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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Presidential Campaign Changes

by Newt Gingrich: Monday’s hot political news was Cory Lewandowski’s departure as manager of the Trump campaign.

The news media focused immediately on the change as if it was a sign of failure by Trump.

In fact, the transition in the Trump campaign was natural and had a clear precedent in the career of the most famous conservative president.

Ronald Reagan’s replacement of John Sears with Bill Casey in 1980 was very similar to what happened this week.

Sears was a widely respected professional who had dominated the Reagan campaign.

Heading into the first primaries, Sears was convinced that Reagan should run above the crowd. In polls, Reagan was clearly the frontrunner. Furthermore, Reagan had almost beaten President Ford in 1976.

Based on these assumptions, Sears kept Reagan from participating in a debate in Iowa. Iowans were unimpressed. As Lyn Nofziger, Reagan’s long-time aide (who Sears had forced out of the campaign) quipped, “Sears wanted to run a Rose Garden strategy, but he didn’t have the Rose Garden”.

Iowa voted for George H. W. Bush in the caucuses and gave Reagan a stinging defeat in a state where his radio career had begun and where he felt very comfortable as a midwesterner.

The Iowa defeat crystallized a discomfort that had been growing for Nancy and Ronnie. They decided that they had to replace Sears.

For two weeks, Reagan drove his own campaign. He knew that New Hampshire voters loved retail, face-to-face politics, so he criss-crossed the state with an aggressive schedule. He also took on both Bush and the moderator in a debate, which contrasted his strength with Bush’s perceived timidity.

On primary day, Reagan dismissed Sears before the results were in. He was confident that he needed a new team leader if he was going to win.

Reagan did not turn to another professional consultant to run the campaign.

Instead, he recruited Bill Casey. Casey was a very successful corporate lawyer. In World War II, he had been a leader in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA) fighting Nazis behind the lines in Europe. He had been chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Casey managed the political consultants who implemented the daily campaign. His great strength was the ability to see the forest and not just the trees. He could keep Reagan focused in the big picture.

Months later, in the August before the general election, the Reagan team hit another rough patch and Casey and Reagan had to spend several weeks getting the campaign focused and stabilized.

Reagan went on to beat President Jimmy Carter in the largest electoral defeat of any incumbent president in American history.

This week, Trump faced a similar challenge to Reagan. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, had been much more successful than John Sears. In fact, any analysis of the current situation has to start with an acknowledgment of the stunning, almost unimaginable, success of the Trump-Lewandowski team.

No candidate before Trump has launched his or her first campaign by beating 16 other candidates (many of them seasoned elected officials).

No other Republican has won as many votes in the primaries as Trump.

No candidate has relied on social media and minimized paid advertising on the scale Trump has achieved.

No candidate but Trump has created issues that resonated with millions of Americans who were desperate for someone authentic with the guts to say what they believe.

In every one of these remarkable achievements, Lewandowski was Trump’s aide and implementer.

Victory in the nomination process, however, forces a profound change in a presidential campaign.

The primaries were state-by-state events that could be managed in sequence with intense focus. The campaign plane could be the center of both deciding and implementing the campaign.

The general election, on the other hand, is a very different challenge.

All fifty states and D.C. are engaged simultaneously.

The Democrats will throw massively greater human and financial resources into the fight.

The news media will shift into a relentlessly anti-Trump attack mode.

The unions, left-wing activist groups and left-wing billionaires will all pile on.

Even on the Republican side, the need to communicate with hundreds of other Republican leaders is overwhelming compared to the primaries.

Lewandowski’s strengths in the nominating process became weaknesses in the general election.

Trump recognized that a bigger, more professional system had to be built.

Like Reagan, he made a difficult and necessary decision. This is a big step toward winning the general election.
Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, commentary, presidential campaigns changes, Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 9:00 AM - Post Link


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