Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Inside the Trump Campaign

Beyond the fact that so many people enjoy reading what I have to say about Donald Trump I have been writing about him and the election in order to shed some psycho wisdom on the proceedings.

Since I do not know Trump or any of the other candidates I can only speculate. Obviously, some people have taken serious exception to my speculations, because it beggars belief that I cannot understand that having a 73% disapproval rating among women spells: Victory.

Alas and alack, yesterday I offered up what must count as a construction of the psychology of the leading Republican candidate. Obviously, some people were seriously discommoded, and I do feel badly about it, but I think they would feel much better if they made a donation to the blog. It would be therapeutic. Donate button on the left of the page.

In the meantime, I always look for empirical facts that can support or disprove my speculations. So I was somewhat heartened after posting my remarks to come across this article by one Stephanie Cegielski. You might not have heard of her but she was the first Communications Director of the Make America Great Again Super PAC.

She has, alas, become disillusioned by what she saw on the inside of the Trump campaign and has resigned her position. But, awaiting the moment when the wrath of Trump will be visited upon her by way of lawsuits she has managed to offer her insider look at the candidate and his expectations.

Before reading her views you might want to refresh your memory by glancing at yesterday’s post below.

I will not compare and contrast, but will only report on Cegielski’s experience in the belly of the Trump campaign:

Almost a year ago, recruited for my public relations and public policy expertise, I sat in Trump Tower being told that the goal was to get The Donald to poll in double digits and come in second in delegate count. That was it.

The Trump camp would have been satisfied to see him polling at 12% and taking second place to a candidate who might hold 50%. His candidacy was a protest candidacy.

Again, the goal was not to be nominated and not to win. Because he understood what many of his supporters have not yet caught on to:

I don't think even Trump thought he would get this far. And I don’t even know that he wanted to, which is perhaps the scariest prospect of all.

He certainly was never prepared or equipped to go all the way to the White House, but his ego has now taken over the driver's seat, and nothing else matters. The Donald does not fail. The Donald does not have any weakness. The Donald is his own biggest enemy.

Cegielski  emphasizes the point:

I'll say it again: Trump never intended to be the candidate. But his pride is too out of control to stop him now.

You can give Trump the biggest gift possible if you are a Trump supporter: stop supporting him.

He doesn't want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House. He’s achieved that already and then some. If there is any question, take it from someone who was recruited to help the candidate succeed, and initially very much wanted him to do so.

And also:

The man does not know policy, nor does he have the humility to admit what he does not know — the most frightening position of all.

One is beginning to see why the campaign hired Cegielski. She is insightful and clear-headed:

I also started seeing a trend of incompetence and deniability.

When there was a tweet that contained an error, he would blame it on an intern; when there was a photo containing a World War II Nazi Germany background, he would blame it on an intern; when he answered questions in an overtly controversial fashion, he would claim that he did not properly hear the question. He refused to take responsibility for his actions while frequently demanding apologies from others.

Imagine Trump wronged you, even in the smallest possible way. He would go to the grave denying he had ever done anything wrong to you — ever.

And she ends with a point I have made on various occasions, not necessarily about Trump:

Trump acts as if he's a fictional character. But like Hercules, Donald Trump is a work of fiction.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Okay, Stuart, Trump is a fictional character who exists in an autobiographical work of fiction. Let's assume that is true.

Lots of people are reading. It's a bestseller. Whether it wins the Pulitzer or National Book Award remains to be seen.

Something is resonating.

So, what do you say... (a) what's the premise of the book, and (b) what does the book's popularity say about where Americans are at?

What's the core message the author is trying to convey, and why are people connecting with it so widely? Even while foreign governments, our politicians, the U.S. Department of Education, school boards and teachers are telling us not to read it? What is so scary that they would have the book burned or forbidden? Why do TV networks roundly condemn this character yet quote his every breath?

People are voting for this man. In huge numbers. We've had people like Sarah Palin explode on the scene and fizzle out. Trump has not.

I would like you to share your take on why. It's no longer because he's a reality TV star or owns casinos. Something he is saying is resonating with many people.

And it's becoming tiresome to hear that Trump supporters are stupid. That's just more of it.

What I see is the upper 10-20% of income and formal education in this country absolutely freaking out about Trump. He has touched a visceral fear within them. Yet there's a reason for this, and polls show the vast majority of Americans believe our country is on the wrong track.

How about you?

JP said...

Trump just happens to be benefiting from classic Americana.

Namely, the Jacksonian impulse.

He's not doing well because he's Trump. He's doing well because his fictional Trump character is aligned with the Jacksonian impulse from the public.

If we get an actual Jacksonian for the next presidential race, that person can actually win.

Anonymous said...

One other thing, as background in this...

I have no illusions about what is going on here.

I believe that the man mentioned in my comment above will be assassinated by the close of 2017. Whether that's today or if he comes to occupy the top seat of the executive branch.

I believe he is that disruptive to the elite interests of our country.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

JP @March 30, 2016 at 5:43 AM:

An ample helping of Teddy Roosevelt, too.

JP said...


You are confusing the Jacksonian impulse in the American public with Donald Trump, which is characterized by your statement here:

"What I see is the upper 10-20% of income and formal education in this country absolutely freaking out about Trump. He has touched a visceral fear within them. Yet there's a reason for this, and polls show the vast majority of Americans believe our country is on the wrong track."

Stuart is right here, that Trump is a fictional character.

Trump is not capable of being an actual Jacksonian president because he has no idea what he is doing.

However, you are also right, that Trump is resonating. He's resonating because he's managed to very effectively reflect and ride the Jacksonian impulse.

The problem is that the Jacksonians are bad for Trump in that they got him further than he even intended to go and Trump is bad for the Jacksonians since he's not the right person for them.

The Jacksonians are not going anywhere. And they are only going to get stronger, even when Trump loses the general election because President Hillary is going to add more people to their ranks.

Ares Olympus said...

Wow, excellent and credible admissions from a campaign insider.

I wondered the same thing about Ralph Nader's presidential runs from 1996-2008, him not running with any expectation of winning. He wanted to offer a voice of grievance against the corporate duopoly. I did wonder why he wouldn't just run the Democratic primary, where he'd get more attention, but it would suggest it was a partisan problem when it wasn't.

If Trump didn't have an ego-problem, he might admit his incompetence, and his lack of passion to learn what's really needed to be a good president. Then after gaining this "bully pulpit" of a near majority of the GOP delegates, he could be magnanimous, and confess he really doesn't want to be president, but he's upset for the direction the country is headed, and he could endorse ANYONE else that he thought would be more able not only to the role of president, but the voice of resistance against those with feelings of entitlement to power.

Trump actually could have done a great favor, perhaps NO ONE who can SURVIVE a modern campaign has the best skills for leadership, he could even endorse someone who would make a great president, but would never humiliate himself, lower himself to do what it takes to gain the endorsement.

The term is Statesman, and it goes back to Plato:
The Statesman (Greek: Πολιτικός, Politikos; Latin: Politicus), also known by its Latin title, Politicus, is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato.

According to John M. Cooper, the dialogue's intention was to clarify that to rule or have political power called for a specialized knowledge. The statesman was one who possesses this special knowledge of how to rule justly and well and to have the best interests of the citizens at heart. It is presented that politics should be run by this knowledge, or gnosis. This claim runs counter to those who, the Stranger points out, actually did rule.

Those that rule merely give the appearance of such knowledge, but in the end are really sophists or imitators. For, as the Stranger maintains, a sophist is one who does not know the right thing to do, but only appears to others as someone who does. The Stranger's ideal of how one arrives at this knowledge of power is through social divisions. The visitor takes great pains to be very specific about where and why the divisions are needed in order to properly rule the citizenry.

There is perhaps a romantic ideal, that suggest leaders are "fragile" in the sense of vulnerability. The easiest way to rise in power is to be a suckup, to tell people what they want to hear, and create the image of mastery, while all that's really being mastered is the ability to hide weakness. So "real leaders" need to be protected in some way, have people close them, and willing to do the dirty political work, to keep the leader clean, and above mindless partisanship and partisan infighting.

Donald Trump is surely not in the position to judge the character of the best of us, but he can be like a general, clearing the battlefield of the riffraff, and then the more gentlemanly characters can assert their visions.

A brokered convention could be a glorious thing, if the 49% candidate doesn't want to win.

But who the statesmen are, I'm not willing to guess at this point.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

73% disapproval rating among women... is that the kind of resonating you are talking about???

JP said...


"73% disapproval rating among women... is that the kind of resonating you are talking about???"

Trump is resonating with the Jacksonian impulse, generally speaking. It's what's driving his outsized success so far.

He's also doing an excellent job of alienating women voters, who would otherwise vote for a Jacksonian populist candidate.

When Trump loses the general election to Hillary, the Jacksonian impulse is not going to be diminished and it will have nothing to do with Trump's performance art of a candidacy.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

JP @arch 30, 2016 at 6:00 AM

"However, you are also right, that Trump is resonating. He's resonating because he's managed to very effectively reflect and ride the Jacksonian impulse."

Correct. It's the message.

And it's resonating because our "leaders" don't give a damn.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Stuart Schneiderman @March 30, 2016 at 6:11 AM:

"73% disapproval rating among women... is that the kind of resonating you are talking about???"

The kind of resonating where the man in question might secure one of the two parties' nomination for president.

Meanwhile, an elderly white man is driving the "inevitable" nominee of the other party into fits. You know... the party that stands for equality while electing a weak nominee with "super delegates." The woman who enables her philandering husband. What percentage of the female vote will she get? What's her approval rating among women?

Marsh said...

If favorability mattered that much in this election, Ben Carson would be our nominee. Women may find Trump unpleasant/unfavorable, but that doesn't mean they won't vote for him. Especially over Clinton.

Most men will vote for Trump and women will split their vote among the two.

Marsh said...

Good job asking for money. Ask again after you've written a better post, and I'll contribute.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC: What's her approval rating among women?
Women continue to have a much more positive opinion of Hillary Clinton than men do. 56% of women have a favorable opinion of Clinton, while 32% view her unfavorably. Men are evenly divided in their opinions of Clinton.

Winning a general election on 50% approval, 39% disapproval looks like a tough game, until you consider the state of the Republican party candidates, and Trump on top as Stuart shows.

I can't tell if the Republican hatred of Hillary is a positive or negative. Slick Willy slipped out of many-a-snare, but it looks like Hillary will out slick her husband.

And Hillary won't need "superdelegates" to win a majority. At least that's the advantage of a 2-person race, one will gain the majority and the superdelegates will "bless" the winner like happened for Obama.

The more I think, the more I become convinced that Trump won't fight for endorsement at his high 40-something percent of the delegates but instead use his leverage to broker an anti-establishment statesman candidate who can actually win.

I am weary of being wrong about Trump, but it is fun to imagine what a candidate can do who doesn't want to win.

Marsh said...

Also, Stuart, that woman you quoted is supposed to be affiliated w/ MAGA PAC, which is not associated w/ Trump in ANY WAY. She's an attention whore, looking for her 15 mins. I'm sure she appreciates your attention.

Marsh said...

More on the woman you quoted...

She started this super Pac and was sent a cease and desist letter from Trump. She's a complete fraud.

Ares Olympus said...

Hey Marsh, wow, Snopes is already on this! Oh, well, it was a nicely attempted smeer.
WHAT'S TRUE: Stephanie Cegielski was a strategist for the Make America Great Again super PAC.

WHAT'S FALSE: Cegielski was Donald Trump's communications manager and top strategist.

The "Make America Great Again" super PAC went dark as of October 2015 amid ongoing scrutiny of where the money was coming from and going to, and whether the committee had direct ties to the Trump campaign.

Marsh said...

Yes, and Stuart couldn't be bothered to investigate the truthfulness of this woman's claims b/c it fit his assinine narrative.

Oh, I do hope Stuart's not seriously discommoded by my post. B/c then I'd feel badly.


Ares Olympus said...

Marsh, as Trump said "I only know what's on the internet."

Why should Stuart set higher standards than soon-to-be President Trump?

Marsh said...

If Stuart knew that, then he'd know all about that woman.

Ares Olympus said...

Yes and no, Marsh, that's the problem.

The internet is full of contradictions. So if you find a SOURCE of information, then a good fact-checker will find other sources of verification and contradictions, and finally evaluate those SOURCES for credibility.

Finally given "A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes" there might be 100,000 copies of the same lie for one truth lost in the forest.

Apparently not even Politifact can be trusted, with its liberal bias:

Anyway, perhaps if we just gave sufficient donations to Stuart for this blog, he could hire a fact checker and then us faithful readers would risk getting lazy and stop checking for him.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Glad to see that you have mastered the art of the ad hominem argument... which everybody should know, proves absolutely nothing. She was part of a Trump-supporting PAC. I was not. We came to the same speculative conclusion about the Trump candidacy. We are both probably right. Those who try to disprove the argument by shooting the messenger(s) are apparently incapable of addressing the ideas. Today's quiz is this: which presidential candidate, wanting to enhance his ratings with women just said that women who get illegal abortions should be punished? And which presidential candidate believes that the job of Supreme Court justices is to investigate criminal activity... that is, Hillary's potential criminal activity with the email?

Surely, the tone and the tenor of the comments after this post tells me that Trump does not bring out the best in people and that he provokes them into venting their spleen, no matter what. Try showing some respect or, at least, growing some manners.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I don't know how it is possible, but even Ann Coulter is having some doubts about the Teflon Don. I await the commenters who dismiss her views on the basis of... whatever:

Defending billionaire businessman Donald Trump is like constantly having to bail a teenage son from prison, author and political commentator Ann Coulter groused in a recent radio interview.

"I'm a little testy with our man right now. Our candidate is mental! Do you realize our candidate is mental?" Coulter said jokingly during a taping of an episode of the "Milo Yiannopoulos Show," which is scheduled to air in full this weekend. "It's like constantly having to bail out your 16-year-old son from prison."

From Betsy's Page, via Maggie's farm:

Marsh said...

Please. There's zero proof that she ever even met Trump and yet, you ran w/ her lies b/c they support your false narrative about him. You didn't bother to vet her before you quoted her. Everyone knows that Trump doesn't have any super packs. That should have been your first clue that she was a fraud.

I'm glad you brought up Ann Coulter and what she said in that interview w/ Milo. It was actually quite funny. And she is the perfect example of those 70% unfavorability w/ women. Ann doesn't like two of his comments, and yet, she will vote for him.

As far as what Trump is quoted as saying w/ regards to his town hall w/ MSNBC, I'll bet it was taken out of context in order to draw eyeballs. But, we shall see...

Marsh said...

Ann didn't like Trumps's retweet. But, Milo loved it.

They disagree about the retweet, but not about the Trump presidency.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

If you're not a professional flack, you've missed your calling.

Marsh said...

Nice. Criticism should be welcomed. It's through feedback from your readers that you can grow better as a blogger.

Saying your vetting process can be improved upon is a fair criticism.

Pushing back against a false narrative should also be welcomed. Either you will win the argument or will learn from losing an argument.

Calling me a hack gets you nothing.

Marsh said...

***A Flack

Marsh said...

Trump's statement regarding abortion, March 30, 2016:

If congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under the state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in the womb.

My position has not changed - like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life w/ exceptions.

Ares Olympus said...

I'm perfectly willing to consider Stephanie Cegielski's personal journey may be sincere. It makes sense to me that someone got interested in Trump, got hired to work on a PAC for him, and got disillusioned in some mysterious sequence of events vaguely similar to what she describes, and finally she said so publicly.

But her lie (or the article's lie if she's not the final editor there) is mischaracterizing her connection to his campaign rather than a PAC which isn't even supposed to coordinate with the campaign at all. And considering that she may have never met Trump, her "insider knowledge" is suspect, even if she believes it.

So given that lie we can question her story and consider it equally likely that she could have feigned support and defection, to try to "lure" Trump's lost sheep to Cruz or whatever.

Anyway, as Marsh shows, defections only works if some of Trump's sheep want to be lured, and perhaps a few percent, hearing a contrary voice along with their own rising doubts, will jump Trump's ship, which most of America would much appreciate.

And given his favorable approval rating peaked in October at 44% and is sitting now at a recent high of 36%, there's plenty of evidence of his lack of viability.

Whatever else is true, Trump's a great protest vote, and even better when you can be sure he'll lose.

Marsh said...

He's not going to lose.

Here's another Ann Coulter piece she just wrote. And she explains how he's going to win.

Ares Olympus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ares Olympus said...

Marsh, to quote John Lennon, you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

Ann says something silly "Trump could lose any one of those states and make up for it by winning Minnesota and Wisconsin — where Romney actually lost the white vote."

My state of Minnesota hasn't voted Republican since 1972 when Nixon won 49 states.,_1972

Also in February Trump got 3rd place in Minnesota's caucus primary, 21% of the vote, and all the republicans combined had less votes than Democratic winner Sanders.

But Ann can make her strange dreams that winning for the sake of winning is always better than losing.

For ever NEW voter that Trump brings out, I imagine 3 NEW voters will show up and vote against him. Hillary could win on a "Vote for the Bitch" slogan if she had to.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know how it is possible, but even Ann Coulter is having some doubts about the Teflon Don. I await the commenters who dismiss her views"

Would this be the same Ann Coulter who said, " I've gone from supporting Trump to wildly supporting Trump."? That Ann Coulter?

I'm kinda slow. Maybe if you could explain to me once more that I'm an ignorant, stupid racist who fell for a clown, that perhaps I'd finally see the light and switch my support from Trump to somebody else.