June 20, 2019

"'My whole life is a bet,' the President of the United States says, resting his forearms on the edge of the Resolute desk in the Oval Office."

"It’s a steamy evening in mid-June, and Trump is facing a set of high-stakes tests around the world. Tensions rising with Iran. Tariffs imposed by India. Protesters flooding the streets of Hong Kong. But Trump is confident, ready to joust. He has invited a group of TIME journalists for an interview, blown past the allotted time and settled in for a wide-ranging discussion. Along the way, he orders a Diet Coke with ice with the push of a small red button set into a wooden box on the desk, and directs an aide to fetch a copy of a hand-delivered birthday letter sent from Kim Jong Un...."

So begins the TIME cover story, "‘My Whole Life Is a Bet.’ Inside President Trump’s Gamble on an Untested Re-Election Strategy."



A few tidbits:
A “progressive” will probably win the primary, Trump predicts, running down the competition with evident relish. Joe Biden “is not the same Biden,” he says, adding later, “Where’s the magic?” Kamala Harris, he notes, “has not surged.” Bernie Sanders is “going in the wrong direction.” Elizabeth Warren’s “doing pretty well,” he allows, but Pete Buttigieg “never” had a chance.

Why? “I just don’t feel it,” Trump says. “Politics is all instinct.”...

“We all have our meetings,” the President says. “But I generally do my own thing.” Campaign staff have been hired to follow Trump’s lead, and the President has made it known that when he tweets a new policy or improvises an attack at a rally, everyone had better be ready to follow along. “He blows the hole and everyone runs into the breach,” says an aide....

[Campaign manager Brad] Parscale, a 6 ft. 8 in. former college basketball recruit, sees his role as Trump’s facilitator. “He’s the real campaign manager, the real finance director, the real director of everything,” Parscale says. “My job is to build a team that’s ready to deal with whatever happens.”

More often than not, the President will go off-script, and a campaign official likens Trump’s knack for riling voters to an old night-fishing trick, shining high-power flashlights into the water to draw quarry to the surface. “The United States is a pond. The President is like the lights,” says the official, who requested anonymity to speak candidly. “If he’s not there, there’s no light, fish are deep, I need a really big lure, it’s expensive.” But, the adviser continues, when Trump lights things up with an issue like immigration or trade, it becomes easy to draw prospective voters out....

Jim Messina, who ran President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, says.... “The thing they are not doing, which I think is really odd, is doing any sort of general-election messaging... By this point [in the 2012 election], we were in the Midwest trying to tell the economic-recovery story, which you would kind of expect them to be doing right now. Instead every single thing they’re doing is about the base.”...

[C]ranking the outrage machine for so long may make it hard for voters to hear a subtler frequency.... In his position, most incumbents would appeal for four more years by pledging to unite the country. Casting this approach aside makes him “historically unusual” for an incumbent President, says Timothy Naftali, former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. “He basically wants to beat the house, politically, again.” Whether he wins his bet or not, Trump’s campaign will test the power of outrage. 
So, let's see... people who obviously don't want Trump to win — TIME reporters, Obama's old campaign manager... — are warning him he's got the wrong strategy. He needs to tone it done. Be more subtle. Stop being so Trump-y.

48 comments:

Roger Sweeny said...

It seems Trump is basing everything on "outrage". Good thing none of the Democrats are.

rehajm said...

When did they interview Trump and Messina for this story? 2016?

I recognized all the riffs.

rehajm said...

People who don't want him to win are warning him he's got the wrong strategy. Wasn't that the plot of the first few seasons of American Idol?

Trump is a reality show alum, too.

Kay said...

More often than not, the President will go off-script, and a campaign official likens Trump’s knack for riling voters to an old night-fishing trick, shining high-power flashlights into the water to draw quarry to the surface. “The United States is a pond. The President is like the lights,” says the official, who requested anonymity to speak candidly. “If he’s not there, there’s no light, fish are deep, I need a really big lure, it’s expensive.” But, the adviser continues, when Trump lights things up with an issue like immigration or trade, it becomes easy to draw prospective voters out....

Really like this analogy.

rehajm said...

My whole life is a bet

Some bettors are Holzhauers.

Kevin said...

Trump is giving long interviews and talking about the election to move the media off the Mueller report and impeachment theater.

This turns Nancy and Chuck into a side show.

The time to impeach is now, and he’s calling their bluff.

MikeR said...

Seems like he's doing the right things. Don't know if there are any of the American people prepared to listen any more.
Once the Democrats pick some insane socialist, maybe it will be possible to force the median American to deal with a real choice: I know you don't like Trump's style. But right now the economy is doing very well. It's quite possible to totally wreck that, if that's what you want.

holdfast said...

Honestly, I am shocked that whatever is left of Time Magazine still employs so many journ-o-lists that they can be described as “a group”.

Do we think that “group” includes the 18 year old unpaid interns who write listicles?

Ignorance is Bliss said...


Along the way, he orders a Diet Coke with ice with the push of a small red button set into a wooden box on the desk



William said...

That's a flattering picture. You don't see that very often. Betcha the conditions of the interview were that there be a cover photo and that Trump have prior approval.

wildswan said...

In relation to Trump, people are shifting as if on a sliding bar like the ones in Picasa which change the overall color, shading from blue to red. So when Trump holds a rally it means different things to different supporters - the base, converted Republicans, semi-converted GOPe, semi-converted independents, the semi-converted Never Trumpers, the unconverted Never-Trumpers-Not-Supporting Democrats. The base enjoys the fun and updates on upcoming themes, the semi-converted hear Trump's position laid out in full possibly for the first time, the unconverted-but-not-Democrats pick out what they are going to accept and run with. But wherever people are, that isn't where they were or will be except maybe the earliest members of the base. And Trump is slowly shifting also, going more conservative in some ways but still trying to pull all Americans into an understanding of how his stands help all Americans. Even FakeNews lives off his ratings and click bait value.

Jerry said...

Sister-in-law REALLY detests Trump. Says there's no way in hell she'll vote for him in 2020.

But she doesn't think either Bernie or Biden can win. (For the record, she LOVED Obama before he was elected, then changed her tune. She happily talked down Bush - but wouldn't talk about Obama after about three months. I'm not sure she voted for him in '12 - but she wouldn't have voted for Romney.)

I'm thinking - I don't HAVE to like Trump. He isn't playing the 'Proper, Dignified' President we're used to - but that's a good thing. If he's doing what I think is a good job - and he is - then I've got a choice. I can go with someone who I think will do a bad job (Biden or Bernie) who will be 'approved' as a 'properly Presidential' candidate - or stick with Trump who the 'right' people don't think is comporting himself in a properly presidential manner.

Results matter. That's something our political class has forgotten. For them, crafting promises that'll never be kept or programs that sound good is more important than actually

Trump's providing results - badly needed ones. I'll support him until he goes full-goose bozo - which for all of the screaming by the media I'm not seeing, or until someone else comes along that I think can do better.

But the current crop of Democrats promising Socialism isn't ever going to get into that category.

CJinPA said...

Trump’s campaign will test the power of outrage.

1994 Contract with America = Anger
2010 Tea Party = Anger
2016 Trump = Anger

Whenever voters do something they weren't supposed to do, this is the media script Every. Damn. Time. "The Good Side is passionate, the Bad Side is angry."

Because "HE'S PUTTING FAMILIES INTO CONCENTRATION CAMPS AT THE BORDER" is not a product of cynical outrage. It's passion.

iowan2 said...

The quote from Obama's campaign rep, is so transparent. Obama had to message an improving economy, very early in the campaign, because the voters had no way to know the economy was improving, especially 16 months from voting. President Trump has no need to message anything 16 months from voting.
As already noted, opining that the President is getting it wrong, is a hoot.

I've been digesting the response to President Trumps Florida campaign kickoff event.
Distilled to its essence, it cannot be argued that President Trump is running to elect the people of the United Stated to another 4 years in power.

That is the message. President Trump is nothing but a conduit, actualizing the will of the people.

readering said...

I don't think the quoted people are trying to influence Trump. Unless they just emerged from a long stay in a hermitage.

readering said...

Photo needs a little more gold.

Leland said...

I said it yesterday, before Time had to tell me. Trump's real campaign begins once the Democrats decide the opponent. His strategy until then is as simple as last time. He will visit those states progressives refer to as "fly over" and simply remind those states what progressives think of them. That should assure another electoral college win. Later in the campaign, he will work on the popular vote to help regain the House.

Jeff Weimer said...

“The thing they are not doing, which I think is really odd, is doing any sort of general-election messaging... By this point [in the 2012 election], we were in the Midwest trying to tell the economic-recovery story, which you would kind of expect them to be doing right now. Instead every single thing they’re doing is about the base.”

Because, Jim, you had to sell that tepid "recovery story" early as damage control because it really wasn't evident like it is now. You still had over 8% unemployment at that time.

M Jordan said...

I really, really like this “My entire life’s a bet” line. Trump tosses out the “experts”, the bean-counters, the media as if they were peanut shells on the floor of a Texas Roadhouse. Trump has been the only person to take on the Moneyball approach to everything ...and win. He is the triumph of intuition over reason, at least over stale, cowardly reason.

I feel privileged to have witnessed this moment in history.

readering said...

May you continue to live in interesting times!

Leland said...

I like Jerry's comment above. I see no reason to have to like any President. Indeed, I want a President and Congress that is so inconsequential in my life that I don't need to have any emotion for them. Until that day, I'll make my decision based on results.

I was unemployed for a time during the Obama Administration. I now make double my income from 5 years ago. The Fed just decided not to raise the prime rate because inflation is in check despite growing wages, and much of that is because of lowering cost of imports. Finally, two oil tankers get attacked in the Persian Gulf, and it's hardly a story in the US because we no longer depend on oil imports.

If you want your student loans paid off, then get a job like everyone did before you when they had debt.

Birches said...

That cover is Boss. I'm surprised TIME would put on such a flattering picture. Maybe the press realizes they need Trump to kick around for 4 more years.

Michael K said...

He really did run the 2016 campaign. I read Lewandowski's book. He's learned a lot. He's learned what weasels most of the DC establishment is. The Senate has concentrated on judges, which is important to all of us, but has pretty much ignored staffing his administration. The fact that things are going well suggests that 75% of DC bureaucrats are disposable. Send EPA to Detroit. The hysteria about a small section of Agriculture being moved is a tell.

narciso said...

Someone was saying something:

https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/06/germany-strong-evidence-iran-carried-out-tanker-attacks/

Sebastian said...

"when Trump lights things up with an issue like immigration or trade, it becomes easy to draw prospective voters out"

Imagine that! Focus on issues actual voters care about, and you "draw them out"! It's almost like immigration and trade are more important than reparations.

Of course, Trump now has a new issue: the coup attempt. Time for the Althouses to make up their mind: do women's bodies and abortion trump the abuse of governmental power and the attempt to overturn the prior election?

n.n said...

Life is an exercise in risk management.

rightguy said...

President Trump : “Politics is all instinct.”

So is leadership. Things move fast and you don't always have time to consider all alternatives. You've got to have good instincts and you've got to trust them.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My whole life is a bet.

The difference between a person who takes life and lives it with passion and purpose and a person who passively waits for things to happen to him.

Some people are willing to take chances. Willing to make things happen. Take that leap of faith.

Others would rather not and prefer to be guided by others and kept safe. Willing to give up some freedoms for that safety. Would never take a leap of faith.

The entrepreneurs, inventors, explorers, heroes on the battlefields are the risk takers. Everyone can't be that way, but without them, we would still be sitting in the jungles sheltering ourselves from the rain with leaves.

We NEED the risk takers who are willing to take that bet.

narciso said...

Just ignore old joe:

https://mobile.twitter.com/alimhaider/status/1141540475796643842

The Drill SGT said...

an Untested Re-Election Strategy."

How exactly, given term limits, can one test a re-election strategy for POTUS?

You only do it once...

walter said...

narciso,
From that link,I like Bumbling Biden better than Sleepy Joe.

Michael K said...

We NEED the risk takers who are willing to take that bet.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as ‘bad luck’.”

– Robert A. Heinlein

narciso said...


One might look at it as prejudice, it was just such behavior that the Serbs remembered at the hands of the ustachi and handzchar



https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/06/what-was-mueller-up-to-his-victims-speak.php

elkh1 said...

The constantly outraged anti-Trumpers were outraged that Trump's campaign would test the power of outrage.

elkh1 said...

Blogger William said...

That's a flattering picture. You don't see that very often. Betcha the conditions of the interview were that there be a cover photo and that Trump have prior approval.

6/20/19, 7:53 AM

Bet they were afraid that Trump would tweet an unflattering light on them if they had done otherwise.

narayanan said...

http://www.johnmccaskey.com/rawls/

interesting comparison of Rand vs Rawls.

... For Rawls, we need to protect ourselves from people who would act rationally. For Rand, we need to protect ourselves from people who would act irrationally...

Trump comes across to me as on the Rand side.
Democrats and GOPe are on the Rawls side.

Robert Cook said...

"The entrepreneurs, inventors, explorers, heroes on the battlefields are the risk takers."

How could you leave out the con men?

rehajm said...

I’ve always had trouble with that Heinlein quote. Not for what Heinlein was saying but because every asshole opposed in the way Heinlein describes believed they were a misunderstood genius when most of them were just stupid assholes.

Michael K said...

How could you leave out the con men?

Says the Socialist. Antonio Gramsci is your hero. Stop that Bourgeoisie common sense !

Drago said...

Looks like Hunter Biden decided to have another affair with some gal while having an affair with his sister-in-law after dumping his wife. No doubt while he was coked up.

readering hardest hit.

Roy Lofquist said...

Time for a Golden Oldie.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

Gary said...

He is a lying narcissistic conman who never held public office and whose one talent is self-promotion. What could go wrong?

Gary said...

For all those who say the economy is doing well can you point to when Trump took over? Answer: it is when the unemployment declines slowed and is now bumpy.

https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000


Michael K said...

Blogger Gary said...
He is a lying narcissistic conman who never held public office and whose one talent is self-promotion. What could go wrong?


Have we been so tough on Chuck that he adopted a new moniker ?

Gk1 said...

It's an unusually positive Ime cover. You don't see many of those for a republican president very often. Time magazine amazes me how small and thin its gotten, like a local t.v guide back when they used to put them in newspapers. Its like a celebrity deathwatch when you see publications like this whither away. I guess thats what happens when you decide to write articles for only 1/2 of the country. Sad!

Chuck said...

As "Trump Nation" author (and the target of one of Trump's many failed lawsuits) Tim O'Brien notes, this is the second "Trump as gambler" TIME cover:

https://twitter.com/TimOBrien/status/1141813186884186113

Michael K said...

Poor Chuck. Whining again .

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