Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Quick Check In

I am afraid I have fallen behind on my planned posts, but I do still intend to write those I promised in "Update". Until then, I would like to reproduce a comment I made on "The Right Scoop" in response to a discussion about the similarities between the Trump campaign and that of Obama in 2008 and 2012. Here is what I wrote:
They both had a campaign based upon what I called in 2008, "The Candidate as Inkblot". Obama made nebulous statements and his fans read into them whatever they wished, so he could be all things to all people, even have supporters who believed he held completely opposing views. His second trick, when he had to take a stand, was to take every stand -- say when he said he would and would not attempt military action in Iraq -- allowing followers to hear whichever one they liked, and either ignore the other, or dismiss it as "politicking".
Trump does less of the first than Obama, and more of the second, but the campaign is otherwise very similar. He is offering up a range of positions, and followers believe the one with which they agree is the "real" position, and the rest are just tactical statements.
Or else he uses supporters such as Carson and Christie and Newt to float trial balloons, so he can later denounce the position if it proves too uncomfortable. In this way he can even flirt with white nationalists, socialist Bernie supporters, the GOP establishment and others while still claiming to be a middle of the road conservative, and, at the same time, an outsider pragmatist.
Sadly, I worry this is going to be the trend of the future, and going forward we will see more and more of these candidates without platforms. In a way, we already did see it. Clinton's triangulation, and --to a lesser degree-- Bush's "compassionate conservatism" were attempts to take conflicting positions, to be bother liberal and conservative at the same time. But Obama perfected it, and Trump is doing the same with slightly different tactics.
I worry this is how politics will be for a number of years to come.
Obviously, not a lot new, as it is essentially what I said in "The Candidate as Inkblot" and later essays, including "A Brief Thought on Trump" and "Predictability and Pragmatism - Why I Oppose Trump", but I still think it bears repeating, as far too many have fallen for this tactic, and, as I wrote, I fear it will continue to be successful, and, as a result, will continue to be used for a long time to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment