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Trump Takes a Page From Saul Alinsky

Image: Trump Takes a Page From Saul Alinsky

By    |   Sunday, 21 Feb 2016 10:07 AM

In an ironic way, Donald Trump can thank the Pope for padding his margin of victory in South Carolina last night. Trump’s forceful response to the Pope’s over-the-top criticism energized his supporters and allowed him, once again, to dominate the news cycle in the last days of the campaign.

Yet while Trump’s energy and vigor are second to none — he is without a doubt his own one-man rapid response team. One might observe that Trump’s tough tactics are reminiscent of another tough operator from the past: the late Saul Alinsky. Alinsky was proponent of hardball politics.

To this day Alinsky is adored by the left, and he counts as his disciples both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
 
Now I have no idea if Trump has ever read Alinsky’s 1971 book, "Rules for Radicals," but I have observed that there are similarities in their strategies and tactics.
 
Let’s consider the parallels between Alinsky’s “Rules” and Trump’s winning ways.

Here are just a few of Alinsky’s 13 rules:
  • The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that  maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is unceasing pressure that results in the in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.
  • Keep the pressure on. Never let up. Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance.
  • Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating; it also works as key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
  • Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.
  • Power is derived from two main sources — money and people.
  • Have nots must build power from flesh and blood.
  • Whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy.
  • A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
  • Don’t become old news.
Since June when Trump announced his candidacy, he has dominated the news, driven the debate and pushed the issue agenda. And what has been the response of Mr. Trump’s opponents?

Time after time they have been caught off guard and flat-footed. They have been forced to defend, and we all know the adage: When you’re defending, your losing.

One by one those who have taken on Trump and decried his tactics have gone by the wayside and are no longer in the race.

He watched both McCain and Romney play by “country club rules” and he understood instinctively that wasn’t a winning formula.

So he maneuvered according to circumstance. He adjusted. He counterpunched. He left no attack unanswered. And when Trump attacked it was relentless.

Repetition was his friend. And he is a bare-knuckles fighter.

At times it’s brutal. But let’s be clear — it’s been effective. And in the general election it may be the only way to defeat the left.

Marc Rotterman is a political consultant who worked on the Ronald Reagan campaign in 1980 and in the Reagan administration from 1981 to 1984. He is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C., and a former member of the board of the American Conservative Union.

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One might observe that Trump’s tough tactics are reminiscent of another tough operator from the past: the late Saul Alinsky.
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2016-07-21
Sunday, 21 Feb 2016 10:07 AM
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