Greedy Goblin

Friday, December 2, 2016

Politics after the press era

This isn't a Trump-celebration post, I did that right after the election. And yes, I endorsed him when no one believed that he'll win. This post is about his very new method of connecting to the people. I wrote:
The only risk left is that the establishment will try to isolate him from the people. What they couldn't reach with "Crazy Donald can't build a wall because he'll never be president" can succeed with "Great President Trump in his infinite grace should allow undocumented people to stay". But I'm not too afraid of that. Despite he is president elect, he keeps tweeting in his unique style, to the people directly, bypassing the media, which was, is and forever will be his mortal enemy.

In the old way the connection between the people and a democratically elected leader was very limited outside of election campaigns and both direction was controlled by the press. They reported the actions of the government to the people. They also reported the problems of the people and the government had to deal with these problems, couldn't ignore them anymore. Of course this placed huge power in the hand of privately owned corporations. They could form the opinion of the voters by one-sided reporting on the government and they could form the opinion of the government by reporting only on a well-selected slice of the problems of the people. You most probably heard much more about attacks performed by white supremacists than about welfare leeches, despite there are a handful of hate murders a year compared to the dozens of "robbery turned into murder" cases every day, mostly performed by unemployed young men.

The advancement in technology allowed us to communicate directly without personal connections. You are reading my words from thousands of miles without either one of us having to pay for this. Trump was the first politician really utilizing the full power of internet communications. While everyone else mirrors his press releases and reminders on the internet, Trump sends out original communication on Twitter. If you want to know the next appointee to his cabinet, you shouldn't watch newspapers, they will know when you know on Twitter. Since Trump, the fastest and most accurate information about the position of a politician is coming from the horse's mouth.

Unfortunately - and that's what I wrote about in the quote - this only works one way. The voters can't tweet their problems to the leader since it's impossible for him to follow millions of channels. So the voter to politician communication was bound to go the old way: gatekeepers - typically journalists - talk to the people, decide which problems are worthy and communicate these few ones to the leaders, giving them power over the perceived reality of the leaders. I didn't really see how could Trump overcome this problem without a huge staff doing communication collection - a staff he doesn't have. I feared that he'll have to use the press and the Establishment Republican staff, doomed to hear what these special interests want him to hear.

I underestimated him:

Since he had no perfect direct channel, he uses the imperfect he had during the campaign: reading the crowd physically present on his rallies. While it's still a small and self-selected sample of voters, it's not selected by any special interest group. Nothing stops a US citizen to show up on these "thank you" rallies and present his opinion to the president-elect by applause, booing and chanting.

I can't wait the crowd boo out Romney, demand the wall and to "lock her up".
Update: the rally is over and they did chant these things.

10 comments:

99smite said...

While I am still convinced that Big D has only a limited education and lacks a lot of talents and strengths needed for a suitable president, he understood one thing and this one thing was the key factor for his success: reading people. People who have known Trump personally and had to deal with him in business tell that he is apparently a very gifted negotiator and that he can sell himself or his image/brand to anyone. This is remarkable as it requires character. Not that I like his character, but he has a special personality of his own and he will not bend for anyone.
His failed opponent, Hillary Clinton failed to read her target audience, she tried in vain to present herself as "the new thing", "female power" and a lot of other BS even her target audiences couldn't care less about it. Hillary had an agenda to which she sticked and largely, besides her agenda, she promoted, what sociologists thought might win her votes... Only mistake was that she can't sell anything to a living human as people preceived her as what she was and is... a crooked liar...

Now the US are caught between a r ock and a hard place, as they say and the world is holding its breath to see how Big D is going to perform...

Halycon said...

Um. No. She connected with her target audience. She did win the popular vote by 3%. I'm not going to protest it or anything, the system is the system. But no one with any sort of straight face can say the guy who got less votes did a better job of selling himself than the person who got more. He won because the system weights votes toward states with smaller populations. There's wisdom in doing that, which is why the system was setup that way.

But at the same time it's not exactly the type of win to be bragged about or examined as a groundswell change in the way things are done. Anyone saying it is hasn't really taken a good hard look at the breakdown demographics. It is highly unlikely we will ever see a confluence of things come together to give another win like Trump's. It's likely we'll see another popular/electoral split in our lifetimes, but not another Trump. We've had our dark horse, and he can't backup most of his promises on the economic front. He's not going to suddenly make Kentucky coal be a thing again. It died not because government regulation, but because Wyoming became the defacto coal leader in the US, it produces 50% of it for the entire country; they can produce it cheaply because they are still in peak production instead of mining played out seams. Foreign trade deals will not fix it. Oil prices were falling even before Opec dropped prices two years ago because US natural gas prices fell. So oil producing states are still in the crapper even if he somehow makes a trade deal to fix that. Solar keeps on getting cheaper and seeing more industrial sized installations so the entire energy field is just waiting for the big tipping point to finally hit there. Heavy manufacturing jobs aren't coming back, they weren't stolen by foreign factories at the rate everyone thinks they were. It was automation in the 80s. Ford builds more cars now in the US than they did in the 70s, but with less workers. Jobs can't be made because they don't exist to be made. And on and on.

dobablo said...

@99smite Which is kind of ironic since Bill was a master at working a room. Hillary stuck to her lines. Her husband schmoozing the room and was an expert at knowing when to come off-script and deal with personal concerns of his audience.

Gevlon said...

@Halycon: we have no idea how the popular vote would look like if it mattered. I mean we don't know how many California Rep and Alabama Dem would have voted if their vote would do anything else than get them jury duty.

Anonymous said...

But no one with any sort of straight face can say the guy who got less votes did a better job of selling himself than the person who got more

he won. he did a better job (what ever that entails). He did that better than Clinton. deal with it.

popular vote vs electoral college well nearly everything is a double edged sword. if the former would be the deciding factor both candidates would have campaigned totaly different. Not to say that the result would be different, but then you could have a scenario like PV:trump and EC:clinton where trump wins.

We will see. actions speak louder than words. as different as I am to Pence, I have to give him a chance. how he handled hamilton cringe was very classy and definitly a correct way.

99smite said...

@Halycon: no she didn't. Less women, less coloured and less latino people voted for Hillary than for Obama. She lost 3 swing states, where she did not campaign as intensely as Trump...

@ dobablo: yes, it might seem so, but her husband could really "enchant" people around him. Hillary was hated ever since she entered Washington in the nineties...

Tithian said...

I hear from people all the time how "Trump is a huge moron", or that he is a "clown" and an "idiot".

All the while being a freaking billionaire. And after he ran a successful campaign for the US presidency. Does not compute.

Anonymous said...

There was pretty much no comparison between Trump's internet presence and any of the other candidates. If you looked back at Romney's Campaign, it's a night and day difference between them. Romney twitter and social media accounts were a joke, and it often seemed like he had handed them off to interns.

The difference between the two candidates is that Romney was concerned about his image and Trump wasn't. Romney never wanted to do anything that might make him look bad, or he wanted to control the image so much that everything ended up looking fake. Trump, either because he's been mocked in the media for so long or because he genuinely doesn't care what anyone else thinks, had absolutely no problem making off the cuff remarks, saying what was on his mind or just going out and doing something.



Anonymous said...

@Tithian - Any given poor neighborhood will have its share of people who are both smart and serious. Their intelligence and demeanor, however, will do very little to lift them above their circumstances because they don't have access to the means to improve.

Donald Trump, despite being an idiot, was born wealthy and has access to a network of contacts and resources those intelligent and serious people do not. Worst comes to worst, which it has before, he can always fallback on the famous name and face to make opportunity for himself.

You do not need to be smart or be taken seriously to be rich or successful.

Tithian said...

"Donald Trump, despite being an idiot, was born wealthy and has access to a network of contacts and resources those intelligent and serious people do not. Worst comes to worst, which it has before, he can always fallback on the famous name and face to make opportunity for himself."

Sorry, this is bullshit. Even maintaining wealth, let alone growing it, requires skill. You are talking about a 'neighborhood' where people will stab you in the back just to improve their standing even trivially. Sure, being born into money helps a lot, but I see a lot of other people wasting it and doing practically nothing with their lives. You're saying that essentially any celebrity can become the next president, right? He's rich and has contacts, clearly anything else is just fluff.

You're making it sound that anyone with money can be just as successful as Trump, regardless of personal accomplishments. This is what people say to themselves to justify their failings or lack of personal progress.