitate to this, even if he is a phony conservative, Clinton loving, abortion supporting, single payer advocating, narcissistic blowhard with a horrible hair piece.
There are a lot of people willing to put up with all of that just to try to kill the beast that is the advisor class and their cloned, robotic, passionless, fake and dull candidates who will never REALLY do ANYTHING but will talk about doing something for literally hours on end.
So if the rest of the GOP field wants to close the gap with Trump, you better take note. There is something you can do right away to capture and use his magic.
Fire your advisors. Be yourself. Tell us how you really feel. Show passion and speak your mind. Get angry when you ARE angry. You can be non-formulaic like Trump without being a complete jackass and jerk, like Trump.
Of course your advisors will never show you this simple analysis.
And even you manage to see this on your own, you would have to run it by your advisors before you did anything.
And maybe poll test it to see if it might be OK.
And call some of your major donors to make sure you don’t lose their money if you do it.
And then only fire one of them so you can be specifically non-specific about the whole thing.
Oh, and don’t forget to smile for the camera.