Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Trump University's Course in Politics 101

According to the news media, Donald Trump has settled the suit against Trump University for an apparent $25 million.

Meanwhile Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have opened the Trump Open University for Political Education. Because they just broke all the rules and won the presidential election.

Jared Kushner? Who he? I know. He's Ivanka's husband and he has his own real-estate empire. And he is the guy that ran the Trump campaign.

Go ahead, read the Forbes piece on Kushner. Then come back and we'll discuss the whole thing.

Meanwhile I was reading this piece by Rich Galen, a GOP campaign operative from way back.
We could walk into just about any Congressional District in the nation and put together a credible campaign. We could set up a fund-raising operation, press, volunteers, scheduling. We could find someone to handle the polling and the printing. We could find a candidate who, at a minimum, would not embarrass themselves and we could flip a switch and voila! A campaign would spring forth fully formed and ready to … lose.
In other words, they had all the data, all the polling, all the technical details. Just like Hillary Clinton and her campaign. But there was one thing they did not have. No, it wasn't heart. You are confusing politics with The Wizard of Oz. The problem was that the campaigns did not have soul.
We couldn't build in passion. We had not found a way to, as we say now, energize our voters. We couldn't help them see that we believed they were the most important cog in our beautiful machine. 
Now just this very morning I was at the checkout at my local market and the checker, who was going to be working on Thanksgiving, descanted about the dignity of labor, going to to work, paying your taxes, and making the country work. Then a scuzzy-looking white guy behind me in line chimed in about being a Deplorable.

Hello soul. Hello passion. These white guys were acting pretty perky in the aftermath of the Trump ascendancy.

So that is what Donald Trump, the political neophyte, has managed to do. He has managed, for the first time since Ronald Reagan, to add soul to a GOP presidential campaign, which the Bushes, and McCain and Romney had failed to do. He added passion. He built what he acknowledged in the final weeks of the campaign was a "movement." With the indispensable help of Jared Kushner.

The whole apparatus of campaign technology and campaign consultants is all about trying to win elections without passion, trying to jump start the voters on a cold day in February. But if you can sell them on the idea that you care about people like them, yes, even the deplorables, then it doesn't matter how cold it is outside. If you have passion you could have lightning in a bottle.

Of course, let's be fair. Lightning in a bottle is what Barack Obama had in 2008. I don't know how much was him and how much was First-Black-President. It doesn't matter; he got people to believe in him; he filled a stadium at the end of his nomination convention in the Night of the Grecian Formula Columns, and African Americans were crying in emotional release on the day after his election, because they never thought they would live to see the day when an African American could be President of the United States.

And now it appears that the genius of the Trump campaign was his son-in-law Jared Kushner. You've read the Forbes piece by now. Wouldn't you like a son-in-law like that? Or a husband? Or a son? Or a business associate? What an amazing young man.

It's interesting to me that Kushner manages to enunciate the Peter Thiel line about "Tell me something that's true, that almost nobody agrees with you on." Says Kushner:
What would that say about me if I changed my view based on what other people think, as opposed to the facts that I actually know for myself?
Nobody knows what kind of a president Donald Trump will be. But we know one thing, that a few months ago we were reading stories about the white working class dying of despair, and now they are in the checkout line proudly calling themselves Deplorables.

I'd say that on balance that was a good thing. How about you?

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