Tag Archive: Sun Tzu


With all due respect to the memory of LBJ and his colorful comment about FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover, American politics has been turned on its head.

Way back in the 20th Century, the conventional wisdom was to take the time to provide quality TLC to your electoral base, reach out to independents, and be extremely anal about your political enemies.

The rationale: Your friends can change, but your enemies will always be there for you.

Some contend the ageless adage: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” … is attributable to Chinese militarist Sun Tzu or maybe Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli or even Al Pacino in Godfather II.

We may never know for sure.

The Economist’s Lexington this week examined the prospects of the “Never Trump” movement within the Republican Party to possibly mount a primary challenge against Donald Trump when the 2020 presidential cycle immediately commences after the November midterms.

Considering that Trump’s approval rating is 90 percent among Republicans (i.e., two Supreme Court picks, tax reform, regulatory relief, strong economy, no wars), the chances of beating him right now in the GOP primary appear to be slim and none with Slim being out-of-town.

Ready for more GOP primary punishment, Ohio Governor John Kasich? Been there, done that?

Almost DailyBrett also is mindful of the time period between now and 2020 is a political lifetime.

What Do Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama All Have in Common?

Even though the philosophical gap among these former presidents is wide, they all enjoyed not having primary opposition when they successfully ran for their respective second terms in 1996, 2004 and 2012 respectively. They also focused their GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts on enticing millions of their close friends to vote on election day.

The aforementioned Lyndon Johnson (1968, Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy) along with Jimmy Carter (1980, Ted Kennedy) and George H.W. Bush (Pat Buchanan) all faced credible primary opponents. They all failed re-election, big time.

Trump’s enemies are not going anywhere. They will intensify their rhetoric, ferocity and protests (if that is even possible) between now and November 2020.

The question remains: What will Trump’s friends do in two-years-time?

Donald Trump – whether you adore him or detest him (there is literally no middle ground) – he knows how to play the “us” vs. “them” game better than ever before.

The editorials and op-eds in the New York Times and the Washington Post and the commentary from the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC are consumed by people who didn’t vote for Trump before, and will never vote for him in two years or ever.

As former coach Dennis Green once said: “They are who we thought they were.”

Barring the political fantasy of the 12th Amendment (e.g. Electoral College) being overturned, Trump needs to focus on keeping the red states, red or … keeping his friends, his friends.

One of the ways, he is doing exactly that is by fulfilling promises (e.g., steel and aluminum tariffs for Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania).

Another is the almost by the minute denigration emanating from the political class, questioning the cerebral capabilities of those in the fly-over states that provided Trump with his Electoral College majority.

When all is said (there will be a ton of pontificating and bloviating between now and the next 27 months), the number that still matters is 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

Trump delivered a relatively comfortable 2016 winning margin of 36 electoral votes above the 270 threshold. And if he holds his 30 states. Game, set and match.

The eventual Democratic nominee must peel away at least two red states. A good place to start would be Florida and its 29 electoral votes.

For Trump, it’s in his best political interest to keep close his friends in Florida.

Maybe even invite them over for some fun in the sun at Mar-a-Lago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfHJDLoGInM

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/389068855293185830/?lp=true

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2018/08/11/never-trump-republicans-could-have-their-revenge

http://www.startribune.com/he-was-who-we-thought-he-was-the-best-dennis-green-quotes/387948942/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/07/19/electoral-college-blues/

 

 

 

“Act of Love”

“Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.” – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on illegal immigrants

“Hispanics are Republicans they just don’t know it” – Ronald Reagan 

“Keep your friends close but your enemies closer,” – Chinese General Sun Tzu, author of “The Art of War.”

illlegal

The time-tested notion of running to the poles in party primaries and then shifting to the center in the general election has been widely attributed to Richard Nixon.

And for the most part, this strategy has been de rigueur in American politics for decades. The truly committed – hard left or hard right — are the most likely to passionately participate in retail party caucuses, straw polls and town-hall style meetings during primary seasons. They can make or break a candidacy. These passionate partisans are naturally feared for their high propensity.

And when one survives the primary/caucus gauntlet and becomes the standard-bearer of one of America’s two major political parties, then the task is to pacify the hard-line base and win over the independents.

That strategy worked for decades, but will it continue to be as effective as the Democratic Party moves further to the left and the Republican Party moves further to the right?

The answer very well could be “no.”

The reason lies with the segmentation of American society. Almost DailyBrett wrote about how political pros are becoming adept at using digital technology in building coalitions of sympathetic voters, isolating those who are opposed, and employing GOTV (Get Out the Vote) methods to drive coalition members to the polls.

axelrod

David Alexrod and the Obama team were particularly adept with strategies to push America’s growing Hispanic population into the president’s column. Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote; Mitt Romney, just 27 percent. Game, set and match to Obama.

The result was all-together different just eight years earlier as President George W. Bush received 41 percent of the Hispanic vote in defeating his challenger, John Kerry. George W. Bush was the governor of Texas for two terms before being elected president and speaks Spanish. Likewise, Jeb Bush was the governor of Florida for two terms, speaks Spanish, and has been married for 40 years to his Mexico-born wife, Columba.

Plan on seeing, Columba, on the campaign trail and repeated references to four-decades of marital bliss and of course, La Familia.

jebcolumba1

Some are contending as evidenced by recent headlines that Jeb is being placed on the “defensive” by his “Act of Love” comments about illegal immigrants. He has drawn measured (for now) responses from rivals, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and commentator Bill O’Reilly. Maybe his carefully chosen comments should be seen in a different light, as a way to highlight his credentials to the pivotal Hispanic voting block that demonstrated by recent evidence is not signed-sealed-and-delivered to the Democratic Party.

Jeb Bush is a bright guy. He knew his “Act of Love” remarks would not play well with the “wingers” in the Republican Party. Heck, he may even lose the Iowa Caucuses as a result of this particular remark…and others that are bound to follow. The loss, if it comes to pass, maybe will be his gain. He cannot win the presidency without at least 40 percent of the Hispanic electorate supporting his candidacy as they did for his brother’s re-election. The Hispanic vote is in play.

Jeb Bush also knows the last three nominees of the Republican Party were not the darlings of the hard right, his brother, John McCain and Mitt Romney. One can win the GOP nomination and the open-seat election in 2016 by demonstrating “electability,” and that requires a sincere commitment to compassion, not exclusion.

There will be some, who will grit their teeth and accuse Jeb of promoting, “amnesty.” These are Jeb’s enemies and he never really had a chance of winning their support in any event. What would be worse is to be seen as appeasing or pandering to the party’s insensitive wing?

Jeb’s deliberate use of the phrase, “Act of Love” in many ways conjures images of Reagan’s sunny, optimistic “Morning in America” theme.

morninginamerica

The mantra is that America is an exceptional nation, one that draws immigrants, one that fosters entrepreneurs and innovation, and if you have a dream and are willing to work hard to make the seemingly impossible, possible, then anything and everything conceivably is achievable.

The notion of the “Act of Love” puts the undocumented alien into a different light instead of a wanted felon; one who is looking to America for a better life for she, he and La Familia.

The first signs of this strategy was how Jeb characterized his decision-making process to run or not run – regardless of the stated objections of his madre: “The decision will be based on, can I do it joyfully, because I think we need to have candidates lift our spirits.”

Jeb is wagering that America needs a dose of optimism, a smile instead of a frown, good-spirited rhetoric instead of mean-spirited name calling. Politics will remain a “contact sport” as referenced by Mary Matalin. The Bush brothers know this. The Clintons know this as well.

Let the contest ensue with the Hispanic vote clearly in play.

 

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/jeb-bush-defends-act-of-love-immigration-105612.html

http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2014/04/marco-rubio-responds-to-jeb-bushs-act-of-love-comment.html

http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2014/04/bill-oreilly-jeb-bush-is-using-my-line-on-immigration.html

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/04/11/rand_paul_bush_immigration_remarks_well-intentioned_122257.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/jeb-bush-remarks-expose-gops-immigration-problem-23278238

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/09/politics/latino-vote-key-election/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26119-2004Dec25.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/segmented-society/

http://www.city-data.com/forum/illegal-immigration/1124060-president-reagan-hispanics-republicans-they-just.html#ixzz2ycXLwocm

 

 

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