Analysts are touting Donald Trump’s 8 November 2016 victory as the greatest political upset in American history. No doubt countless volumes will be written over the coming years on what happened in this race and how an outsider overcame the most vaunted democrat political machine any candidate ever had backing them, while also defeating an entrenched republican establishment, overwhelming “Minion Media” and Hollywood support, and double the campaign funding.
Hillary Clinton: $1.19 Billion vs Donald Trump: $646.8 Million
In the end, the one thing that Donald Trump did have was the American people’s support.
Over the next three blogs I will assess the race from a singularly unique perspective. My 29 Sep, 2013 Blog “Applying The Principles of War to American Politics” discussed the US Military’s Principals of War, and how the Republican Party needed to learn from these principles, peacefully apply them to defeat progressives and the Democrat Party, and use them as a critical strategic component to return Constitutional freedoms to the American people. Donald Trump’s Campaign Manager, and recently selected chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, recently said that “politics is war”.
President Elect Donald Trumps campaign, knowingly or instinctively applied the Principles of War to enable his victory over Hillary Clinton. The lessons are clear for republicans going forward: consciously apply these principles and win.
- Mass: Donald Trump perfected the Principle of Mass. He massed his supporters at rallies across the country. Pundits argued that the size and energy of his crowds didn’t matter. They were wrong! Trump massed his small campaign staff, a fraction of the size and cost of Jeb Bush’s, or Hillary Clinton’s, to great effect. He massed his campaign funding, getting far out spent by Bush and Hillary. Trump’s campaign also held most of their add spending until the last two weeks of the campaign, unleashing the adds and outspending Hillary down the stretch. This might have made the difference in the election. Finally, and most importantly, Trump massed his voters setting the record for the most votes any candidate ever got in the GOP Primary process, and soundly beating Hillary in the electoral college. Democrats are touting Hillary’s popular vote numbers as evidence of her greater support. In fact, it doesn’t matter. She massed voters in the wrong places, concentrated in California and New York, and not in critical states like Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The popular vote is debatable as well. If Hillary massed illegal voters, as some are claiming, then she may well have been beaten here as well.
- Objective: Both Trump and Clinton shared the objective of winning the Presidency. Trump however spelled out his overarching objective in four words: Make America Great Again. That was his campaign’s objective, clear and concise. Winning the presidency was only a means to Making America Great Again. In contrast, Hillary’s objective was purely winning the presidency. Her campaign slogans, like Stronger Together, or I’m With Her were mere window dressing enabling her election. The American people were more likely to support Trump’s objective, which elevated them, vs. Hillary’s which elevated Hillary. According to Vice President Joe Biden in a CNN interview:
“Hillary Clinton felt compelled to run for president despite lacking a clear campaign vision”…”I don’t think she ever really figured it out”
- Offensive: Donald Trump set himself apart from other GOP candidates by going on, and maintaining the offensive. Although he was criticized for defending himself too much, he never stopped going on the attack. In contrast with how John McCain and Mitt Romney treated Barack Obama, Trump went straight after Hillary, refusing to ease up, and maintaining the offensive. If anything, Trump was criticized for attacking too often, too harshly, and for attacking not just Hillary, but the corrupt media, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, President Obama, and others. In the end, America wanted a fighter, and they believe that they got one. In contrast David Brock, democrat strategist savant, lamented that Hillary wasn’t more like Donald Trump in going on the offensive against the media saying
- Economy of Force: Donald Trump wrote the book on The Art of the Deal, and during this campaign he wrote the book on political Economy of Force. No Principle of War was better put into practice than this one. Trump’s campaign was run largely from his own money or small donors, and it was wisely spent. His staff was only a fraction of the size of Hillary’s. Trump maximized the use of volunteers throughout the country, tying into local and state Republican Party volunteers. Support from the RNC and its get out the vote effort defeated the vaunted Democrat GOTV machine, even though it was outspent. Trump was also heralded for his skill at dominating news cycles. Although much of the “Minion Media” coverage was grossly pro-Hillary, Trump was still effective at getting his message out for free.
- Significantly, Donald Trump used social media to go over the heads of the “Minion Media”. His 36 million followers between Twitter, Facebook and Instagram heard directly from Trump and they spread the word, at next to no cost to his campaign. The Trump campaign spent only $160,00 for example producing and posting short policy videos and got 74 million views.
- Trump’s Social Media Director, Dan Scavino, described the slim nature of the campaign to Breitbart News:
“…there was not some boardroom of political consultants pre-testing talking points for tweets and Facebook and Instagram posts before they went out. It was him, Trump and his iPhone, that led the way in making this happen.”