How to Steal the Populists’ Clothes

The continued electoral success of populists in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and in the United States shows that while their policy proposals may be fanciful, their mode of conducting politics is effective. To win at the ballot box, mainstream politicians should apply three lessons that populists have mastered.

.. Rather than complaining about populist successes, established political parties should take a page from the populist playbook. Three lessons, in particular, cry out for attention.

The first lesson is to connect to the people you wish to represent by learning about them and winning their trust.

.. The complacent assumption that people will always vote along party or class lines is obsolete.

.. After a decade of economic malaise, voters are skeptical of mainstream politicians who offer rote promises of growth and improved standards of living. In the eyes of disenchanted workers, those in power have simply been feathering their own nests. Even in many of the world’s strongest economies, workers are earning less in real terms than they did ten years ago.

.. the twin threats of automation and outsourcing have made employment more precarious, and sapped workers’ bargaining power.

.. Who is to blame for this state of affairs? Those who vote for populists clearly hold establishment politicians responsible

.. Contrary to popular belief, recent research finds that technology is not the primary driver of labor’s declining share of income. Rather, the worsening plight of workers is due to

  • lost bargaining power and union density,
  • welfare-state retrenchment,
  • offshoring, and the
  • growth of the financial sector as a share of the economy.

the effective tax rates “paid by the world’s 10 biggest public companies by market capitalization in each of nine sectors” have fallen by nearly one-third since 2000, from 34% to 24%.

since 2008, personal income-tax rates across all countries have increased by 6%, on average.

Against this backdrop, the emergence of populist parties and politicians should come as no surprise. When a majority of people becomes poorer, there will be stark consequences at the ballot box. And yet, in one country after another, the political establishment has been remarkably slow to recognize this.

.. Meanwhile, the populist presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, proposes giving every Brazilian a gun so they can defend themselves. To the elites, this sounds (and is) preposterous. But for Brazilians who worry about their own safety, he is at least showing that he understands their top concern.

.. Before winning the French presidency and a parliamentary majority last year, Emmanuel Macron .. sent volunteers across the country to listen to voters’ concerns.

.. populists is to use simple, intuitive messaging to signal your goals. Yes, slogans like “I’ll protect your jobs” and “Make America great again” sound simplistic. But where are the sophisticated alternatives?

.. In the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum, the Remain campaign, phlegmatically led by then-Prime Minister David Cameron’s government, argued that leaving the European Union would result in lower GDP, lost trade, and disruption to the financial sector.

.. Such arguments completely missed what concerned most voters. By contrast, the Brexiteers promised to “take back control” of the UK’s borders and claimed – falsely – that the National Health Service would enjoy a windfall of £350 million ($490 million) per week.

.. Academics, pundits, and political, business, and civil-society leaders have been far too slow to articulate new economic and social policies that have broad-based appeal.

.. it takes a commitment of time and energy to understand the plight of the electorate and to frame solutions in a clear, simple way.

.. The third lesson from the populist playbook is to be bold.

.. people are seeking a transformational vision of the future, not slight improvements. After 30 years of pragmatism and incremental change, it is time for a new tone.

.. Recall that in 1945, Winston Churchill, having delivered victory for Britain in World War II, lost the general election.

The winner, Clement Attlee, promised what was effectively a new social contract for war-weary Britons still living under rations. His government went on to provide free universal health care, unemployment insurance, pensions, decent housing, and secure jobs in nationalized industries. And all this was done with the national debt still at 250% of GDP.

Special counsel Mueller files new charges against Manafort, Gates

Paul Manafort was using fraudulently obtained loans and tax-cheating tricks to prop up his personal finances as he became chairman of the Trump campaign in 2016, according to a new 32-count indictment filed against him and his business partner Thursday.

The indictment ratchets up pressure on Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, who were already preparing for a trial

.. Mueller accused the men of lying on their income-tax returns and conspiring to commit bank fraud to get loans.

.. these are two fellows on a multiyear tear of lying to every bank they could find about their income. To a federal prosecutor, it’s fairly crude. It’s extensive and bold and greedy with a capital ‘G,’ but it’s not all that sophisticated.”

.. there was one hero in the special counsel’s tale — a bookkeeper who refused an alleged request by Gates to falsely inflate a revenue claim

..  they could be facing de facto life prison sentences.

.. from 2006 to 2015, Manafort, with help from Gates, avoided paying taxes on income from Ukraine by disguising it as loans from offshore corporate entities

.. using foreign bank accounts to make payments to businesses in the United States on Manafort’s behalf.

.. unidentified co-conspirator wrote that a document looked doctored and asked them to “do a clean excel doc” and send that instead.

.. When Manafort joined the Trump campaign as an adviser in early 2016, he agreed to work with no pay

.. prosecutors alleged Manafort was taking out multimillion-dollar loans in those same months, including $5.5 million that he sought in the same month he joined the campaign.

.. Manafort was under significant financial pressure even as he ascended to the top of the Trump campaign in mid-2016.

.. One bank lender “questioned Manafort about a $300,000 delinquency on his American Express card, which was more than 90 days past due. The delinquency significantly affected Manafort’s credit rating score.”

.. On Oct. 25, 2017 — just days before the first indictment was revealed — Gates submitted a false tax document for the 2013 tax year

.. Three of his lawyers had asked to leave the case

.. Thomas C. Green

.. Green is an experienced white-collar attorney with a reputation for cutting plea deals on behalf of his clients.

 

The ‘genius’ of Trump: What the president means when he touts his smarts

The genius in the White House has always believed that what makes him special is his ability to get things done without going through the steps others must take.

In school, he bragged that he’d do well without cracking a book. As a young real estate developer, his junior executives recalled, he skipped the studying and winged his way through meetings with politicians, bankers and union bosses. And as a novice politician, he scoffed at the notion that he might suffer from any lack of experience or knowledge.

.. doubled down on his belief that smashing conventions is the path to success but underscored his lifelong conviction that he wins when he’s the center of attention.

.. “To go into those campaign rallies with just a few notes and connect with people he wasn’t at all like, that takes a certain genius. His genius is he’ll say anything to connect with people. He won by telling the rally crowds that the people who didn’t like them also didn’t like him.”

.. familiar tactics: a bold, even brazen, drive to put on a show and make himself the star.

..  he tweeted that he did use “tough” language — a long-standing point of pride for the president, whose political ascent was fueled by his argument that, as a billionaire, he is liberated to say what some other Americans only think.

.. “He needed to be stroked all the time and told how smart he was,”

..  The way we got things done was to approach him with an idea and make him think it was his. It was so easy.”

.. “Donald was always a forest person; he never knew anything about the trees. He knew concrete was brought in on trucks, but he really didn’t know how to run a project. What he had was street smarts — good instincts about people.”

.. he has always encouraged people around him to view him as someone who could see things that others could not.

.. “He means, okay, he didn’t hit the brains lottery, but he’s brilliant and cunning in the way he operates. He’s amazing at taking the temperature of the room and knowing how to appease everyone. You want that kind of instinct in your quarterbacks, in your generals. It’s not what we’ve ever thought of as what makes a great president, but he’s never going to be the guy who makes great speeches. This is who he is.”

.. Being something of a genius was central to Trump’s self-image
.. Everyone around him learned to cater to that — even his father
.. In the first major newspaper profile of Trump, in the New York Times in 1976, his father, Fred Trump, describes his son as “the smartest person I know.”
.. Throughout his life, Trump has believed that his instincts and street smarts positioned him to succeed where others might struggle.
.. His father often told Trump that “you are a king,” instructing him to “be a killer.”
.. Fred Trump was a student of Dale Carnegie
.. and an acolyte of Norman Vincent Peale .. who preached a gospel of positive thinking.
.. “I know in my gut,” he said in an interview last year. “I know in 30 seconds what the right move is.”
.. “He can’t collaborate with anybody because he doesn’t listen to anybody,”
.. “He doesn’t trust anybody, except his family. That’s why [his former wife] Ivana was involved in everything and why now his children are too.”
.. also believed he had something more: a genius for showmanship, a knack for surrounding himself with the trappings of success, thereby creating the perception that he was uniquely capable of big, bold action.
.. Genius and ego were both essential elements of success on a grand scale, Trump said
.. every great person, including Jesus and Mother Teresa, found the path to success via ego:
.. In Trump’s vocabulary, “genius” is perhaps the highest praise, and it refers to a street-level ability to get things done.
.. Trump often referred to his lawyer and early mentor Roy Cohn as “a total genius” or a “political genius,” even if he was also “a lousy lawyer.”
.. Trump explained in one of his books that his own true “genius” was for public relations: Rather than spending money on advertising, he said, he put his efforts toward winning news coverage of himself as a “genius.”
.. Trump has also had moments of extreme self-doubt. Biographer Harry Hurt described a period around 1990 when, as his marriage to Ivana Trump was breaking up, he occasionally spoke about suicide

 

Tillerson’s fall could turn State into a hawk’s nest

The centerboard of this administration’s foreign policy team will remain Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, still steady in balancing competing views. But there will be a lot more sail aloft, adding speed and also danger. The changes will likely be seen as a signal of greater U.S. willingness to use force, which will increase anxieties at home and abroad about possible conflict with North Korea and Iran.

.. Mike Pompeo, the feisty and politically ambitious CIA director who is likely headed to State, is the un-Tillerson. He’s flamboyant where Tillerson is guarded, sharp and sometimes snarky where Tillerson is reticent. He’s a far better communicator than Tillerson, and he’ll probably do better conveying to Congress, the public and U.S. allies his version of diplomacy than does Tillerson, whose dislike for his job is palpable.
 
.. The atmospherics will be a more activist, hawkish, extroverted U.S. foreign policy. Pompeo is good at the things Tillerson isn’t.

.. Mattis and Tillerson have been joined at the hip on most policy issues, especially North Korea. They presented a formidable united front in the Situation Room; the power axis may now shift a bit, because of the chemistry between Trump and Pompeo.

.. Pompeo has been aggressively developing covert options for North Korea, but he probably agrees with Tillerson that there is no “silver bullet” for solving this problem.

.. Tillerson’s plan to convene in Canada a meeting of the “sending states,” the 15 U.S. allies that sent troops to fight North Korea in 1950 under a U.N. Security Council resolution. Mattis was the first to endorse this idea publicly, and he still backs it strongly.

.. The wild card in the new team is Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), reputed to be the president’s choice to replace Pompeo as CIA director. Cotton has played an outsize policy role in recent months, especially in shaping Iran strategy. He cultivates the image of a hard man, lanky, laconic and Arkansas-tough. Like Pompeo, he combines book smarts with a high tolerance for risk. Pyongyang and Tehran should be worried. This team has not been selected to manage compromise.

.. U.S. allies will probably be worried, too. Tillerson was liked and trusted by key allies and seen as a check on Trump’s impulsiveness.

.. Most successful CIA directors quickly learn how much they don’t know; humility is part of the job description, along with boldness.

.. In the early months of the Trump administration, the Mattis-Tillerson alliance led many analysts to say that the “adults” were in charge of foreign policy, and that their influence checked the tweet-happy president. Trump hated that formulation. Now he’ll have a new team, one that is tuned more closely to his pitch.

Katy Perry Woke Up. She Wants to Tell You All About It.

Thanks to Madonna’s restlessness, female pop stars are expected to reinvent themselves every few years, but there’s no guarantee that listeners will accept the changes. For Ms. Perry, the stakes couldn’t be higher: She believes she is now revealing her true self. The old Katy Perry is gone.

.. She has a well-known strategy for frustrating the paparazzi (wearing the same Adidas track suit when she leaves home to make the photographs less sellable)

.. For all of Ms. Perry’s talk about feminism and unity, it felt like a conventional catfight.

.. you have to understand her relationship to her biggest album, “Teenage Dream.” It had five No. 1 hits, tying a record Michael Jackson set with “Bad,” and solidified her image as a charmingly goofy sexpot who sings about love, partying and inner strength.

.. Part of the pressure stemmed from maintaining her hypersexual image, which Ms. Perry takes responsibility for helping create. “I used to be scared of intimacy, I used to use my sexualization as attention, I used to oversexualize myself because that was the only way I knew how,”

.. later explained why she holds queer women in high esteem: “I admire that they’re doing it for themselves. They are not doing it for the male gaze.”) It’s easy to read her drastic haircut and new stylistic choices — her live stream finale outfit covered her in neck-to-toe sequins — as a reaction to having worn whipped-cream bras in the past.

.. Ms. Perry credits her shift in perspective on her sexuality — she calls it “a full sexual liberation” — to resolving issues with her father. “The reality is that I was retriggered on the election,” she said. “I was retriggered by a big male that didn’t see women as equal. And that had been, unfortunately, a common theme in my upbringing.”

.. the Katy Perry I spent several days with: gregarious, intense, bold, endearing and full of contradictions.

.. she proclaimed herself devoted to dialogue but spoke in a near uninterrupted monologue.

.. The old Katy Perry wasn’t a construct, she explained, and she isn’t dead. “I didn’t kill her, because I love her, and she is exactly what I had to do then,”

DAVI: Donald Trump–A Leader Who Paints in the Bold Colors of Red, White, and Blue

We need someone who has the straightforward common sense and knowhow to fix a nation that has been beaten down by nuanced pseudo-intellectuals who have no practical experience nor leadership qualities.  

Trump—whether you like him or not—is the kind of individual who built and made this country great. He is deserves serious consideration in spite of what some may perceive as unpolished presentation.

.. I watched some of the commentary from the left-leaning news shows and the smug, elitist, smirky attitude which some displayed toward Trump’s message. This is exactly the kind of cynicism that is being taught in our schools in an attempt to strip America of its exceptional qualities.

.. Trump has the ability to be bold.

.. Donald Trump has the balls, common sense, and know-how to lift America out of the current destructive path it is currently facing. He communicates plainly to the American people with bold clarity.

.. We need someone who will take those ideas on directly. My thinking is that Trump has a knockout punch, the question is: how hard is his chin?