Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Trump Was Right To Fire Brad Parscale... But It Won't Help Him Avoid His Destiny


One of the most discussed pieces of reporting over the weekend was Olivia Nuzzi's New York Magazine look inside the chaotic, desperate last-minute Trump 2020 reboot. She goes beyond the reasons why Trump fired his rarely present campaign manager, Jared-puppet Brad Parscale, while noting the " tiny Tulsa rally Parscale had organized-- which followed weeks of massive hype-- preceded a spike in coronavirus infections in the city that, local officials said, was probably born of the event, where the guest list included Herman Cain, who later died... The campaign was in a hole so deep it was actually historic-- a deficit not just bigger, at this point in the race, than any an incumbent had ever overcome, but bigger than any an incumbent had ever even faced."

Nuzzi wrote that "It was July before he 'saw for the first time' that he could be defeated, according to the [senior White House official] official. And he didn’t blame himself. He blamed a cruel world, a crueler media, and the Death Star’s failure to defend him from both. 'They thought they were running one campaign: We’re on cruise control for the president who gave us the greatest economy of all time, and all the messaging would flow from there. Which socialist are we running against? Bop, bop, bop. And everything changed, and they didn’t change,' the senior White House official said. 'The president started to hate the ads. He hated Beijing Biden-- he didn’t come up with that name.' In the West Wing, officials filed away gossip and unflattering data points about the campaign manager as if drafting a dossier. When it was reported that Parscale’s web of companies took in $38 million between Inauguration Day and the spring of the pandemic, according to the Federal Election Commission, the story circulated widely. Though Parscale has declined to make clear what portion of his bills to the campaign amount to his personal salary, the New York Times reported in March that Trump had imposed a salary cap on Parscale of somewhere between $700,000 and $800,000-- enough for him to become in midlife a collector of luxury cars and seaside real estate, or at least a media caricature of one. But it wasn’t only Parscale’s spending on Parscale that worried-- or 'worried'-- some of his colleagues; it was his spending on everything else, too, like the $15,000-a-month payments to Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, and to Lara Trump, Eric Trump’s wife, both of whom crisscross the country as campaign surrogates.

The courtiers surrounding Trump began wondering aloud about what Parascale was even doing aside from milking the campaign for his own accounts. Nuzzi spoke with one of the country's most prominent #NeverTrumpers, Lincoln Project founder George Conway, who told her that the Orange Menace "wonders who’s truly loyal to him and who’s not and who’s making a buck on him," noting that "triggering Trump’s paranoia" is one way to defeat him. "It doesn’t matter who is the captain of the SS Trump, because Trump is the one who is going to run it into the iceberg in the end. If there’s more chaos, all the better. We try to trigger the chaos in Trump’s DNA."

It started eating away at Trump that Pascale was making so much money off him. Three weeks after Tulsa, he was unceremoniously fired-- replaced by Bill Stepien. Right after Trump fired him, Parscale tweeted a Bible verse: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them." No one has seen him since.
Parscale’s value, as some saw it, lay not in what he could do for the campaign but in what he could do for Kushner. “Brad was willing to do whatever Jared said and keep quiet about it. Brad was willing to get yelled at by the president and not say to the president, ‘Well, actually, this was Jared’s decision,’ ” the first senior White House official said. “And Jared got to rule from afar because Brad would do whatever he said. In return, Brad made a fuck-ton of money and got to live by the pool in Florida. It was almost like this weird mutual partnership, whether they knew it or not.”

...In the case of the reelection campaign, what appeared to be a civil war at the highest levels of Trumpworld, with anti-Kushner factions inside and immediately surrounding the West Wing positioned against representatives of his interests at campaign headquarters, and a last-minute last chance for a reboot before November, was more like WrestleMania. The drama was both all-consuming and self-contained. Parscale and Stepien were both seen as Kushner allies, yet the regime change was nevertheless regarded as revealing some aspect of Kushner’s shifting status-- even as he remained functionally in charge the whole time. Kushner’s influence is so total that, even when his proxy is removed, he’s just replaced by yet another proxy. After all, if you’re not a “Kushner guy,” the dismissive term for officials perceived to carry out his will, what kind of guy could you even be?

...But while replacing Parscale with Stepien has the look of a reboot, at the strategy level it does not seem much has changed or is likely to. Asked how the campaign can formulate a coherent message, given what life is like for most people across the country today, senior adviser Jason Miller said, “It’s very direct: President Trump built the greatest economy in the history of the world, and he’s doing it again.”

But what about the polls? “I’d push back on that,” Miller said. “I have much more timely data, and much more accurate data, than what you have access to. And it’s improved over the last four weeks, and over the last two weeks, it definitely improved. We’re headed in the right direction.

...If I just woke you up in the middle of the night and told you a guy who is deeply involved in Bridgegate is now calling himself campaign manager for Donald Trump, you wouldn’t have said, ‘You’re kidding me! I’m shocked. How did that happen?,’ ” Stuart Stevens said with a laugh. You’d have said, Of course.

Stevens is a veteran of Republican presidential campaigns whose latest book, It Was All a Lie, is about his newfound realization-- at 67 years old-- that his life’s work was a mistake. As he sees it, Trump has a “management philosophy” that has guided him from the Trump Organization to the 2016 campaign to the White House and now to the campaign for reelection. “What Trump does is take people who are mediocre talent at best, who know they could never have the position they have if it were not for Trump, and it creates this instant loyalty to Trump. When you look at Trumpworld, it’s all these people who weren’t involved in presidential races, and it wasn’t because they didn’t want to be; it was because nobody would hire them. It’s not like Steve Bannon woke up one day and said, ‘I think I’d like to get involved in campaigns!’ Or Corey Lewandowski, all of these people. It’s how you end up with Brad Parscale. Top professionals won’t work for you.”
Almost all Democrats I know-- basically I know progressive Democrats-- abhor Biden's record. They're going to mostly hold their noses and vote for him-- a vehicle for saving the country from Trump and Trumpism. Not the #NeverTrumpers. They're enthusiastic. Biden's lifelong fiscal conservatism is just what they want in a president. Just ask Susan Molinari. "When Joe Biden makes a commitment, he always sees it through," the narrator says in this new Lincoln Project ad. Does that mean that we're about to vote someone in who is going to kill Social Security and Medicare?

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PUH-leeeze! If Trump believes he will lose even a rigged election, he will just declare martial law and prevent any election.

There is no one to stop him. The donors won't allow it.

At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Kushner’s influence is so total that, even when his proxy is removed, he’s just replaced by yet another proxy."

That is why the Never Trumpers are staging their rebellion. They got turfed out of their cushy position as the leaders of their party, and they want it back. To get a shot at taking their party back Trump must be destroyed. It can't be a narrow defeat either, he has to be utterly crushed so that they can say "See! We told you Trump would destroy the party! Now give us back control!" Just like conserva-dems did to move the party to the right after George McGovern's crushing defeat in 1972.

Biden's campaign is making use of them because having Republicans talk about voting for Biden is deeply damaging to the Republican brand. Just like "Reagan Democrats" and "Nixon Democrats" deeply damaged the Democratic brand. It made it OK for a Democrat to vote for Nixon or Reagan. This makes it OK for a conservative Independent to vote for Biden.

It doesn't matter what Biden wants to do come January. If he doesn't move quickly on Civil Rights and Voting Rights then there will be hell to pay with the base of his own party. He cannot come right out of the gate and start selling us out. Normally of course, he could, but this time? There's too much anger and built up demand.
Trump's very extremism and the rage he induces, has made most of the normal bi-partisan sell outs completely impossible, for now. Nobody is going to sit still for it.

The real attempted sell-outs will happen quietly, later. It will involve compromise with Republicans on things Wall Street wants done - quietly. It will involve restoring a more belligerent foreign policy that is always very useful to arms manufacturers. That will be a big olive branch to Wall Street and the military industrial complex. Trump is too chaotic for profits to be sustainable. The tax cuts were nice, but Biden will bring "badly needed stability to the markets."


Post a Comment

<< Home