January 1, 2016


It's not chaos. It's Trump's campaign strategy. (Paul Schwartzman and Jenna Johnson, December 9, 2015, Washington Post)

[W]hile it may seem like a lurching, chaotic campaign, Trump is, for the most part, a disciplined and methodical candidate, according to a Washington Post review of the businessman's speeches, interviews and thousands of tweets and retweets over the past six months.

Trump delivers scores of promises, diatribes and insults at breakneck speed. He attacks a regular cast of villains including undocumented immigrants, Muslims, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, his GOP rivals and the media. He keeps the narrative arc of each controversy alive with an endless stream of statements, an unwillingness to back down even when he has misstated the facts -- and a string of attacks against those who criticize him.

All the while, his supporters see a truth-talking problem solver unlike the traditional politicians who have let them down. Spending remarkably little, he dominates yet another news cycle, and his Republican rivals languish in his shadow. [...]

The Post's analysis found several qualities to Trump's approach. First is a pattern of experimentation that suggests that he is testing his insults and attacks as he goes along. Like a team of corporate marketers, Trump understands the value of message-testing -- but he appears to do it spontaneously, behind the lectern and on live television.

After 74-year-old Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, underwent outpatient surgery for a hernia, Trump tried joking about it. At a rally in Georgia on Nov. 30, Trump said the condition was caused by "carrying around too much tax problems." The response from the audience was tepid.

Trump tried again at a rally two nights later in Virginia: "He was carrying around the tax code he wants to make larger." It still didn't get many laughs -- and Trump stopped trying.

Another quality to Trump's words is the kernel of truth that often exists in even his most inflammatory statements. He told supporters that Obama would allow 200,000 or 250,000 Syrian refugees into the country, describing the level as "insane." In fact, the administration has agreed to admit only 10,000. Trump has refused to backtrack, once explaining that his larger number comes from a "pretty good source."

These patterns of speaking, along with his charm and sometimes lavish praise for people he likes, resonate with many conservative voters who are looking for someone to trust over the mainstream media. They see Trump as genuine and honest, one of the few politicians who don't lie to them, even if his comments are not fully true.

With each new uproar, the analysis also showed, a largely predictable cycle unfolds. It begins with Trump's bombast. Next comes condemnation and predictions that his candidacy is doomed, followed by his tendency to keep going without backing down. The pattern has repeated with many of his major controversies.

Trump often provokes a fresh, whiplash-inducing controversy that eclipses the current one, triggering a new round of free media coverage that cements his place at the forefront of the news cycle.

...is that while ostensibly anti-media he's completely dependent on it.

Posted by at January 1, 2016 11:10 AM