Political Strategy

Divided GOP Unites By Attacking Hillary Clinton

“Republicans say doubling down on investigating Hillary Clinton is a smart strategy in the coming months as the cloud from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation looms over the White House,” The Hill reports.

“Even though Clinton does not hold public office anymore, they say she remains the one person who can rally the Republican base and unify a splintered party constantly bickering with itself. And the Republicans making this pitch aren’t just the Breitbart News crowd.”

Said GOP strategist Susan Del Percio: “It may not be the best policy strategy, it certainly is a good political strategy. When it comes to the president, he must always have an enemy to punch at. It’s actually a pretty safe strategy.”

How Social Media Quickly Generated Mass Protests

New York Times: “In a matter of hours on Saturday, thousands rushed to the nation’s airports, beckoned by tweets. The flash protests in response to Mr. Trump’s immigration ban, which continued to grow in many cities on Sunday, were as organized as they were instantaneous. Dispatched online, the protesters knew where to go, and they knew what to do once they arrived: to command the story by making a scene.”

“Mr. Trump feeds off media attention. Throughout the campaign, the bigger a spectacle he created, the larger he loomed in the public consciousness. What has been remarkable during the last two weekends is how thoroughly Mr. Trump’s own media personage was blotted out by scenes of protesters.”

Trump Shows How to Smother a Scandal

Brendan Nyhan: “The bar for scandal in the Trump administration keeps being raised. Every week brings potentially damaging developments that in other contexts could have generated weekslong controversies. With so many competing stories, however, they are frequently ignored or forgotten.”

“As a result, even negative coverage can sometimes benefit President-elect Donald J. Trump by displacing potentially more damaging stories from the news agenda.”

“Scandals need time and space to develop. When the news cycle is congested, potential scandals are deprived of attention, causing the media to move on to other stories and the political opposition to anticipate that any criticisms will probably have little effect.”

How Trump Rewrote the Scandal Playbook

Ronald Klain: “As someone who served as an adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign, I fundamentally disagree with everything that Trump stood for on the trail. But it would be foolish to ignore how often his tactics were effective. The president-elect refused to release his tax returns; he’s been accused of sexually harassing numerous women; and he’s likely to take office on January 20 without having divested his business interests. How did he get away with it?”

“Trump saw a change in the political landscape that many other failed to see; and everyone from political strategists to corporate communicators to those in the media would do well to pay attention. If they want to survive controversies in the future, they’ll want to study these five core postulates of Trump’s new crisis management playbook.”

How Democrats Help Trump

George Lakoff: “Without knowing it, many Democrats, progressives and members of the news media help Donald Trump every day. The way they help him is simple: they spread his message.”

“Think about it: every time Trump issues a mean tweet or utters a shocking statement, millions of people begin to obsess over his words. Reporters make it the top headline. Cable TV panels talk about it for hours. Horrified Democrats and progressives share the stories online, making sure to repeat the nastiest statements in order to refute them. While this response is understandable, it works in favor of Trump.”

“When you repeat Trump, you help Trump. You do this by spreading his message wide and far.”

How Trump’s War on the Media Hurts Democracy

First Read: “Think about it: Every time Trump claims, without substantiation, that millions voted illegally, and every time the news media call him out for it, that only delegitimizes the media among Trump’s supporters. And then when the same media write and cover Trump’s conflicts of interests (or policy proposals or anything else), those same supporters won’t believe a word of it. Will the media be alone in this challenge? Or will members of BOTH parties decide that what’s happening to two key institutions — the press and the vote — is worth fighting for?”

Why Trump Should Be a Fundraising Success

Patrick Ruffini: “I don’t like Trump, but speaking objectively and from experience, Trump’s low-rent demagoguery is tailor-made for fundraising success on the Internet. Trump appeals viscerally to a grassroots concerned about immigration, security, and the loss of American identity. He’s been able to fill stadiums for rallies (provided they are close enough to the election). He’s generated massive revenues for media companies and built an unprecedented social media following for a Republican candidate. He’s been able to do things at a grassroots level that no other Republican candidate before has done, and had he tried earlier, this would have translated to tens of millions in online contributions in the primary and hundreds of millions in the general.”

“About the only place Trump’s political success so far isn’t reflected is in own campaign bank account — which has burned through all but $1.3 million in cash with five months to go.”

The Candidate Having the Most Fun Usually Wins

GOP strategist Alex Castellanos writes for CNN about a campaign he once ran for Ricardo Martinelli, Panama’s version of Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and a man similar in temperament to Donald Trump.

“As a lark, I put a question I had never asked before on a survey and we tracked it: ‘Which campaign is having the most fun?’ It was ours… Doubts about his lack of governing experience were overcome by his buoyant strength and self-assurance. We won.”

“Which returns us to a reflection that should scare all of us in Washington’s GOP establishment, as noted in an interview conducted by Chuck Todd of Meet the Press. Donald Trump is having a lot of fun, isn’t he? More than anyone else.”

Democrats Embark on Long Term Plan to Retake House

Washington Post: “After three straight elections left them in the House minority, Democrats are building a sweeping database to cull past and present polling, voter files, media advertising history and population trends for every competitive House district in the country. Democrats will then convert the data into one comprehensive archive housed in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s headquarters on Capitol Hill.”

“The ultimate goal is to capture as many House seats as possible and also to gain control of state legislatures to assure Democrats have a stronger hand in the decennial redistricting before the 2022 midterms.”

Do Campaign Kickoffs Matter?

Politico: “Today, the mere act of announcing a candidacy amounts to a minor art form, with elaborate care and attention lavished on every facet of a declaration that, let’s face it, is almost already old news.”

“The realities of social media mean that candidates themselves, every bit as much as traditional news organizations, can control the manner and means of spreading their message — while gathering thousands of email addresses and other contact information from potential supporters and raising money online in the process. And the decisions they make about how and where to launch their campaigns can be a message in itself.”