Tag Archives: Election campaign

THE ISSUES: What’s at Stake

BOOK REVIEW

The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity, Authors: Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.
The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House, Authors: Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.

By Nancy Gibbs – Issues in a presidential-election year are often like the fat books that we’re glad to own but don’t plan to read.

And most voters say that policy matters more than personality when they cast their ballots.

But watch what we do, not what we say. The least substantive campaign in modern history has drawn the most massive audience.

Trump’s success during the pri­mary season exposed just how profoundly Republican leaders misunderstood the mood of rank-and-file voters.

As a politician, he is incorrect in every way, with his tax returns secret, his Twitter stream radioactive, his treatment of facts appalling.

But when have we ever seen a race like this one, with one candidate so deeply devoted to policy detail and the other so allergic to it?

Whoever wins in November will eventually have to govern. The issues this country faces, from decrepit bridges and failing schools to cyber­threats and spiraling debt, will require muscular action, not magical thinking. more> https://goo.gl/HF7CyY

Puzzled by the Popular Support for Trump? Evolutionary Behavioral Economics Has an Answer

BOOK REVIEW

The Fairness Instinct: The Robin Hood Mentality and Our Biological Nature, Author: Lixing Sun.
Thinking, Fast and Slow, Author: Daniel Kahneman.

By Lixing Sun – For the current presidential election, there is one big difference between the two candidates. A political veteran for over three decades, Clinton embodies predictability and continuation for many of the current policies.

A political novice, Trump, on the contrary, is seen as the opposite of the status quo. So for voters who are dissatisfied by the current political, economic, and social situations, a Clinton presidency stands for a sure loss and a Trump presidency represents a gamble—a chance to win, if things go as Trump blueprints.

Hence, Trump, even being more disliked, can gain a better part of the support from these voters for no other reason than our evolved penchant to gamble when facing a sure loss.

Unfortunately, the answer is most likely no. The reason lies in that in today’s complex world, we are often unable to gauge the scale of risk with our Stone-age instincts and intuitions. more> https://goo.gl/VE1xR0

How the Republican elite tried to fix the presidency and instead got Donald Trump

By Gwynn Guilford – The GOP’s purpose in 2012 was simple enough: To make sure outsiders wouldn’t threaten the appearance of party unity during the nomination process.

Among other things, the rules revisions helped the frontrunner seize the nomination early, and blocked paths for adversaries to challenge the presumptive nominee at the national convention. The primaries schedule that resulted boosted candidates with fame, funding, and easy media access.

Being blindsided by a billionaire reality TV star with a knack for hijacking the media is the most obvious unintended consequence of the GOP’s strategy.

Traditionally, grassroots movements were an important mechanism for bringing the GOP leadership into contact with the most active and passionate of the party’s supporters. By infusing the party with new people and letting the ideas they bring bubble up through the system, these bottoms-up efforts have long kept the party vital.

Trump’s rise also points to potential long-term trouble for the party. more> http://goo.gl/QkZCsa

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One American Political Party Works

By Francis Wilkinson – In a few weeks, at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, he will symbolically hand over leadership of the party, as well.

This transition is structured, anticipated, consistent, orderly and boring. Which is one way of saying that the Democratic Party is a coherent, well-functioning political institution that bears little resemblance to the cascading disasters that define the Republican Party and yielded Donald Trump as its likely presidential nominee.

The Democrats just concluded a presidential primary that Obama called “hard fought.” That’s a nice pat on Senator Bernie Sanders’s back, and it may have seemed that way, but it’s not really true.

Clinton’s attacks on Sanders were relatively soft, as his were in turn. Sanders criticized Clinton’s ethics, but never so aggressively to inflict lasting damage.

The party’s emerging leader moved to incorporate views, and quell dissatisfaction, from a sizable minority of the party, including many newcomers, without a sharp change in direction that would risk the party’s chances in November. more> http://goo.gl/Bl5kAE

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TO: The Remaining Presidential Contenders

BOOK REVIEW

Escaping Jurassic Government, Author: Donald F. Kettl.

By Donald F. Kettl – In just a few months, one of you will be elected president of the United States.

However, if you’re not very careful—now—in planning how you’ll manage the government, you’ll set the stage for a replay of this campaign in 2020—only next time it will be even worse.

You will be the Washington that candidates in 2020 will run against, only next time trust in government (you, that is) will be even lower and voters will be even angrier (at you). And you’ll have only yourself to blame.

We’ve become so preoccupied with policy puzzles—what we should do—that we pay little attention to policy results—how we can get things done.

Too many promises go unmet, too many programs get trapped in failure, too many harsh words get spent in blaming opponents for failing citizens.

The result? Trust in government is at an historic low, as Americans sense the profound mismatch between promises and results. more> http://goo.gl/xDJ68t

A neat trick that makes political ads more effective

By Meredith McGehee – Why do supporters go to the trouble of creating innocuous-sounding groups that fund all the ads? Because it works.

Viewers are more likely to be persuaded by political TV ads, several recent studies reveal, when the groups behind them are undisclosed. The studies help explain why ads by secret independent groups have become the vehicle of choice in the 2016 presidential election.

Recognizing that it makes a big difference when a viewer or listener knows the actual sponsor behind an ad can help build a strong case for why the Federal Communications Commission needs to enforce on-air sponsorship requirements.

Even in the age of social media, television continues to stand out as “the most influential medium when it comes to voting behavior among all age groups and political affiliations,” according to a new study. So U.S. voters need to know who is behind the political ads broadcast on television. more> http://goo.gl/4L2t1O

Why Trump Is Winning. Here’s What Cognitive Science Says.

BOOK REVIEW

The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, Author: George Lakoff.
Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success, Author: Mike D’Antonio.
The America We Deserve, Author: Donald Trump.
The Art of the Deal, Authors: Donald Trump and Tony Schwartz.

By George Lakoff – The basic idea is that authority is justified by morality (the strict father version), and that, in a well-ordered world, there should be (and traditionally has been) a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate.

The hierarchy is: God above Man, Man above Nature, The Disciplined (Strong) above the Undisciplined (Weak), The Rich above the Poor, Employers above Employees, Adults above Children, Western culture above other cultures, Our Country above other countries. The hierarchy extends to: Men above women, Whites above Nonwhites, Christians above nonChristians, Straights above Gays.

Family-based moral worldviews run deep. Since people want to see themselves as doing right not wrong, moral worldviews tend to be part of self-definition — who you most deeply are. more> http://goo.gl/p7L14h

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Why Marco Rubio’s Campaign Failed

By Steve Denning – The reasons for Rubio’s failure have important lessons, both for Republicans who are desperate to stop Trump from winning the nomination and for Democrats who will face Trump if he wins the nomination.

The first and obvious game-plan was to ignore Trump. This was Rubio’s approach for most of the campaign, buying into the mythology that Trump would self-destruct and simply go away.

This didn’t work, in part because Trump, like Shakespeare’s Falstaff [2, 3], is entertaining. Trump is fun: no one wants him to go away. What is the next outrageous thing that will tumble out of his untethered mouth? We want to know.

This was Shakespeare’s secret: even as we deplore Falstaff, we are secretly loving his show. And so the summer fling with Trump has blossomed into a durable insurgency and now a wholesale takeover of the Republican party.

In the meantime, Trump systematically destroyed serious candidates, in the process doing lasting damage to the brand of the Republican party, particularly among minority groups, without whose support Republicans can’t win. more> http://goo.gl/P4tn63

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Don’t Cry for Me, United States: What Trumpism Means for Democracy


By Andrew Bacevich – For further evidence of Trump’s genius, consider the skill with which he plays the media, especially celebrity journalists who themselves specialize in smirking cynicism.

Rather than pretending to take them seriously, he unmasks their preening narcissism, which mirrors his own. He refuses to acknowledge their self-assigned role as gatekeepers empowered to police the boundaries of permissible discourse. As the embodiment of “breaking news,” he continues to stretch those boundaries beyond recognition.

The ratio between promises made and promises fulfilled by every president in recent memory – Obama included – should have demolished such theories long ago.

But no such luck. Fantasies of a great president saving the day still persist, something that Trump, Cruz, and Rubio have all made the centerpiece of their campaigns.

Elect me, each asserts. I alone can save the Republic. more> http://goo.gl/tRcW6K

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How Hillary Can Win

By Steve Denning – Why is Hillary Clinton in the fight of her life for the Democratic nomination against a 74-year-old senator who calls himself a democratic socialist and who has no realistic plan to achieve his goals?

In a phrase, Hillary is perceived as “a candidate without a cause.”

Hillary points to her competence, her connections, her experience, her gender, and her hard work on specific issues.

No candidate has ever been more qualified to be president. Yet to what effect?

Connections are not a cause. Experience is not a cause. Gender is not a cause.

“I’ve earned it” is not a cause. Working hard is not a cause. The more Hillary points to her past, the more voters worry about the future.

She needs a cause that explains what she stands for and why she should be elected, a cause that will be effective in both the primary campaign and the general election.

Without it, her candidacy risks being defined by others and distracted by squabbles on a multitude of individual issues, such as her emails or whether Henry Kissinger is her friend. more> http://goo.gl/mR2ko5

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