my diary of ‘saving Hillary’ thoughts
Dear everyone who says “Oh it doesn’t matter who I vote for… it does matter. It absolutely does matter.
I don’t care if you hate Hillary. I don’t care if you think Hillary killed your cat and stole your yogurt. I don’t care. You have to vote for her. You HAVE to vote for her.
Do not give in to fear and hatred. Do not allow xenophobia and bigotry to run this nation. Do not. Do not. Do not.
“Endure, my heart; you’ve endured a worse thing even than this.”
Homer <The Odyssey>
We are done.
These are thoughts I shared with the Clinton campaign throughout the primaries and the general election. I was not going to share these thoughts for awhile but I reread things in my draft folder before I post … and … well … every time I read this I shifted from frustration to anger. Her loss is more a reflection of campaign & communication malpractice than anything else. And that angers me. It angers me that a good incredibly qualified competent person who in many ways offered a voice to the everyday schmucks in every county in every state was diminished throughout her campaign by some fairly obviously missed communication opportunities. And, no, I am not being critical through analysis of what is done because I have the opportunity to be critical by reviewing my diary of shared thoughts that I provided the campaign in real time.
I get frustrated & angry because they had people being paid gobs of money to figure this out and I gave them this for free.
I began sharing the thoughts once I had resolved in my head that Hillary was not only the most competent candidate but most likely the best candidate contextually – in this time and place.
To be clear on several things.
I thought she was a great candidate stylewise to compete against Trump. In fact … baggage and all … she was almost the perfect calm unruffled foil to the bombastic restless hurricane she would compete against. I will say here, unequivocally, I could have beaten Trump with Hillary. I felt sure of that as I gave some advice and now, post election and seeing what happened, I am 100% sure I could have beaten Trump with Hillary as the candidate.
I didn’t think Hillary really needed to be ‘saved’ … she knows her shit and when on her game articulated the truth of what a president needs to, and should, offer a citizenry. However, I felt like there were some fundamental communications issues/opportunities the campaign seemed to be either missing or overlooking … if not completely performing campaign malpractice. By the way. I think she got better and better with direct communications to women by incorporating a fact, that women simply wanted the same thing as all Americans, and implying she represented all women who have faced the unique issues women face … and … she did so by not alienating white collar men because it represents the same desires that all men have.
“I guess the bottom line is he thinks belittling women makes him a bigger man. And I don’t think there’s a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like,” Clinton told rally-goers last Monday in swing-state Florida, putting a hand to her heart. “He doesn’t see us as full human beings with our own dreams, our own purposes, our own capabilities.
And he has shown that clearly throughout this campaign. Well, he is very wrong. He is wrong about both the women and the men of this country. He has shown us who he is. Let us on Tuesday show him who we are.”
I do believe this was one of the most incredible missed opportunities of this campaign management. She was not about women, per se, but about all us everyday schmucks who have sat in some office listening to some old white guy who knows more than we do lecturing us … and we still forge ahead and figure out how to do the right thing. Men & women … working class and white collar face this day in and day out. I could have strangled the campaign for missing this.
I did miss a fundamental aspect of the shift in campaigns from primary to general which inevitably changed the overall dynamics of what her challenge was <and her campaign never seemed to take note of the shift either>.
In the general election her opponent <Trump> had the expressed objective to depress enthusiasm and involvement through negativity … and avoiding policy & real solutions … which meant her challenge was to create involvement and enthusiasm therefore — in marketing terms — she was not to gain market share but actually build a market.
That fundamental shift created a dynamic in which there was a quagmire of negativity of which she was never able to completely extricate herself from to create a ‘new market’ for which something positive could be offered to the public.
Therefore, in an election in which involvement seemed incredibly discouraging, thereby making the number he needed lower, he encouraged enough traditional voters to stay home <both republican and democrat> and figured out how to get a relatively small group of dormant voters <but just enough to do the necessary damage> to come out. He did the job he set out to do and the Clinton campaign did nothing to counter it.
Lastly, that dormant voter turnout. I do believe I made one suggestion, maybe my 30th I think, where I suggested making an overt attempt to reach out to the ‘left behind working white America’ would be a good idea. Alas. They never took that idea and ran with it.
Here is where I truly wish I had gotten through to the Clinton campaign <although my last suggestion is where I believe they are guilty of communication malpractice>. In my 26th suggestion I said this:
I think Trump is an asshat but he is a master of dictating the narrative and framing what is important to people. He is even more of a master of stating nonexistent problems and offering solutions and standing off to the side watching while everyone pontificates about the stupidity of his problems while the people stare at his solutions.
No one in the Clinton campaign, or media for that matter, recognized this and called him out on it. Why is this important? It permitted him to almost always dictate the narrative of the day/week/campaign. As Trump would tweet … Sad.
I have written about why I didn’t think Bernie was the right candidate in this time and place. And I still believe this.
And I saw very clearly very early on that Trump was not the right candidate in this time and place <or any time & place I may add>. And I still believe this. Just search “Trump is an asshat” on my site and read as much as you want.
I admit that I didn’t see John Kasich’s true value as a candidate until it was too late … but I did offer my help to that campaign once I did.
Over the past months I have shared thoughts on transformation, revolution & incrementalism and how words matter when you are speaking to people’s hearts and not just their minds. Read it and weep <if you were a nevertrump or a Hillary supporter>. I am not a politician therefore most of what I shared ignored political ‘wisdom’ and focused on what I know about communicating to people, honestly communicating and reaching into the more subconscious reasons of why we wacky people think the things we do and do the things we do.
Some I was right on and some I was wrong on.
- 1.You will be tempted to pragmatically take apart the costs of Bernie’s free initiatives. Don’t.
It will show you do not understand the Sander’s us versus them narrative. In his narrative everything is affordable because “them” have more than enough to pay for what “us” need & deserve. Therefore, everything is affordable if you storm the “them” castle walls and plunder their riches. Whatever narrative you have must begin from whatever riches you will plunder from them. That will open the Sander’s followers listening boxes <their minds> so you can tell them whatever policy gobbledygook politicians like to say.
- 2. Storming the castle walls <and the ‘political movement>.
While I absolutely love Bernie’s invigoration of young people to participate in a revolution <which is actually just a social movement> Bernie is selling a false hope at the core of his us versus them narrative. He is suggesting that if enough people pick up stones & sticks they can overwhelm the castle which is manned by people in Kevlar, with machine guns & artillery. If you accept the analogy, Hillary should be he one who takes away the guns, Kevlar & artillery so the people <“us”> have a chance of reaching our ambitions, desires & dreams without needlessly getting our asses blown apart.
- 3. Bernie taps into rage which isn’t a solution nor a benefit.
For gods sake … someone please pick up a copy of Clotaire Rappaille’s book “The Culture Code” and read the sections about America. Today’s society isn’t about rage or anger against the institution <or the nebulous establishment crap> it is rage against our stagnancy – it is the uncomfortable feeling we all have with regard to what we believe is inherently America … doing. Bernie is offering a revolution which is enabling people to “do.” the difficulty is that it is simply doing for doing sake. Hillary should be the one who offers solutions so people can actually ‘do’ what they want to do. Work. Have hope. Have meaningful jobs. Have America doing well globally. Have the government show some sense of ‘doing something <for gods sake instead of milling around arguing over what to do>.
Trump promises winning <which is certainly a perverse version of doing> … you guys gussy up doing however you want but you win if people, young/middle aged/old, recognize that you offer a doing nation domestically & globally.
- 4. Demote Bernie symbolically.
Do NOT attack Bernie. He is truly a character … with character. Every time you attack him you attack what people perceive as what they desire in character. Therefore you should seek to demote him. He isn’t running for president of a country … he is running for a president of a movement. And, god bless the man and his heart & soul, we need more people like Bernie standing up and shouting at the top of his lungs leading movements like this. So go ahead and slot him there. You want to be the president and leader of a nation <of which viable movements like Bernie’s have a place> and he is a valuable leader of a movement.
I am sure someone smarter than I can figure out how to cleverly start placing this notion in your speeches & words <because you cannot simply state it declaratively> but slowly start demoting Bernie and yet elevating him in the eyes of his followers in a different role.
- 5. Blunting a force of nature <or puncturing the Sander’s balloon with some pin pricks>
Movements are forces of nature. And the strongest forces of nature are driven by a quirky charismatic character <this one just happens to be of unequivocal character>. It takes too much energy to blunt a force of nature nor is it actually productive. You have two avenues available:
— Nudge it on to a different course:
Force into a focused slot <i.e., the strength of his idea revolves around Wall Street so focus it on anti-Wall Street movement which makes his presidential play look too small for a president but still a valuable message>. In addition, while it creates some problems for Hillary to allow and encourage some focus it also permits her to create a very focused defense <or explanations> to bridge any issues it creates. I don’t really care where you nudge Bernie … you political people can figure that out … but veer him off the breadth of being a president. This not only blunts the overall energy but from a campaign perspective in terms of creating an issue for Hillary … if I create the problem/issue I can manage the problem/issue. It is always easier to manage something I create.
— Seek to weaken its source:
As I said earlier … this is a movement not a presidential race. Someone smarter than I can figure out a way of encouraging his followers to speak out on important issues but point out that it doesn’t equate to running a country. Note – to be clear … don’t weaken Bernie … weaken the idea as a full country portfolio idea.
- 6. Blunting Part 2: steal his revolution
Give revolution to Obama.
“we have already had a revolution … the Obama revolution. In fact … we are still in the midst of it. we do not need a new one we need to keep the one going we have. America is transforming and change agents are needed to keep us on course and to gain momentum. We need sources of energy and engines to forge us forward and not a new revolution to divert us off our forward progress.”
You get the point. You guys have wordsmiths who can take this idea and make it poetic & prose. The point is to make Obama the revolutionary. Because then why would I need another revolution or revolutionary? <you don’t>
In addition. You benefit by subtly reminding people that revolutions are hard, they take time and not everyone embraces a revolution <there are some other benefits you could reap going against republicans too>.
- 7. Stop talking about what cannot be done and start talking about what can be done.
Doing. That is what America stands for. Every time you suggest we cannot do <even if it is truly impossible> it chafes. Our hackles rise up and we will visibly recoil. I am not suggesting lying or pandering <in fact avoid both at all costs because your trust/believability numbers are so low you need to err on the side of unequivocal harsh truths> but focus on doing things. What we CAN do. What we WILL do. What we are CAPABLE of doing.
- 8. Stop talking about your resume.
Your resume is your past. For gods sake … everyone knows you have done a shitload of things <maybe not the specifics but every time you go back you sound old and “thank you for doing that then and now it is time for you to step aside and let someone else lead the way.” <this is a lesson every 50something who has had to go back into the work force and interview has learned the hard way>.
Define your future resume.
Define the future and you are the one who make the future look that way.
Be a leader. Act like a leader. And show us the resume of the future America. Don’t be someone who thinks incrementally <but you can still DO incrementally and show how people can incrementally do the things they need to do to have your resume be THEIR resume>. Be the new generation of revolutionaries <surround yourself with other revolutionaries> taking the torch from Obama <I am sure there are some nice America founder analogies you could dig up>.
You are a leader of Change today, change tomorrow and a changed future.
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own”
- 9. Stop talking about labels.
Frankly, I don’t give a shit if someone is labeled a progressive, moderate, democrat, republican or village idiot. Labels are most often defined by past actions. I want someone defined by future actions and ideas. Let your ideas be your label. Let others decide what label they want to put on you. you cannot control a label nor can you define your own label <that is actually brand theory> … you can only control what you say, what you do and what you mean.
- 10. The speaker fees.
Get away from the money and focus on the speeches and what I assume is Hillary’s vision.
“I have a vision for America, how America conducts itself and its role globally. Not everyone agrees with my vision for a better America. That said … I will go anywhere, talk with anyone at any time and any place to share that vision. If I can make one more person see my vision and decide to join me in the better vision for America it is worth every minute talking to even my worst enemies or even those who disagree the most. i will go to Goldman Sachs, I will stand in the middle of Wall Street if I have to, I will go to union halls, community centers, pro life meetings, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, and parent/teacher meetings … not to tell people what they should think but to encourage people TO think ”
<not articulated well but you get the point>
- 11. Kissinger & young people & mistakes
I will never suggest pandering to young people however it would be a mistake to ignore ‘self attitudinal’ trends. Please, please, someone visit weheartit or Instagram and search “self esteem.”
After being bludgeoned by boomers and a system demanding nothing less than perfection the younger generation is thankfully recognizing, and celebrating, the fact that mistakes are a measure of ‘doing’ and attempting and steps forward not backwards. I have Kissinger’s book on my on shelf not because I like his actions but because of what I can learn from his thinking and his mistakes. A presidential candidate has to walk a very very fine line on past mistakes and solid future judgement but young people like older people who encourage doing and learning from mistakes rather than getting mired in the impossibility of perfection <and the negative esteem aspects that come from the labeled ‘failure to meet perfection>. Hillary may be the perfect candidate but she is not perfect nor has a perfect record. Young people embrace mistakes and learning from mistakes as a badge of rebelling against an older generation who is failing because they demand perfection above all else.
“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”
Rita Mae Brown
- 12. Single issue versus boxing Bernie in
You guys are killing me. It’s like you are either <a> seeking a simplistic knock out blow – when you should seek ‘the long game’ or <b> so focused on what you want to say you aren’t thinking about what people will hear. I would imagine it is B. Please, please, stop thinking about what you want to say and think about what people will hear. You hear Bernie sounding like a broken record but his ‘one issue’ is actually a large problem <rigged system> which, if resolved, addresses a variety of issues in people’s minds <fairness over a spectrum of problems people see in society>. People who like him, and listen to him, think he is a big thinker not a single issue thinker.
What you should do: Box him in on ‘leader of a fairness movement.’ Squeeze him with your vision <whatever that is … “empowering people to do”?> and own complexity <which is what I believe you are trying to do – “the world is a complex place and demands complex solutions>.
By the way. He treats “fairness” as some simplistic thought … which is brilliant on his part <because everyone defines what is fair in their own head> and, yet, is dangerous on his part because it opens him up to someone who can point out fairness has levels and straight economic equality is contrary to who & what America is.
- 13. The communist Manifesto & Bernie
I do not know if you are paying attention but many of the things Bernie is saying sound an awful lot like the better parts of the Communist Manifesto <a well written document>. I will be honest. I don’t know what to do with this. Hillary can’t come out quoting the Manifesto and paralleling Bernie’s words. Maybe some surrogate points it out? All I know is that anything he says gets tied in any way to Communism he is sunk.
The other difficulty is that the social aspects of the Communist Manifesto really do sound good <free education for everyone, making sure everyone has enough food, crap like that>.
To be clear. Bernie is not a communist nor should he be even implied as such. My only point is that there are certainly some things he says which can be found in that fabulously written 52 page Manifesto.
- 14. Why incrementalism chafes
You guys are facing what every significant business is facing today. A 50something management pragmatically approaching all change incrementally. And a younger employee base who is tearing their hair out because they see real opportunities to make selective sweeping change. I bet you guys are sitting around snarking about the young being idealistic and not experienced and unrealistic. You are not thinking this through. You need to grasp that the younger generations who support Sanders DO NOT REGARD THE IDEAS AS THE END GOAL but rather he is suggesting significant progress. He combines it within his ‘us versus them’ narrative by suggesting the people are agents of change and ‘them’ <whoever them are> are anything but agents of change.
If you think Bernie’s ideas are too big you should be speaking with younger people and start up technology incubators because they have even bigger ideas. The younger generation, god bless them all, are not only already used to rapid progress because of technology and have already witnessed meaningful progress they are hungry to see it everywhere and have an all-encompassing insatiable energy and desire for more and more. You guys need to focus on progress not incrementalism. You need to be selectively pragmatic and selectively significant progress. Recognize that the young generation sees little limits to change except older people and older structures. But also recognize that they are realistic in that not everything can be done all at once. If you figure out how to balance that you will win. Quit talking about the ideas. By the way. Older people like big sweeping change too. It scares the shit out of them but inevitably the pragmatic side of them recognizes that different isn’t always bad.
- 15. Why selling yourself is bad
When I heard Hillary say she was not good at “selling herself” I got a shiver down my spine. It sounds defensive and it suggests the wrong attitude with regard to communicating her validity as president. She is certainly interviewing for a job but not selling herself. If she is “selling” anything it is the future she sees and the ideas that will get us there. If she ‘sells’ those things she never has to sell herself … because she is simply the enabler. I will admit. I hate using ‘sell’ in business and avoid it as a strategy or ‘communication objective.’ To me it immediately sets off my used car salesman antennae. Having been in hundreds of new business presentations I know we invest next to 0% of time selling ourselves. Our credibility, honesty, transparency & likeability are garnered as a response from the vision & ideas & future we suggest we can enable … and can be ‘had’ by the audience we present to. If I were to sell anything it would be hope for something better and being better. We want someone to sell us a better version of ourselves participating in an economy & society that permits us to be better & do better. Any version of selling below that comes across as defensive or pandering.
Lastly, when WITHIN a presentation as soon as I see someone shift into ‘selling myself’ I mentally hear the word “quicksand.”
- 16. Avoiding Quicksand
Selling myself pivoting reminds me of that incomparable <and totally underrated> movie The Replacements where there is a scene when Keanu Reeves talks about “quicksand.” Things are going well. And then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And you are doing things as well as you can and you fight hard but you just can’t stop sliding down. In fact the harder you try to fight it … the worse it seems to get. And it is a truly helpless feeling. That’s quicksand in life and presentations. You need to stop fighting the quicksand. Shift and get above it. It feels like the campaign is getting reactive and it needs to shift to another gear and be proactive. It feels like “we need to protect ‘x’ minority group.’ We need to appeal to young people. We need to protect women voting block. These are all tactical defensive moves. Alternatively Bernie almost looks confused when someone suggests he doesn’t appeal to some specific group … because I almost think he doesn’t even think that way. He simply feels like his message appeals to everyone so trying to focus on one specific group seems counterintuitive.
Quicksand is dangerous and sneaky. And, I admit, my gut turned a little when I saw Hillary say “I am not good at selling myself’ because in my head I heard “they are in quicksand.” The only advice I have is the same any athlete would tell you “trying doesn’t get you out of quicksand … relaxing and doing what you naturally know to do gets you out.”
- 17. If you must revisit the past ……….
You guys are killing me with what appears to be your natural instinct to pivot to the past. Ok. If you must do it <this kills me to offer you a path to discuss the past> I recommend someone pull out Peter Drucker’s 1989 book “New Realities.” Read the section on Salvation by Society. He does a nice job of describing why we are in the inequality quagmire we are in now by walking everyone thru the transformation from Salvation by Society to Economic Salvation. Politics is partially to blame. I am not suggesting someone needs to do a discourse on Drucker’s thoughts but someone smarter than I would certainly be able to repurpose some of the thoughts to show a path forward by identifying a tipping point in the past. Plus.it permits Hillary to suggest that government assumes partial responsibility for the situation we are in <without having to nail a Bush or her husband>. You also get the added bonus in that Drucker is a well-respected business person by all business people – including republicans.
- 18. Pivot up.
This is one last attempt to convince you to focus on your future resume and not your past resume <and your competitors past>. Past behavior analysis is fraught with peril. No one’s past behavior is without some missteps and regrets. And, I would tend to believe you know, your worst moment is not indicative of who you are as a person. Anyway. I would have to meet someone who knows Hillary but her natural instinct seems to want to pivot to the past and pivot to diminish <the idea shared with her or the claim against her>. When I advise someone like that I always say “pivot up and not down”. Pivot to enhance and not diminish. Pivot to the positive and not the negative. Pivot to the future not the past. Pivot AWAY from defending and pivot to optimism and being better. Pivot to solutions and not problems. Bernie consistently pivots to problems <rigged system> and his solutions are never American but ‘other countries we should emulate.’ Sure. There are some things I could embrace in that yet it provides opportunities to pivot to American solutions to meet American attitudes & behavior. Don’t diminish his ideas but enhance the discussion above what he offers. Shit. You could even pivot up against Republicans <”I don’t doubt they want the best for America we just disagree on how to tap into america’s greatness”>. Invariably while there are certainly multiple dimensions to any pivot discussion I err on the side of simplistic when I advise people. Pivot up. Pivot to the highest ground you can.
- 19. Pragmatism +
I continue to point out my 6th suggestion to you … ‘steal his revolution.’ Give the revolution to Obama <as the man who broke the status quo> and Hillary is the one ratcheting up the next level of the revolution.
Ah. Ratchet up.
Hillary needs some big change items to combine with the pragmatism. Let’s call it your “5 point keep=the-revolution-going plan.” Three parts pragmatism & two parts big audacious change. You guys are politicians … you figure out the parts. “working for us” should be parsed out as pragmatically doing the shit that needs to be done to break down barriers but ‘working for us’ also has to embrace something big that we common everyday schmucks know that is audacious, we cannot do ourselves, and will break down the biggest barrier to our happiness. Hillary needs to add in a dose of “change agent” to the pragmatism.
Continue to do what you are doing <or what I perceive you are doing>. Ratchet up his idea. Bernie says something and Hillary seems to be saying “yes … and.” It may not bear immediate fruits but eventually everyone will see a Hillary idea is bigger than a Bernie idea. Don’t get greedy on this tactic and don’t get frustrated on this tactic. Stay the course day in and day out, keep it simple in communications <Bernie idea stated, Hillary ‘plus idea’ attached to it> and understand that this is a long game tactic.
- 20. Let him go to the past, pivot <offensively> to the future.
Please, please, stop attacking Bernie’s past record. I fully understand you are trying to dent his consistency as well as his perceived consistent stance on ‘all things good for everyday people’ but you cannot attack someone like Bernie on integrity. Just give him his past. Let him have it. in fact … when he attacks Hillary’s past … well … leave him hanging.
“that was then and this is now. And you know what? judge me on what I am going to do in the first 100 days, the first 10 months. My past is my past just as yours <Bernie> is yours. We did some things well and some things maybe could have been better. Let’s compare futures.”
Hillary only wins if her future looks better than Bernie’s. In addition … looking into the past is dancing on the head of a pin. Leave him on the pin as you pivot to future comparison. “if this is the future you want than I am your president.” – you can even tie that to your current ‘working for us.’
- 21. America needs to win versus All of America needs to win.
This is a tricky one against Bernie but solid against Trump. Bernie consistently hammers an ‘us versus them’ narrative suggesting Wall Street <and big business> has won enough and it is time for everyday people to win. It is simplistic and inherently flawed – but sounds frickin’ awesome to us every day schmucks. For America to be successful everyone at all levels needs to be successful. Oh. By the way … is Bernie suggesting they pay their ‘penance’ forever or just three years or … well … someone should ask.
Decimating the financial system does none of us any good no matter how angry we are at them. I don’t want to give them a death penalty I want to come up with a fair judgement. This goes the same for trade deals and big businesses. The world is complex and globally interdependent … all businesses need to win – large, medium & small.
Personally I would go to wall street and have THEM <with Hillary setting the agenda> set up a foundation which accrues an annual fund <kind of like a state lottery> from which the government, with maybe some people’s input, can access the funds for specific programs and needs. t makes it transparent and wall street gets to show their contribution on an annual basis <and t matches their performance up & down>. And you already have the tax shelter ideas in place for big businesses.
- 22. Beating Bernie thru Trump
In general you have in a herky jerky fashion navigated the ‘beat Bernie’ without ‘beating up Bernie.’ But he is a resilient candidate with a resilient message & vision and a resilient following. One thing you may consider is to start beating Bernie thru Trump. Consider using his followers’ words & tactics <not Bernie’s> so they see themselves thru your words & actions. For example, be the candidate that names Trump. He has mastered the young person ‘nickname someone’ snarky style. So far he has resisted being labeled. Label him. But label him in a way that cuts at him at his core. Like label him ‘weakTrump’ <and hashtag it>. wow. Watch how he responds to that. And just keep on calling him weaktrump in every tweet and incorporate it into every message. He is resistant to liar, coward, sleazy, empty … but ‘weak’? … he will take it personally.
Bernie’s followers will love it … and they will run with it much farther and faster than you in the Clinton campaign will ever be able to. Hillary will get points for leading this movement.
- 23. I am part of the establishment, and I am not.
Here is the weird thing. Hillary has been in the public eye for decades … and yet has only truly served as a government official for maybe less than a decade. She is no more establishment than say Kasich. In addition one of her responsibilities was Secretary of State so there was no congress crap. somehow, if you can suggest Hillary has dipped in and out of establishment so she knows its workings but hates the way it works … and can maybe not fix the establishment but maybe get it going again … it’s not a bad spot to be in. she can never claim anti-establishment but she could certainly point out that the majority of the time in public eye she has been peripheral to a dysfunctional institution.
In addition … Bernie is an establishment guy with an anti-establishment attitude. You could actually point out that he has been part of the establishment and for the most part the establishment has rejected doing what he has wanted done <so why would establishment do so now?>.
Oh. His answer to that last point is ‘the people’ can make it happen now.
Well. We are a republic … so ‘the establishment’ are representatives of the people. Someone figure that paradox out.
- 24. Dealing with bullies
It has always amazed me how political consultants go into the same bag of political debating & speaking tricks regardless of the audience or the competitor. I can’t tell you how many to throw away as you move against Trump <someone smarter than I can figure that out>. Here is what I know about bullies. Crowd them. Take away their space and you take away their strength. Throwing a bunch of shit against him is like … well … throwing snowballs against a furnace. If you get a bully cornered you don’t ever, ever, back up – you lean in. I am not suggesting you take on Trump on all issues … in fact I would be very cautious and selective. But. If you choose one, then relentlessly crowd him on it.
<do not do this with Bernie>
- 25. Smart follower on ‘possible economic recession’
If I am right, Trump is pivoting toward reframing the campaign message to a “potential failing economy” to divert focus on issues he doesn’t want to run on. Basically he is creating a problem <economy is ready to fall apart> so he can offer poisoned water solutions which look like desperately needed fresh water to people thinking they are gonna die of thirst at some point in the future. Hillary has two opportunities if she beats Bernie to the economic message <1> Trump’s view of stock market crash and economic recession takes away Bernie’s two largest funding sources for all his ideas. His whole premise is they have made too much money and are making too much money and now they have to pay. The weakness in his plan is that it is dependent upon big business and Wall Street doing well. Do I really believe the economy is going to crash? No. but it doesn’t matter. The entire speculation of it happening permits the opportunity to show Bernie’s plan short comings, <2> Trump is stupid on this but it feeds into creating economic fear & doubt. Hillary has an opportunity to swing into a strong economic message to showcase “American economic security” which is a nice pillar next to “American people security” and “American individual rights security.” Of course she should never encourage the thought this is a possibility or likelihood but she shouldn’t ignore Trumps predictions and use them to showcase economic ideas.
If I am right Trump will play into people’s fears about economic recession, suggest politicians created it and cannot solve it, Bernie will call him stupid <and he is> yet people will have enough proof Trump is right to begin talking and thinking about economic fear. therefore someone needs to say Trump is wrong <and you CANNOT use economists because he is already diminishing economists’ credibility as he is undermining everyone’s credibility> but also suggest you have a plan to make sure it doesn’t not happen and the economic security of America is in good hands with Hilary.
I think Trump is an asshat but he is a master of dictating the narrative and framing what is important to people. He is even more of a master of stating nonexistent problems and offering solutions and standing off to the side watching while everyone pontificates about the stupidity of his problems while the people stare at his solutions.
26. going personal (with trump)
Yes. I am going to suggest Hillary go personal with Trump in the general election. But I will do so in a nontraditional way. Go personal in ways that undermine his qualifications and suggested skills. Policy wise and with ideas suggesting he is ‘weak’ and ‘not intelligent.’ He spews his ‘strong’ and ‘no bigger brain’ rhetoric day in and day out. With ideas … make him look weak and ‘less than intelligent.’ <the second will be significantly easier than the first>
My guess will be that you can build an entire portfolio of messaging showing his ‘lack of intelligent awareness of how to run a country’ but will have to be prepared to show quick response with regard to ‘weak’ when he provides an opportunity to do so.
Regardless. Just the implication he is weak or not intelligent will get under his skin and create the knee jerk non-presidential responses which will inevitably win the election for Hillary.
- future resume, future resume, future resume
Trump offers a huge opportunity with his lack of details and, yet, to take advantage of it you have to think like a business person and not a politician. You have to think of this as showing the America resume in 2020 versus the America resume in 2016 <this also permits Hillary to get not get mired in a “who has had a more despicable past’ quagmire>.
The common everyday schmuck like me is more comfortable assessing things like resumes. Snapshots which encompass a variety of details and successes. And we are comfortable assessing hyperbole in a resume versus reality. I believe everyone knows that the first thing out of Trump’s mouth in the first nationally televised debate will be “I am the only one on this stage who has created jobs and employed people” and if Hillary can show the specific plans <think of it like ‘my business plan to build buildings’> in response and how government doesn’t create jobs <she has to declaratively state that> but creates an environment in which businesses can create jobs as she counters him. And it forces Trump to start showcasing HIS details in how to do it rather than the generalism “I know how to do it and only one who knows how to do it.”
Jobs, jobs, jobs. That is what he is going to pound on.
- the unique “united” window of opportunity
We are at a unique moment in the American conversation. Unique in that the concept of “unity” instead of partisanship is at least being entertained by a huge swath of the citizenry. This almost seems to provide Hillary a one-time opportunity. I am not a politics person so what I am suggesting may be political suicide … but it sure feels right to an everyday person.
Hillary speaks of uniting to take on American issues. She should pause. And state, reflectively, she wants to correct a mistake she made early on the election season.
Unequivocally states “republicans are not the enemy. We all, republicans & democrats, have the same intent … to unleash that which America is. We may have different idea to do so but we all envision the same thing – what is best for America. I was wrong when I suggested republicans were the enemy. United, Americans can do anything. United, republicans and democrats WILL do everything.” If she seeks to unite the country she may as well symbolically embrace Republicans. And suggesting she made a mistake in even kidding about it early on maybe even ingratiates some Republicans to her cause.
- the Trumpian equivalence to a child’s death
While Trump is busy nailing his own coffin shut you should stand aside and let him hammer away. But at some point he is gonna run out of the nails he has on hand. This would be the time to not reintroduce Khan and how he mistreated a military family but rather to make a statement with regard to the Trumpian view on, well, how he views what is important in Life. In his statement he drew an absurd equivalency between “created thousand s of jobs and given lots of money to vets” and “the death of your child <let alone one serving in the US military>.” And he did so without blinking an eye. Some saw lack of empathy I saw a man with nothing but a “me-first business compass.”
This is a reflection of him as a person and a reflection of him as a potential leader. Personally, I cannot fathom how any sane human being can make that equivalency in their mind let alone verbalize it for the world. This isn’t about war votes. This isn’t about politicizing Muslim Americans. This is about the soul of the man. remind people of that.
30. stop letting him dictate the narrative
Wow. Politics is a whole different game then … well … any game I know. You are getting killed in media for a variety of reason but the biggest one is that you are letting his surrogates dictate the narrative. They are a relentless attacking herd of pitbulls intent on pivoting to attacks. Personally I would match up against them. It is just like building one-on-one match ups which you believe you will win. When Katrina is on your specific person is on. when Boris is on your specific person is on. but you need to have a specific skill to match up against the specific pitbull.
Next. Once again <I know I am a broken record> … pivot up and pivot to the future. I know it is difficult but when they attack … do not defend … their lies are relentless and investing energy in debunking becomes a huge blur of “he said/she said.” Instead take the smallest thread of whatever real issue is captured in what they say and pivot to the Clinton idea. Email server? “well Boris <you jerk said under your breath> … glad you brought it up … Hillary’s cyber security policy protects us in the future because it is a problem now.” That is kind of stuff.
31. reengaging white working america
While Trump is an ignoramus he has been actively reaching out to African Americans <albeit in an absurd way>. I see no signs that Hillary has reciprocated by actively reaching out to the white working class Americans.
To be clear … i am not a stunt guy … unless it is relevant and makes a demonstrable point.
Put Hillary in some blue collar white working America town hall … where it will be less than full. She makes an economic speech with regard to jobs and understanding the plight of those who work hard every day and yet seem like they get nowhere. she states she purposefully knew the hall would be emptier because it is representative of the hollowing out of white working Americans. and then she offers some ideas so that the next time she comes back there more seats are filled with more people who are earning a far salary and doing a fair day’s work.
Done well and done in the right location she makes her point and shows a little fearlessness by going face to face with the people who perceive she ain’t gonna do nothin’ for them.
32. Innocent until proven guilty.
You are killing me. The Comey email announcement, rerviewing the email case and Huma’s emails, is a unique opportunity to point out a huge flaw in your competitor.
Yeah. Presidential campaigns seem to bring out the worst in everyone — your campaign included <but that is a discussion for another day> — but Trump says things that are the worst … because they are unconstitutional <and Republicans do not like that … as well as most citizens>. One of the things that makes America great as it is … is … well … innocent until proven guilty. You are competing against a candidate who seems to forget that. And not only forget but proclaim guilt with no proof.
This ‘assume guilt’ thrives in a public social online universe continuously feeding the ‘guilty until proven innocent” attitude. <reminder: even without the internet our founding fathers inherently understood that ‘perceptions of guilt’ are almost unrecoverable in the public eye and thought to head that off at the pass>. This is a constitutional right. And maybe some Republicans <and the RNC> need to be reminded of that. It is part of what makes America different and makes America fair & reasonable & … well … makes Hillary different from Trump.
If you feel like you have done nothing wrong of course stand up and say so.
If you have done something wrong of course stand up and say so.
But ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is not about what you have done right or wrong … it is what America stands for. Someone smarter than i needs to figure out how to remind everyone of that.
33. Side by side comparisons
It is crazy as we get closer to the actual election date that people actually believe Trump is competent <as they get distracted by emails>. It may be even crazier that you have not directly addressed the false competency equivalence.
Yes. I will give you that competing against amateurs is hard. Really hard. They can sound good in platitudes but do not really have the competency or experience to stand the
You have the test.
3 of them.
He failed all three side-by-side tests. People saw he failed all three tests. In the last days remind people over and over and over again in a ‘side by side comparison’ <the old Pespi vs. Coke idea> there is … well … no comparison. Do it in ads. Do it in campaign speeches. Be clear. Draw real comparison moments. Remind people that side by side there is no comparison. It is crazy to me that you have avoided this comparison … which you know that the public unequivocally agree with the results.
I know this whole election seems crazy but be rational & pragmatic … and hopeful of course.
I always ended everything shared with this:
Speaking shouldn’t be about pandering or ‘selling’ it should be about vision and the ideas to enable the vision. That should be a general rule. In responses and in speeches. That said … I believe Hillary is smart … maybe one of the smartest people out there. And I think I would like her if I met her. But I have no clue what her vision is … for America and the people. And that aggravates me because I know she has to have one. One that bridges the pragmatic and the heart & soul of who & what we are. Please. Someone, please, get her to tell us. Not everyone will like it … but everyone will like she is telling us and if delivered as I believe she will deliver it, from her heart & soul, we will like her for it.
I think my biggest regret here on November 12th is that I couldn’t save Hillary … and I wish I could have … and, frustratingly, I believe I could have.
Here is what I know for sure. Throughout a lifetime of service as well as today … she deserved better from us than we gave her.