Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is incompetent, and Trump has for decades surrounded himself with a legion of yes-men who know better than to question him. So as someone who wants to see him go down in flames, I was ecstatic to read a new interview he gave to the Associated Press.
In the interview, Trump details an electoral strategy that almost assures he will lose and lose big.
Donald Trump, GOP nomination virtually in hand, is planning a general election campaign that banks heavily on his personal appeal and trademark rallies while spurning the kind of sophisticated data operation that was a centerpiece of Barack Obama’s winning White House runs.
“I’ve always felt it was overrated,” Trump said in an interview Tuesday. “Obama got the votes much more so than his data processing machine. And I think the same is true with me.”
While data mining isn’t the end-all and be-all of modern politics, a strong data operation is key to a national presidential campaign. For the last few cycles Democrats have been ahead of Republicans (a GOP initiative on this called Para Bellum Labs appears to be dead in the water), and more importantly – the Democratic presidential candidate bought in.
When she was assembling her campaign team, Secretary Clinton hired many of the data-centric types who engineered President Obama’s victory, along with other folks who understand this is how you win.
Sure, rallies are important for driving the narrative and signing up and activating voters (something by the way, Trump’s operation often failed to do in the GOP primaries), but they don’t mean a whole lot in a national election.
Gigantic rallies didn’t help John Kerry beat George W. Bush, nor did they do much when Sarah Palin’s big rallies in Florida were supposed to help John McCain win (Obama won Florida). Bernie Sanders’ rallies outdrew Clinton in New York, and then she beat him by 16%.
But for an egocentric character like Trump, having an audience of thousands howling your name has been a lifelong dream. If Trump is going to make rallies and not data the centerpiece of his campaign (his personal dirty trickster Roger Stone has said that Trump only recently began using computers and does not trust them for much of his day to day work), it will be yet another facet of basic campaigning that he is terrible at.
Photo via Michael Vardon