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Trump Ran A Post-Ideological Campaign

This article was first published December 5, 2016 (approximately 1 month after the 2016 U.S. presidential election).
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During a panel of the campaign managers for the Republican primary candidates (as they mulled over Trump's surprising appeal to evangelicals), Trump's pollster Tony Fabrizio jumped into the conversation with an important window into the winner's thinking.

"Everybody in this room needs to pull their head out of their a**es," said Fabrizio. "We really live in a world where everybody thinks that ideology is linear, and that, 'if you answer these 10 questions correctly, that makes you a conservative.' But not every conservative is pro-life. Not every conservative is anti-gay marriage. Not every conservative puts 100 percent emphasis on this or that."

"One of the problems is many people tried to look at the Donald Trump phenomenon through the ideological lenses which had defined previous Republicans presidential nominating contests," Fabrizio added. "Donald Trump is post-ideological. His movement transcends ideology.... Through his own antennae and, trust me, many times I had this conversation with him Donald Trump understood the fold in American politics. It's the reason so many Trump supporters and so many [Bernie] Sanders supporters agreed on so many things."
 link to www.washingtonpost.com

Trump's pollster says he ran a 'post-ideological' campaign

By James Hohmann December 5, 2016 Email the author

Donald Trump applauds after finishing his speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, last Thursday night. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

THE BIG IDEA:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Donald Trump won more because of strength than ideology.

The shouting match between top advisers to the president-elect and Hillary Clinton's senior staff overshadowed several other compelling conversations during last week's post-election conference at Harvard's Kennedy School.

One revealing exchange came during a panel of the campaign managers for the Republican primary candidates. As they mulled over Trump's surprising appeal to evangelicals, Trump's pollster jumped into the conversation with an important window into the winner's thinking.

"Everybody in this room needs to pull their head out of their a**es," said Tony Fabrizio. "We really live in a world where everybody thinks that ideology is linear, and that, 'if you answer these 10 questions correctly, that makes you a conservative.' But not every conservative is pro-life. Not every conservative is anti-gay marriage. Not every conservative puts 100 percent emphasis on this or that."

"One of the problems is many people tried to look at the Donald Trump phenomenon through the ideological lenses which had defined previous Republicans presidential nominating contests," Fabrizio added. "Donald Trump is post-ideological. His movement transcends ideology.... Through his own antennae and, trust me, many times I had this conversation with him Donald Trump understood the fold in American politics. It's the reason so many Trump supporters and so many [Bernie] Sanders supporters agreed on so many things."

Trump insisted early in his campaign that he did not need a pollster because they are a waste of money. But he signed Fabrizio in the days after securing the Republican nomination in May. The veteran operative polled for Rand Paul in the primaries, but he has worked for clients from across the GOP coalition (from the U.S. Chamber and Bob Dole to Rick Scott and Matt Bevin).

"Every time he said something ... and doubled down, that was proof to voters he'd speak his mind and not lie to them. It's what they wanted," Fabrizio said of Trump. "His best group of voters were those who said they were 'angry.' And let me tell you, in the Republican primary, a third of voters would tell you they were outright angry. With another 60 percent telling you they were dissatisfied. So he had a rich pool to tap into."

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The Republican presidential candidates take the stage for the CNBC debate at the University of Colorado last October. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)
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-- Policy didn't matter. "What we missed was that nobody cared about solutions," said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who managed Mike Huckabee's campaign until he dropped out, then joined Trump's operation as a consultant soon after. "They just wanted to burn it all down. They didn't care about building it back up. They wanted to burn it to the ground and then figure out what to do with the ashes afterwards. There was no understanding of this electorate and the anger on the front end in terms of just how pissed off they were. You may have the best policy in the world to get every single American the best job they've ever had. Nobody cared."

-- Experience didn't matter. From Marco Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan: "We got hit with commercial after commercial about how little experience [Marco had] and how many missed votes in the Senate. It didn't matter. People don't care. The Senate sucks. Why would we want to be there? We're not voting. Who cares? And voters bought into that. Experience was a liability. It was not an asset. We figured that out early, but Trump took it to the next level."

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Barry Bennett works at Ben Carson's headquarters in Alexandria last October. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)
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-- Ben Carson's campaign manager, Barry Bennett, argued that Trump's success was always more about strength than ideology. "We went to Iowa for three or four days before we started and did a bunch of focus groups to try to figure out what people wanted," he recalled. "I thought Ben's lack of government experience was going to be a negative. Well, it wasn't. But what they wanted more than anything else was strength. And Trump was the one that they thought had that."

Bennett fondly recalled the stretch when his client was riding at the top of the polls. In addition to self-inflicted wounds from a power struggle inside the campaign, he believes that the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris made it impossible for someone with the retired neurosurgeon's personality to secure the nomination. "We couldn't really believe it, to tell you the truth," Bennett told the group. "The first six weeks of the fourth quarter we raised $22 million. We were going gangbusters, and then we ran into Paris, Armstrong Williams and a couple other issues. In the next six weeks of the fourth quarter, we raised $1.5 million. ... There was an opportunity for a nice outsider to win until Paris came, and then all of a sudden [voters] needed 'strength' again."
Corey Lewandowski arrives at Trump Tower for a transition meeting. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

-- All three people who ran the Trump campaign noted, to varying degrees, the billionaire's lack of a fixed ideology. While his rivals for the nomination were playing multi-dimensional chess, Trump kept winning by playing checkers. In retrospect, there is something so skillfully simple about a message that defied easy categorization. He could never be placed in one of the "lanes" operatives talk so much about: tea party, establishment, social conservative, libertarian or hawk.

Corey Lewandowski: "We didn't have a traditional campaign of coalitions. It was the same message for everybody: ... 'I'm going to make America great again.' ... With all due respect to Jeb (Bush), he had three of four different launches. There was Jeb 2.0, Jeb 2.5 (and) Jeb 3.0. We just stuck on the same message the entire time. It was so simplistic, and it didn't target any specific demographic. ... We didn't have this notion where, 'We have to go win evangelicals in South Carolina to be successful.'"

Paul Manafort: "They always tried to pigeonhole him. They'd say, 'He's talking to white working men' or 'He's talking to uneducated older people.' ... He had a sense of the country that no other candidate had, and he knew what was bothering the country. So everybody would fixate on the (John) McCain comment, but he was talking about the veterans and how they're not treated right. ... He was talking about terrorists coming into the country and not being vetted, with people being afraid to walk down the streets. The media heard 'Muslims.' You can go through almost any one of the 'faux pas,' so to speak, and you'll see the underlying message he was talking about was resonating."

Kellyanne Conway: "This is the first time that Republicans have resisted the fiction of 'electability' from early in the primary."
Jeb Bush rides his bus around New Hampshire last November. In retrospect, by this point, his team does not think there was anything that they could have been done to stop Trump from winning the nomination. (Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post)

-- Could Trump ever have been stopped? "At a certain point, probably August (2015), Trump was Godzilla walking into the power plant," answered David Kochel, Bush's chief strategist. "Everybody thought he'd blow up, and he just got stronger every time. He touched the third rail. He touched the fourth rail. He touched the fifth rail. He kept growing. He kept getting bigger. The feedback loop was kind of unstoppable by then. You would have had to define him out of the race real early. Jeb's 'chaos candidate' frame was a late shot that didn't do that. If you could have hung that big concept around him in July, maybe it would have been different."

Trump's GOP rivals now all acknowledge the collective action problem that led them to ignore the first-time candidate - hoping someone else would knock him off - until it was too late. "I thought it was a reality TV gimmick," said Sullivan, Rubio's manager. "I didn't think he'd even necessarily stick in the race. In a lot of previous election cycles, no one maintains a lead as the frontrunner that long. So I assumed, somewhat wrongly, that gravity would take course. Why would I engage in a fight with a skilled knife-fighter? Let someone else go and attack him."




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See Also


Portland Indymedia Jan 2014 vs Jan 2017, NAFTA and Trump
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2017/01/434208.shtml


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Fantasies Of Impeachment and Protest: Continued Misreadings of Donald Trump
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/11/433792.shtml


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Trump Triumph, Thanks To
Liberal Brains Pickled In The Formaldehyde Of Identity Politics
author: Luciana Bohne source: CounterPunch
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/11/433787.shtml


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Donald Trump Could Be The Military-Industrial Complex's Worst Nightmare
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/07/432871.shtml


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Millions Of Ordinary Americans Support Donald Trump. Here's Why
author: Thomas Frank
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/03/431843.shtml


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Hope Against Despondency: Interpreting Class Post-Trump
author: James Brittain
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/11/433827.shtml


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[Trump:] "What? You Think We're So Innocent?"
author: Paul Atwood
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/06/436177.shtml

In response to media questions about his failure to address the dismal human rights record of North Korea Trump in his inimitable manner said "What, you think we're so innocent?"

Trump is the first president of whom I am aware even to broach the unmentionable much less admit publicly that we are hardly exceptional.


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Trump Calls Out 'Corporate Media' West Palm Beach, Florida Live Speech 10/13/2016
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/10/433420.shtml

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLcP0inAS5w

from Trump/Pence rally at South Florida Fair Expo Center in West Palm Beach, Florida on October 13th 2016.

starts around 9:00 into speech

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"... the most powerful weapon deployed by the Clintons is the corporate media 'the press'. Let's be clear on one thing: the corporate media in our country is no longer involved in journalism. They're a political special interest, no different than any lobbyist or other financial entity, with a total political agenda; and the agenda is not for you [points to audience], it's for themselves.
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When has a Republican presidential candidate _ever_ called out or otherwise criticized corporate mass media, for any purpose or reason?


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Trump: Iraq Invasion "Worst Decision In The History Of Our Country" West Columbia, SC 6/25
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/06/436268.shtml
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"... We have seven trillion dollars invested in the Middle East what do we have? What do we have? Other than death, and destruction what do we have? What a decision that was, to go in. I believe it was the worst decision in the history of our country; and the way we got out was horrible, if you look at Iraq. The way we got out was horrible. Truly one of the worst decisions ever made in this country. Were it for seven trillion dollars and thousands of lives but count the lives on both sides, folks. Millions of lives, in my opinion. Millions. You don't hear that millions of lives."
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Donald Trump's Unique Human Decency On Iraq
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/10/433491.shtml

homepage: homepage: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2016/12/05/daily-202-trump-s-pollster-says-he-ran-a-post-ideological-campaign/5844d166e9b69b7e58e4


When? ... 03.Jul.2018 02:23

The Red 'X' Society

...are you People going to figure out that there is no Right, no Left, no Campaign Strategy?

It is a Dictatorship that keeps you busy guessing why you're getting f-ed in the ass.

RE: "there is no Right, no Left" see also 08.Jul.2018 14:49

_

The Left-Right Political Spectrum Is Bogus
author: Crispin Sartwell