Trump Not Fake Enough!

Politics and Pros: The NYT says “Donald Trump’s Campaign Stumbles As it Tries to Go Big.” Evidence of the stumbling? 1) Trump met with “dozens of female chief executives and entrepreneurs” last week but “never publicized” it! Instead of putting out this staged campaign news, Trump put out real news (that he’d fired political director RIck Wiley, the man who crash-landed Scott Walker’s campaign.) 2) Trump only has one communications aide. One! Why, Hillary has “a press team of more than a dozen, including people devoted solely to the news media for black and Hispanic audiences”! 3) Trump hasn’t yet violated the spirit of the campaign finance laws by “unofficially” anointing a particular super Pac (a campaign organization he’s technically supposed to be independent of).

This will not do, warns the only critic quoted in the piece– trained seal GOP strategist Scott Reed, the genius behind Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign, who more recently pushed immigration amnesty (with similar success!) for the Chamber of Commerce, and generally represents everything Trump has opposed in the primary. “Mr. Reed stressed that Mr. Trump needed to grow — and fast.”

Reporters Ashley Parker and Maggie Haberman seem guilty here of “pro-ism,” sneering at those who don’t do what political professionals have always done, whether or not these things are all that effective or in the public interest.** It’s an especially odd attitude to see in the Times, which would be quick to laud (in its editorial pages, at least) a campaign — say, Russ Feingold’s –that didn’t have a super PAC. And if bloated campaigns and daily staged “messaging” were the keys to electoral success, Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee (and Chris Lehane would be David Plouffe).

Maybe when it’s all over Parker and Haberman can write a long magazine takeout complaining that modern campaigns are too fake and dependent on donations. …


** — I noticed this attitude when I ran for Senate — various kibbitzers would snicker if you didn’t end every ad or leaflet with the precise correct campaign disclosure, in the precise mandatory size font, as if ability to comply with unnecessarily complex and arguably unconstitutional rules were the main test of seriousness  (and voters couldn’t be relied on to assume that a leaflet saying, say,  “Vote for Kaus” came from Kaus).