Trump’s Victory and the Principles of War, Part III

P-51 Mustangs Over Washington D.C., 8 May, 2015; Arsenal of Democracy Flyover

P-51 Mustangs Over Washington D.C., 8 May, 2015; Arsenal of Democracy Flyover

  • This is Part III of my analysis of the 2016 Presidential Election through the lens of the Principles of War:(Definitions of each Principle)

Trumps Victory And The Principles of War: Part I

Trump’s Victory And The Principles of War: Part II

  • Simplicity: The more moving parts a campaign or operation has, the more likely something will break down and compromise the outcome. Donald Trump’s campaign was as simple as it could get, from his message to his operations, and broke the mold on how to wage successful presidential campaigns. Compared to Hilary, and his main GOP primary contenders, Trump spent less money, hired far fewer people in his campaign, and manned far fewer statewide victory offices. Trump did not pull out of campaigning to spend weeks plotting his responses to debate questions, holding mock debates where every possible response could be scripted and poll tested like Hillary did. He relied on simplicity, where he went out and talked directly to the American people, in person and through social media. Trump had only a few key surrogates, like Kelly Ann Conway and Newt Gingrich, who engaged the Minion Media directly, and that kept his message tight and consistent.

Trump relied on key paid campaign staff, volunteers and local GOP Party support for his simple election day operations, and they combined their efforts to defeat what was supposed to be the most vaunted political machine in history. Trump’s faith in his supporters getting out votes for him, was the epitome of Simplicity, and decentralized execution.

Hillary’s campaign was the polar opposite of Trump’s. Her campaign was a big money, high personnel, high spending, “Minion Media” colluding and intimidating effort that failed to see or believe the inroads Trump’s campaign was making in the “Blue Firewall” and traditional democrat voters. Hillary’s message was convoluted, complex, and failed to connect with voters outside of the progressive coasts.

Joint Principals (added post 911):

  • Restraint: Democrats are known for going for the throat, and Hillary was anything but restrained. She claimed the High Road but evidence such as the Wikileaks dump of her campaign manager John Podesta’s emails clearly showed they played dirty, including colluding with the media to get debate questions, and plotting with the DNC on how to rig the primaries against Bernie Sanders. In the general, her claims of racism and bigotry were nothing but a transparent effort to use identity politics to destroy the GOP candidate. Thankfully, Trump did not unduly restrain himself, and Hillary’s campaign had difficulty dealing with him as a result.

The Allies did not win WWII by using restraint. Fire bombings of German cites like Dresden or the bombing of Hiroshima were not example of restraint. Given that, Donald Trumps campaign was not an example of restraint. Previous Republican like McCain and Romney lost because they were grossly restrained. Republican voters were looking for a candidate to take the fight to democrats, and they elected Trump.

  • Perseverance: Trump clearly followed this Principle. He never retreated, never backed down, never slowed down, and never quit despite calls from media pundits through out the campaign that he was just in it for the publicity, to start a media company, as a fake to help Hillary, and other fake news motivations. In addition, Donald Trump was assailed by more negative press, accusations of racism, sexism, Islamophobia and bigotry than any successful candidate ever. Most others would have wilted under the assault, but Trump persevered and won.

Hillary on the other hand showed a lack of perseverance. She was ill, sat out the campaign for days at a time, and held a very light campaign schedule compared to Trumps. She did outlast her illicit home-brew email server scandal, but it eroded her already poor credibility. Hillary’s lifetime of baggage, combined with her server, the Clinton Foundation FBI investigation and the Wikileaks exposure finally did her in.

  • Legitimacy: As far as we know, both campaigns operated within the legal rules. Hillary morally acted outside those bounds by accepting debate questions and engaging in media collusion and DNC favoritism during the primaries. Cries of Trump not accepting potential election results gave way to Hillary and democrats not accepting the actual election results crying (illegitimate Russian intervention). Ironically, America depends upon the peaceful transfer of power from legitimate president to another. Democrats are out to delegitimize Donald Trumps presidency, and risk anarchy in the process.

Trump’s Victory And The Principles Of War, Part II

Trump’s Victory And The Principles of War: Part III

  • Maneuver: The most prominent tactic in the Trump Campaign was his use of massive rallies. Trump crisscrossed the country hitting battle ground state after battle ground state, attending multiple rallies a day, often 7 days a week. He out maneuvered Hillary Clintons lack luster campaign, as she often took numerous days off, and let others campaign for her. Not only did Trump out maneuver Hillary in campaign appearances, he did so on social media, to dramatic effect as well. Trump often appeared on Fox News at night, constantly hammering his message.David Brock himself criticized her campaign by stating the fact that the campaign had no discernable online strategy.

Donald Trumps best use of maneuver was his wildly successful strategy to open up new, once solidly blue, battleground states. Trump was roundly criticized by beltway pundits for wasting his time, money, and energy in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Its clear now that the waste was in the out maneuvered Hillary Campaign.

  • Unity of Command: Donald Trump was clearly in charge of his campaign. If anything, there was constant critique that he didn’t listen to his advisors enough. There were even inaccurate reports that they took his Twitter account away, which would have hampered some other Principles, which relied upon social media. That Unity of Command extended through his campaign advisors, staff and family. Trump exercised that Unity when he replaced Corey Lewandowski, his campaign manager, on 20 Jul despite Corey’s wildly successful performance during the Republican nomination process.

President Obama and numerous other surrogates heavily bolstered Hillary’s campaign by covering for her small and lackluster campaign events. She was missing from the campaign trail for days at a time, and despite her initial boast that as a woman she was best qualified to be president, she called for help from men as it appeared that she was unable to hold her own. Additionally, Hillary effectively outsourced her campaign to the “Minion Media”, relying on them for fawning coverage and leaked debate questions.

Centralized control and decentralized execution are a central component of Unity of Command. Trumps campaign, unlike Romney’s for instance, succeeded because it was decentralized in execution, adaptive and flexible as a result since it relied on local volunteers.

  • Security: Trump frequently spoke during the campaign about the stupidity of broadcasting Americas plans to our enemies, like ISIS, before acting. He understands the importance of Security in running a successful business, and instinctively understands its critical to national security. Trumps campaign never broke this Principle.

The greatest impact of the Principle of Security was Hillary’s gross violation of it. First, Hillary’s violated Security when she exposed National Secrets through her home- brew email server, which haunted her campaign throughout the election. Second, Julian Assange and Wikileaks provided another massive violation of campaign security. Assange released over 50,000 emails from Hillary’s Campaign Manager, John Podesta, and exposed the inner most workings of amount Hillary’s Campaign and how they colluded with the Minion Media. We will never know exactly how damaging these two breaches of Security were, but they most certainly didn’t help her.

  • Surprise: No Principal of War epitomizes the 2016 election more than the Principle of Surprise. To believe the Minion Media, even Trump himself was surprised that he won, which is ridiculous. Certainly the RCP averages did not predict his win, but there was plenty of evidence that Hillary was in a fight from polling to energy in Trumps supporters. Political races are known for October Surprises, and Hillary’s was the Billy Bush tape. The Trump Campaigns surprise was succeeding in his campaign strategy, to turn solid blue states red. He did so in WI, MI, and PN, and Maine’s 2nd Congressional District despite the wizards of smart and Hillary’s Campaign saying that it was folly. According to Hunter Lewis, one of the campaign’s most brilliant examples of surprise, and this could fall under the Principle of Maneuver and Offensive as well, was Trump’s press conference just prior to the second presidential debate.

“With virtually no time either to think or act, the Trump campaign managed to organize a press conference before the debate featuring accusers of Bill Clinton. It got the mainstream media to cover it by heralding it as Trumps reply to the tape, with no mention of the women invited to join him. Once the cameras were already on, and the women filed in, it was too late for the networks to turn them off.”

Trump’s Campaign effectively used “Surprise”, but the effect was amplified because of Hillary’s Campaign the Democrat Party’s hubris.