Friday, October 28, 2016

Bloomberg Reports On Trump Campaign's Plan For Hostile Takeover Of Republican Party

This Bloomberg article describes, without saying it in so many words, Trump's plans for a hostile takeover of the Republican Party with the enthusiastic cooperation of its most unruly shareholders - the Tea Party, the white supremacists, the armed militia folks -  and it apparently doesn't need FEC approval.

This is not the typical short term perspective we get daily.  No he-said-she-said. No invectives.  Rather it looks at Trump's long-term strategy and one of the key players making it work - their main IT guy Brad Parscale.  It's got some facts about who's doing what behind the scenes.  Nothing the Trump camp doesn't want you knowing, but things we usually don't get.

Here's the gist of the article:
  • The Trump team knows the odds of winning are low, but with unexpected primary wins and Brexit as inspiration, they're working an unorthodox strategy.  They're pinning their hopes on a  mix of Trump appeal, belief that  many Trump voters won't tell the truth to pollsters, and a stealth Facebook campaign to suppress the Clinton vote among young liberals, young women, and blacks.
  • Winning the election would be nice, but it seems the focus is on post-election.
  • They're building the Trump-owned data base they'll have after the election with which he can lead his power base in different possible directions, possibly business related, but probably  a takeover of the Republican Party and maybe a second run in 2020.
  • The star of this article is Brad Parscale who is running Trump's data center out of San Antonio.
  • Two other key players in the article are Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, depicted here as Parscale's insider protector, and Steve Bannon, who's come over from Breitbart.  

The real meat of the article doesn't start until paragraph 8.

Here are some quotes I thought significant. 

1. The election and why the focus is on the post election.
 “It’s built a model, the “Battleground Optimizer Path to Victory,” to weight and rank the states that the data team believes are most critical to amassing the 270 electoral votes Trump needs to win the White House. On Oct. 18 they rank as follows: Florida (“If we don’t win, we’re cooked,” says an official), Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia.”
The Trump bluster about winning is there, but their surveys show the same things that other surveys are showing.  (A side note:  since these key states are all on Eastern Time, we should know the results pretty early.  Unless it's really close and early and mail in ballots are held to be counted later.)

2.  It's all about building a data base of Trump supporters with Facebook accounts, credit card numbers,  and email addresses.  

Paragraph 19 seems to offer the crux of the piece:
“Although his operation lags previous campaigns in many areas (its ground game, television ad buys, money raised from large donors), it’s excelled at one thing: building an audience. Powered by Project Alamo and data supplied by the RNC and Cambridge Analytica, his team is spending $70 million a month, much of it to cultivate a universe of millions of fervent Trump supporters, many of them reached through Facebook. By Election Day, the campaign expects to have captured 12 million to 14 million e-mail addresses and contact information (including credit card numbers) for 2.5 million small-dollar donors, who together will have ponied up almost $275 million. “I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine,” says Bannon. ‘Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.’”
3.  Who is Brad Parscale, where'd he come from, and what is he doing for Trump?

From paragraphys 22-26:
"Parscale, 40, is an up-from-nothing striver who won a place in the Trump firmament by dint of his willingness to serve the family’s needs—and then, when those needs turned to presidential campaigning, wound up inhabiting a position of remarkable authority. He oversees the campaign’s media budget and supervises a large staff of employees and contractors, a greater number than report for duty each day at Trump Tower headquarters. “My loyalty is to the family,” he says. “Donald Trump says ‘Jump’; I say, ‘How high?’ Then I give him my opinion of where I should jump to, and he says, ‘Go do it.’ ”
He sounds like perfect Trump material.
"Parscale was born in a small town outside Topeka, Kan., a self-described “rural jock” whose size—6-foot-8, 240 pounds—won him a basketball scholarship to the University of Texas at San Antonio. When injuries derailed his playing career, his interest turned to business. “The day I graduated, I skipped the ceremony to go straight to California for the dot-com boom,” he says. It was 1999. He became a sales manager for a video streaming company, taught himself programming, and eventually bought some of the company’s intellectual property, in digital video and 3D animation, and struck out on his own. But after the dot-com crash, his company failed, he got divorced, and by 2002 he was back in San Antonio, broke and unemployed."

4.  After the election plans

From paragraph 21:
"Whatever Trump decides, this group will influence Republican politics going forward. These voters, whom Cambridge Analytica has categorized as “disenfranchised new Republicans,” are younger, more populist and rural—and also angry, active, and fiercely loyal to Trump. Capturing their loyalty was the campaign’s goal all along. It’s why, even if Trump loses, his team thinks it’s smarter than political professionals. “We knew how valuable this would be from the outset,” says Parscale. “We own the future of the Republican Party.”
That's reiterated in the final paragraph:
"If the election results cause the party to fracture, Trump will be better positioned than the RNC to reach this mass of voters because he’ll own the list himself—and Priebus, after all he’s endured, will become just the latest to invest with Trump and wind up poorer for the experience."
[Emphasis added in all the quotes above.]

My Take:  The Bully Is Investing Long Term In Disrupting American Democracy

They haven't characterized it that way, but that seems to be Trump's way of doing business.  Attack, Counterattack, and Never Apologize.  This is not about people working together to build, but about destroying others for personal gain.

The plan is a hostile takeover of the Republican Party with the enthusiastic cooperation of its most hostile shareholders - the Tea Party, the white supremacists, the armed militia folks -  and it apparently doesn't need FEC approval.

Will It Succeed?

These guys seem to have a better understanding of Trump voters than they do of Clinton voters.   They're riding on the success of winning the Republican nomination and using what they claim is a new way of thinking about and using the data.  Trump learned early on with his birther campaign, that you could just make up shit and lots of people would believe it.    They certainly have put the Republican Party in a bind and they may well be able to take over what is left of it.  Will that make two right wing parties?  A small group of rational and polite Republicans and a larger group of less educated and more angry Republicans?

And Democrats probably should NOT get too happy about all this.  I suspect Trump won't stop tweeting about 'Crooked Hillary' any time soon, it's the red meat he feeds his followers.  Constant attacks with birther like lies mean nothing gets done and everyone loses confidence in anything except themselves.  This is Lord of the Flies as a political philosophy.

One  hope I see, is for the reasonable Republicans to join the Democrats (who on most issues today are more conservative than Republican Nixon was anyway) and form a party too strong for Trump's minions.  But you know that isn't going to happen.

Sorry, I didn't mean to get so negative. I didn't know this was where I was going to end.

But knowledge is power.


We can all hope these guys are in over their heads and their initial successes will fall flat.  We can drop out of politics and focus on enjoying life while we can.  We can also recognize that there are a lot of very angry white folks and they aren't all old and ready to solve the problem by dying off, and thus we need a positive response.

These are not mutually exclusive options.  Even if the Trumpers fall flat, there will still be a lot of angry folks. We need to stop treating them the way whites have treated people of color and women.  We need to stop acting like they're dumb and stop marginalizing them.  Everyone wants to be loved.  That seems to be Trump's driving force.  He needs people telling him how good he is.   He needs it so bad he tells us how good he is.  And his followers need love and respect too.

Let's give them love rather than condescension and animosity.  That's a Christian thing to do, right?  It's also a Jewish thing and a Buddhist thing.  And for those who aren't religious, it's a Beattle's thing.  

We all know Trump supporters.  Most Americans have relatives who support Trump.  Don't argue with them.  It won't work.  Instead, treat them with loving, patient interest.  This has to be sincere, not patronizing in any way.  You have to see them as human beings with pain.  Ask them with curiosity, and without malice or condescension,  why they think Trumpism will relieve their pain.  Here are some possible gambits.
  • "How do you know that?"
  • "Can you explain to me how that is going to work?"
  • "Can you show me the numbers, I can't seem to make that add up?"
  • "How is that better than __________?"
  • "How will this improve your life?"  "Mine?" 
  • "Why do you think you and I went off on such different paths?"
  • "Look, I'm not saying you're wrong, but it just doesn't add up for me and you're a Trump supporter so I thought you could explain it."
  • "I understand you're angry, but not why, or how Trump will make your life better. I'm just asking you to explain it."
  • "Why do you think that program will succeed when others haven't?"
  • "Is there a way that you can think of that would help us agree on what is true and what isn't? For example, how do you verify the facts?"
You get the picture.  Don't give them your facts.  Make them produce their own.  Make them spell out the details of the policies.  Don't challenge their emotions, in fact, be sympathetic.  Just ask them to explain their logic and to give support for the facts.  Remember that they are human beings who are hurting, just like you and me.

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