Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Cultural Divide: Will Donald Trump's "Hard 8" Bet Payoff?

The day after Labor Day has traditionally been the start of the post-Convention Presidential Campaign.

Yesterday was three weeks before the day after Labor Day 2016. The Donald is getting ready to start his campaign.

Yesterday, Donald Trump bet his money on the cultural divide, a complex "Hard 8" bet, which he sees as his route to winning on the craps table that is 21st Century American politics.

Democrats and liberals need to understand that, while it is risky for Casino owner Trump, he understands that the payoff is big. Trump feels lucky about it.

After all he's already thrown the dice getting numbers that would have been the losers if he had made the bet earlier or if the numbers were to show up between now and the election. The folks around his table have groaned a bit the past few weeks. After that few weeks of rolling the dice, now he knows how to blow on them for better luck.

More about Trump's bet yesterday after addressing another subject. First let's see if you are at all in touch with the side of the cultural divide, the "Hard 8" side, represented by Trump's bet.

If you haven't been hearing this song you are probably on one side of the American cultural divide:

If you have never heard this song written by Brad Paisley, Chris Dubois, and Kelley Lovelace, clearly you choose to live in a bubble that culturally isolates you.1

It isn't that you shouldn't choose what bubble you live in. It's just that chances are you were probably as shocked by the success of this year's Presidential Election Republican nominee, as surprised as the well-educated liberal and conservative media pundits.

In other words they and you are out of touch with the reality facing the 40% of Americans who would like to vote for Trump. It's a very foolish position for you to be in because you probably have made decisions that made their lives worse.

Now don't misinterpret this song used here as something it is not. In February after a Republican debate Brad Paisley commented...

...which, not surprisingly, got him into hot water with a huge (using a Donald Trump word) number of his fans.

If you go to the YouTube page for the video above, among the comments was this one...

...which would be a typical response from a typical Paisley fan.

If you think Paisley's fans are rednecks, think again.  The commenter is this Paisley fan who was one of five Knox County students to sit on stage with Obama at Pellissippi State Community College in January 2015 in Knoxville, Tennessee. In this report about the speech given months before anyone, including Bernie Sanders, announced they were running for President in 2015, we should have learned from the intellectual press:
When Obama said he proposes bringing the cost of community college "to zero," the room erupted in a standing ovation. Obama pointed to Gov. Bill Haslam's Tennessee Promise and announced he plans to call his proposal "America's College Promise."
In fact, you would have to wonder how many tech-savvy Bernie supporters let Bernie get away with presenting his free tuition proposal without mentioning Obama's proposal, but you need not have wondered because most Bernie supporters were political inactivists who would have never seen this YouTube video nor heard the proposal repeated in Obama's 2015 State-of-the-Union Address:

The proposal was introduced in both houses of Congress as S.B. 1716: America’s College Promise Act of 2015 and H.R.2962: America's College Promise Act of 2015 where they languish in committees.2 It is, of course, part of Hillary Clinton's Education Policy Vision. But so long as the Bernie supporters remain political inactivists when it comes to Congressional elections, it will continue to languish in committees.

Then again, this policy proposal would not have inspired the Feel the Bern folks because it is an economic proposal aimed at the very people who will be the voters responsible if Trump beats Clinton as explained here in the post The innane bigotry of the educated is the reason why Trump's “I love the poorly educated!” is a winner as well as discussed in detail in the post series here Dissidents in American Politics. It is a proposal to get the high-school-only's and the high-school-dropouts to go to community college, not to make it cheaper to go the University of California.

There is one thing worse than being out of touch with the 40%. It is being a Bernie supporter who thought that free tuition was a Bernie idea. You aren't just in the lefty bubble but also in a bubble of bigoted ignorance inside the lefty bubble - the "double bubble". You don't want to know about what Democratic Establishment Politicians are trying to do because you want to believe everything wrong in your life is someone else's fault. And you won't help them get that free tuition for community college students.

Which brings us back to Trump's bet. As he announced in a story in The Wall Street Journal:
Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, an outspoken Trump supporter and a former Goldman Sachs banker, will assume the new position of campaign chief executive. At the same time, Mr. Trump also is promoting Kellyanne Conway, a veteran GOP pollster and strategist, to become campaign manager. Ms. Conway has been a campaign adviser for several weeks.

“I want to win,” Mr. Trump said in an interview Tuesday night in which he disclosed his hires. “That’s why I’m bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win.”

The appointment of Mr. Bannon is likely to stir its own controversy. Breitbart News, which he runs, is a freewheeling populist news site that has served as a kind of platform for Trump supporters. He has, among other things, helped produce a movie about the personal wealth of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Trump has known Mr. Bannon, a former Naval officer, for years. Mr. Bannon will take a leave of absence from Breitbart.
If you don't follow or at least occasionally look at Breitbart News, you can read the erudite New York Times pieces What Is Breitbart News? and Meet Stephen Bannon, the Trump Campaign’s New Chief Executive to get a thorough overview. But the Washington Post story also offers an extensive analysis with these key paragraphs:
Trump’s stunning decision effectively ended the months-long push by campaign chairman Paul Manafort to moderate Trump’s presentation and pitch for the general election. And it sent a signal, perhaps more clearly than ever, that the real-estate magnate intends to finish this race on his own terms, with friends who share his instincts at his side.

While Trump respects Manafort, the aides said, he has grown to feel “boxed in” and "controlled" by people who barely know him. Moving forward, he plans to focus intensely on rousing his voters at rallies and through media appearances.

Trump's turn away from Manafort is in part a reversion to how he ran his campaign in the primaries with then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski's mantra was "let Trump be Trump" and Trump wants to get back to that type of campaign culture, the aides said.

In Bannon especially, Trump is turning to an alter ego — a colorful, edgy figure on the right who has worked at Goldman Sachs and made several films, including a documentary about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

Bannon, in phone calls and meetings, has been urging Trump for months to not mount a fall campaign that makes Republican donors and officials comfortable, the aides said. Instead, Bannon has been telling Trump to run more fully as an outsider and an unabashed nationalist.

Trump has listened intently to Bannon and agreed with him, believing that voters will ultimately want a presidential candidate who represents disruption more than a candidate with polished appeal, the aides said.
Perhaps the most cogent analysis comes from Deadline Hollywood which understands that 21st Century winners are defined by audience size and fan commitment (which applies to Apple devices as well as movie stars), not by critical discussion and wonky analysis:
Donald Trump, playing to what he knows best – media – has brought in scorched-earth-er Steve Bannon to shake up his campaign, as polls show the candidate sliding in key states, and news headlines showed him losing control of his narrative.

Word that the Breitbart CEO, known for his take-no-prisoners style, had joined Camp Trump comes hours after reports ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes was giving Trump debate a advice/resource/consultation/whatever. Bannon has been with Breitbart since the launch of the web site that has been a virtual Trump campaign newsletter with posts about Hillary Clinton’s health, Clinton’s emails, fond looks back at Bill Clinton’s canoodling over the years, etc.

Today’s news guarantees, if nothing else, that the upcoming debates between Trump and Clinton are going to be the very definition of Must See TV. Sorry, NFL.
If you don't understand that final "Sorry, NFL." comment you need to get out of the double bubble.3

Finally, the Washington Post story noted:
“Buckle up,” wrote a Trump strategist in a text message Wednesday to The Washington Post.

Several people close to Trump said Bannon and Conway have decided to target five states and want to devote the campaign’s time and resources to those contests: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It is in those states where they believe Trump’s appeal to working-class and economically frustrated voters has the best chance to resonate, the people said.
Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. From the Brad Paisley song:
We work in the factories and the fields
Assembly lines, the coal mines
And the steel mills

We might fix your water pump or your AC
Bring your apple pie and fill your glass of tea
We'll take that FedEx package to your door 
I live in Democratic California and I know that my vote is not going to change the outcome in this election. Also the song's descriptions do not apply to me and therefore even if I lived in one of those states I wouldn't be a Trump campaign target, though I do listen to country music sometimes.

Trump placed his bet on a table surrounded by folks that live in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania who fit the description. It's a risky bet, but Nate Silver's historically successful 538 Election Forecast system (which right now says Clinton has a 70%+ chance of winning but did have her in the 50%+ numbers a month ago) tells us that absent some major event hurting Clinton it is the only bet for Trump:

Except Trump now decided it is safe to do it with an ex-Goldman Sachs banker/online media mogul which should be a source of skepticism for Trump's base. Maybe I am out of touch.

1I have taken the liberty of reorganizing the lyrics of the song to make a point:

We work in the factories and the fields
Assembly lines, the coal mines
And the steel mills

We might fix your water pump or your AC
Bring your apple pie and fill your glass of tea
We'll take that FedEx package to your door

We crank up our music Friday nights
On two thousand country stations
And we drink ice-cold beer on Friday nights

That's what we do but there's more to us than that
If you wanna know who we are
It's on the logos of our caps

We're all across the map, down city streets and old dirt roads
We're the fabric of this nation
And we're a nation all our own

We're Mountaineers, we're Volunteers
We're the Tide that rolls, we're Seminoles
We're a herd of Longhorn steer
We drive Ford and Chevrolet
Cheer 24 and 88
We're Wildcats, we're Wolverines
We're Tigers, Buckeyes, Bruins
Bulldogs, Hogs and Hurricanes
We pray before we race
Cheer 14 and 48

But underneath that apron or that uniform
Yeah, we're one big country nation, that's right
2 S.B. 1716: America’s College Promise Act of 2015 - U.S. Senators Primary Sponsor Ms. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and co-sponsors Mr. Booker, Mr. Brown (D-OH), Ms. Hirono (D-HI), Mr. Murphy (D-CT), Mr. Leahy  (D-VT), Mr. Durbin (D-IL), Mr. Heinrich  (D-NM), Mr. Cardin (D-MD), Ms. Stabenow  (D-MI), Mr. Markey (D-MA), and Mr. Whitehouse (D-RI). Not a sponsor Mr. Sanders (I-VT)
H.R.2962: America's College Promise Act of 2015 -  Representatives Primary Sponsor Mr. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA) and co-sponsors Mr. Hinojosa, Mr. Clyburn, Mr. Butterfield, Ms. Judy Chu of California, Ms. Linda T. Sánchez of California, Ms. Adams, Mr. Moulton, Mr. Takano, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Richmond, Ms. Brown of Florida, Mr. Danny K. Davis of Illinois, Mr. Blumenauer, Ms. Bonamici, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. Brendan F. Boyle of Pennsylvania, Mrs. Capps, Mr. Cicilline, Ms. Clark of Massachusetts, Mr. Conyers, Mr. DeSaulnier, Ms. Edwards, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. Fattah, Ms. Fudge, Mr. Al Green of Texas, Mr. Gene Green of Texas, Mr. Gutiérrez, Ms. Hahn, Mr. Honda, Mr. Jeffries, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Kilmer, Mr. Kind, Mr. Larson of Connecticut, Ms. Lee, Mr. Levin, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Mr. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, Mr. McDermott, Mr. McGovern, Ms. Moore, Mrs. Napolitano, Mr. Norcross, Ms. Norton, Ms. Plaskett, Mr. Pocan, Mr. Rangel, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Mr. Rush, Mr. Sablan, Ms. Loretta Sanchez of California, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Serrano, Mr. Swalwell of California, Mr. Takai, Mrs. Torres, Mr. Van Hollen, Ms. Wilson of Florida, Mr. Yarmuth, Mr. Beyer, Mr. Pascrell, Mr. Delaney, and Mr. Keating.

3Trump's objection to the debate schedule was because two of the three debates are scheduled on the same nights as NFL games. Because Trump is in another bubble of ignorance he misrepresented how the debates were scheduled. They are scheduled well in advance of an election by a commission not at all well-balanced between the ordinary football fans versus The Establishment (the Academic Oligarchy and the Shareholder Capitalists) that includes the following members:
Howard G. Buffett, Chairman and CEO, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation
John C. Danforth, Former U.S. Senator
Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., President, Purdue University
Charles Gibson, Former Anchor, ABC World News with Charles Gibson
John Griffen, Managing Director, Allen & Company LLC, see also Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference
Jane Harman, Director, President and CEO, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Antonia Hernandez, President and CEO, California Community Foundation
Reverend John I. Jenkins, President, University of Notre Dame
Jim Lehrer, Former Executive Editor and Anchor of the NewsHour on PBS
Newton N. Minow, Senior Counsel, Sidley Austin LLP
Richard D. Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners LLC
Dorothy S. Ridings, Former President, the League of Women Voters and former President and CEO, Council on Foundations
Olympia Snowe, Former U.S. Senator
Shirley M. Tilghman, Former President, Princeton University

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