Trump’s bizarre strat­egy and be­liefs

Lesotho Times - - International -

WASHINGTON — More than six weeks af­ter he be­came the pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can Party pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, Don­ald Trump is con­tin­u­ing to post­pone his gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign un­til the party’s con­ven­tion in July.

His Demo­cratic op­po­nent, Hil­lary Clin­ton, be­gan piv­ot­ing to­ward the gen­eral elec­tion even be­fore she of­fi­cially reached the num­ber of del­e­gates to win the nom­i­na­tion, and on Thurs­day last week be­gan air­ing ads in eight bat­tle­ground states.

Trump, who se­cured his party’s nom­i­na­tion a month be­fore Clin­ton did, has yet to air any gen­eral elec­tion ads. The de­lay is yet an­other sign of his un­ortho­dox and dis­or­ga­nized cam­paign.

Usu­ally, by June, pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates are well on their way to shoring up their cam­paign in­fra­struc­ture and fundrais­ing to meet the de­mands of the gen­eral elec­tion.

Trump claimed on Satur­day if he couldn’t raise enough funds, “I would just put up my own money,” like he did for his pri­mary cam­paign, but his fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sures in­di­cate that he does not have suf­fi­cient funds to run a gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign.

Trump has about $160 mil­lion in pre­tax in­come, The Wall Street Jour­nal es­ti­mates. In the 2012 gen­eral elec­tion, Barack Obama spent $721 mil­lion and Mitt Rom­ney spent $449 mil­lion.

Trump dis­missed these con­cerns by in­sist­ing that he has “raised a lot of money for the party” and crit­i­ciz­ing Clin­ton for tak­ing cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from Wall Street.

“She’s sell­ing her­self to Wall Street, and the Wall Street fat cats are putting up a lot of money for her,” he said. “I don’t want that kind of money. I don’t need that money.”

How­ever, Clin­ton’s cam­paign has far out­paced Trump’s in terms of or­ga­ni­za­tion. Ac­cord­ing to her lat­est cam­paign fi­nance re­ports, she has spent more than triple the amount of money that Trump has. In ad­di­tion, her cam­paign em­ploys about 10 times more staffers.

Trump has thrown out tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal tech­niques at ev­ery turn. Dur­ing the pri­maries, he faced crit­i­cism for run­ning an ama­teur cam­paign, even from peo­ple within the cam­paign it­self.

So far he hasn’t done much to as­suage those con­cerns, con­tin­u­ing to in­vest lit­tle in grass­roots cam­paign­ing and ques­tion­ing the im­por­tance of us­ing data an­a­lyt­ics — ar­eas where Democrats have had a sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage over Repub­li­cans in re­cent elec­tions.

His re­liance on free me­dia, in the form of wall-to-wall net­work tele­vi­sion cov­er­age of his rau­cous cam­paign ral­lies, may not work for a gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign. His mes­sage will have to be tar­geted to­ward spe­cific swing states and con­stituen­cies, which so far he has not done.

In­stead, in the month since he of­fi­cially won the nom­i­na­tion, he has made sev­eral cam­paign stops in tra­di­tion­ally Repub­li­can states and has dou­bled down on brash and di­vi­sive rhetoric, sink­ing his al­ready abysmal fa­vor­a­bil­ity rat­ings.

Be­hind the scenes, his cam­paign has shown lit­tle ev­i­dence of or­ga­ni­za­tion and strat­egy. Trump fired na­tional po­lit­i­cal di­rec­tor Rick Wi­ley af­ter only a few weeks on the job, even though Wi­ley was brought in specif­i­cally to co­or­di­nate with party of­fi­cials and help shift the cam­paign to­ward the gen­eral elec­tion.

Trump’s cam­paign struc­ture re­mains scant. De­spite be­ing a na­tional-level cam­paign, it lacks ba­sic el­e­ments such as a com­mu­ni­ca­tions team and a rapid re­sponse di­rec­tor. When an ad­viser told Trump to hire a rapid re­sponse di­rec­tor, the mogul re­port­edly said: “I am the rapid re­sponse per­son.”

When Trump launched racist at­tacks against a fed­eral judge, prompt­ing many Repub­li­cans — in­clud­ing some of his prom­i­nent sup­port­ers — to dis­tance them­selves, he and his staff com­pletely mis­com­mu­ni­cated their strat­egy.

Trump’s staff in­structed cam­paign sur­ro­gates to di­vert at­ten­tion from the story, while Trump wanted to es­ca­late the at­tacks and or­dered them to ig­nore his staff’s ad­vice.

And Trump’s lat­est con­tro­versy, the re­sponse to the Or­lando mass shoot­ing that con­grat­u­lated him­self and re­it­er­ated his pro­posal to bar Mus­lim im­mi­grants, is­caus­ing fur­ther hand-wring­ing and dis­unity among GOP lead­ers.

On Satur­day, Trump was un­fazed, ar­gu­ing that he doesn’t need the party to unite be­hind him in or­der to win.

“I think I can win ei­ther way,” he told NBC. “I do be­lieve we can win ei­ther way, but it would be nice if we stuck to­gether.”

Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial be­liefs Arab-amer­i­cans cheered the at­tacks on 9/11. Trump re­peat­edly claimed that on 11 Septem­ber, 2001, there were thou­sands of Arab-amer­i­cans cel­e­brat­ing in New Jersey af­ter two planes flew into the Twin Tow­ers. He says such pub­lic demon­stra­tions “tell you some­thing” about Mus­lims liv­ing in the US. How­ever, there are no me­dia re­ports to back up the claim.

There should be sur­veil­lance on US mosques. Trump be­lieves Mus­lims should be tracked by law en­force­ment as a coun­tert­er­ror­ism ini­tia­tive. He has walked back some com­ments about keep­ing a data­base on all Amer­i­can Mus­lims, but says he doesn’t care if watch­ing mosques is seen as “po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect”.

The US should use water­board­ing and other meth­ods of “strong in­ter­ro­ga­tion” in its fight against the Is­lamic State. The can­di­date said that these meth­ods are “peanuts” com­pared to the tac­tics used by the mil­i­tants, such as be­head­ings.

Trump would “bomb the hell” out of IS. He claims that no other can­di­date would be tougher on the Is­lamic State and he would weaken the mil­i­tants by­cut­ting off their ac­cess to oil.

He wants to build a “great, great wall” be­tween the US and Mex­ico. In some of his ear­li­est cam­paign com­ments, Trump sug­gested that Mex­i­cans com­ing to the US are largely crim­i­nals.

“They are bring­ing drugs, and bring­ing crime, and they’re rapists,” he said. A wall on the bor­der, he claims, will not only keep out un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants but Syr­ian mi­grants as well. He also be­lieves that Mex­ico should have to pay for the wall, which a BBC anal­y­sis es­ti­mates could cost be­tween $2.2bn and $13bn.

Mass de­por­ta­tion of the es­ti­mated 11 mil­lion il­le­gal im­mi­grants liv­ing in the US should go into ef­fect. De­spite crit­i­cism that this idea is both xeno­pho­bic and pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive — the BBC es­ti­mates $114bn — Trump says his de­por­ta­tion plan is as achiev­able as it will be hu­mane.

In ad­di­tion, his im­mi­gra­tion re­forms would end “birthright cit­i­zen­ship”, the pol­icy that grants the chil­dren of il­le­gal im­mi­grants cit­i­zen­ship so long as they are born on Amer­i­can soil. He does not sup­port cre­at­ing a new path to cit­i­zen­ship for un­doc­u­mented work­ers.

He and Vlad­mir Putin would “get along very well”. In an in­ter­view with CNN, Trump said that Putin and Obama dis­like one an­other too much to ne­go­ti­ate, but that “I would prob­a­bly get along with him very well. And I don’t think you’d be hav­ing the kind of prob­lems that you’re hav­ing right now”.

In or­der to end mass shoot­ings, the US should in­vest in men­tal health treat­ment. How­ever, Trump does not be­lieve that more gun con­trol is the an­swer.

In a po­si­tion paper on gun rights, Trump re­vealed he has a con­cealed carry per­mit and that when it comes to gun and mag­a­zine bans, “the gov­ern­ment has no busi­ness dic­tat­ing what types of firearms good, hon­est peo- ple are al­lowed to own”. He would also op­pose an ex­pan­sion of back­ground checks.

China should be taken to task on a num­ber of is­sues in or­der to make trade with the US more eq­ui­table. If elected he says he will make China stop un­der­valu­ing its cur­rency, and force it to step up its en­vi­ron­men­tal and labour stan­dards.

He is also crit­i­cal of the county’s lax at­ti­tude to­wards Amer­i­can in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and hack­ing.

The Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment is “trou­ble”. Trump mocks for­mer Demo­cratic can­di­dates like Martin O’mal­ley for apol­o­gis­ing to mem­bers of the protest move­ment against po­lice bru­tal­ity and casts him­self as a pro-law en­force­ment can­di­date.

“I think they’re look­ing for trou­ble,” he once said of the ac­tivist group. He also tweeted a con­tro­ver­sial graphic pur­port­ing to show that African Amer­i­cans kill whites and blacks at a far higher rates than whites or po­lice of­fi­cers.

How­ever, the graphic cites a fic­ti­tious “Crime Sta­tis­tics Bureau” for its num­bers, and has been widely de­bunked us­ing real FBI data.

Cli­mate change is just “weather”. While Trump be­lieves that main­tain­ing “clean air” and “clean wa­ter” is im­por­tant, he dis­missed cli­mate change science as a “hoax” and be­lieves en­vi­ron­men­tal re­stric­tions on busi­nesses makes them less com­pet­i­tive in the global mar­ket­place.

“I do not be­lieve that we should im­peril the com­pa­nies within our coun­try,” he told CNN on the is­sue. “It costs so much and no­body knows ex­actly if it’s go­ing to work.”

The world would be bet­ter off if Sad­dam Hus­sein and Muam­mar Gad­dhafi were still in power. Trump told CNN that he be­lieves the sit­u­a­tion in both Libya and Iraq is “far worse” than it ever was un­der the two de­ceased dic­ta­tors.

While he con­cedes Sad­dam was a “hor­ri­ble guy”, he says he did a bet­ter job com­bat­ing ter­ror­ists.

He would send back Syr­ian mi­grants seek­ing asy­lum in the US. He says that the Paris at­tacks prove that even a hand­ful of ter­ror­ists pos­ing as mi­grants could do cat­a­strophic dam­age, and so he will op­pose re­set­tling any Syr­i­ans in the US, and de­port those who have al­ready been placed here.

Mus­lims should not be ad­mit­ted to the US. In a press re­lease pub­lished in the wake of the ter­ror­ist at­tacks in San Bernardino, Cal­i­for­nia, Trump wrote that he is “call­ing for a to­tal and com­plete shut­down of Mus­lims en­ter­ing the United States un­til our coun­try’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives can fig­ure out what is go­ing on”.

He is a “really nice guy”. In Trump’s most re­cent book, Crip­pled Amer­ica, he writes that “I’m a really nice guy, be­lieve me, I pride my­self on be­ing a nice guy but I’m also pas­sion­ate and de­ter­mined to make our coun­try great again”.

The news site Gawker points out that he calls him­self a “nice guy” through­out the book, and Trump re­peated that self-as­sess­ment in his open­ing mono­logue on Satur­day Night Live and in an in­ter­view with the Washington Post.

Doc­tors should be pun­ished for ad­min­is­ter­ing abor­tions - or should they? In an in­ter­view with MSNBC, Mr Trump said that if abor­tion were to be­come il­le­gal, women should be pun­ished for ob­tain­ing them.

He then re­tracted, say­ing the doc­tor would be re­spon­si­ble and he or she should be pun­ished in­stead. — huff­in­g­ton­post.com/bbc

Repub­li­can party pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump.

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