What Democrats Need to Learn from Donald Trump
“Good artists copy, great artists steal” – Pablo Picasso
There is a lot that Donald J. Trump can teach Democrats if they are willing to learn.
The American political landscape has changed dramatically and the Donald understands it. A good way for the Democrats to learn this new political landscape; and start winning again, is to pay attention to Trump and learn from him.
Some Important Lessons Democrats Should Learn from The Donald
Here are a few very important lessons about winning elections in modern America that Donald can teach Democrats:
- Be aggressive. One of Hillary Clinton’s biggest failings was that she was not aggressive enough. Trump was extremely aggressive in his campaigning; just like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were. Yet Hillary reportedly traveled home to sleep in her own bed every night.
- Be everywhere. Hillary did not even visit Wisconsin – a state Trump won by a narrow margin. Trump visited almost every state and he campaigned aggressively; even in states he had no chance of carrying. Just imagine how 2016 might have turned out had Hillary been willing to campaign in states like Texas; where polls showed her doing well. Why not campaign in every state of the Union and every county? If you cannot go in person utilize technologies like video conferencing and YouTube to speak to crowds all over.
- Take advantage of social media. Trump’s Twitter campaign as obnoxious as it was attracted a lot of attention and won him a lot of followers. Democrats should have tried something similar. Simply being on Social Media every day might work.
- The old media still matters. Donald milked the old media for everything he could get including billions worth of free publicity. More importantly by being willing to appear on network news he got access to 25.9 million viewers many of whom do not use the internet or social media. Another equally powerful old media Trump harnessed was supermarket tabloids which reach older, less educated working class voters.
- The working class still votes. Much of Trump’s success was by appealing directly to the working class. Such simple measures as wearing a baseball cap, being willing to travel to small towns in the Rust Belt and being seen eating a Big Mac on YouTube attracted millions of supporters. What if Hillary had adopted a similar approach, perhaps gone shopping at Walmart or ate a few lunches at Burger King?
- Be patriotic. Most Americans still love their country. Democrats need to learn how to wave the flag and demonstrate love of country. Knee jerk patriotism is not necessary but some basic patriotic gestures would go a long way in the heartland. A great example of such a gesture is to have the flag with you at every campaign appearance; and insist on playing the national anthem and saying the Pledge of Allegiance at every campaign rally.
- Harness the power of big data. Donald made a very sophisticated use of big data. He hired one of the most sophisticated big data companies around; Cambridge Analytica, which created a massive database of every adult in America, The Financial Times reported. Trump also had a data science and campaign group in San Antonio. Perhaps Hillary should have tapped Mark Cuban to set up a similar operation and got some of her wealthy backers to hire Cambridge Analytica.
- Use modern marketing techniques and ignore political advice. Trump’s victory was engineered by his son in law Jared Kushner; who set up a marketing organization modeled on a start-up company in San Antonio to run the campaign’s promotions that utilized modern consumer marketing techniques. Kushner effectively ignored the professional campaign experts while Hillary did whatever they told her. Democrats with all their friends in Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue should easily be able to do the same.
- Create a brand. A lot of Trump’s success came by creating a brand voters could easily identify with. The plane, the “Make America Great Again” Hats and the Twitter were all part of that. Democratic candidates need to figure out how to project a brand to the voters. Bernie did, but Hillary failed dismally to project anything to voters.
- Think big and promise the voters something. Trump made big and bold promises to voters on stuff they cared about such as jobs and immigration. Hillary offered them absolutely nothing. Just imagine what would have happened if Hillary had countered Trump’s drivel about the wall with a promise to add $1 trillion to Social Security, or extend Medicare to cover every American. What if she had promised a new voting rights act, free college ala Bernie Sanders or Basic Income?
- Learn to fight dirty when necessary. Clinton was like a fighter trying to play by Marques of Queensberry rules in a Pier Six brawl. She got whipped by the street fighter for acting like a Girl Scout. Trump was willing to do what it took to win, and did by using loads of dirty tricks. Examples of these included email, fake news, Pizzagate, etc. Just imagine what would have happened to Trump if Democrats had countered Pizzagate with “evidence of Donald’s secret plan to destroy Social Security.”
- Fight fire with fire. It was obvious Clinton had access to a vast amount of dirt about Trump; including his tax returns, the Christopher Steele dossier, the Access Hollywood Tape and quite probably The Apprentice Tapes, yet she used almost none of it. How far would Donald have gotten if Hillary had released The Apprentice Tapes and the current tax returns during the Republican National Convention. There was also all the other stuff from Trump’s background; including the Mafia allegations, questions about Melania’s past, the cocaine question etc., yet Hillary never mentioned any of Meanwhile Donald was harping on her emails and her husband’s philandering every other minute. Democrats need to relearn “the Chicago Way” from the movie version of The Untouchables: as explained by Sean Connery in the clip below.
- Learn how to steal. There is very little original about Trump. He got the big data strategy from U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and the branding and social media ideas from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). Even “Make America Great Again” is a play on Democrat Lyndon Johnston’s “Great Society.” If Trump can steal ideas why cannot Democrats.
Democrats need to relearn the first rule of victory; learn from winners and start imitating them. If they do not, they will remain a party of losers and they deserve to be.