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Sunday, July 2, 2023



In a shocking turn of events, it has been revealed that former President Donald Trump's infamous culture war strategy was nothing more than a ploy to sell more MAGA hats.

Sources close to the former President have confirmed that Trump never actually cared about immigration reform, minority outreach, or any of the other issues he claimed to champion during his campaigns. Instead, he saw these hot-button topics as a way to stir up controversy, generate media attention, and ultimately sell more merchandise.

"Donald always said that politics was just a game to him," said one former aide. "He didn't really care about winning or losing. He just wanted to make money and have fun."

According to insiders, Trump's team would carefully craft his tweets and speeches to appeal to his base and provoke his opponents. They would then sit back and watch as the media and social media exploded with outrage and counter-outrage.

"It was like watching a reality show," said another source. "Except the stakes were much higher."

But while Trump's culture war strategy may have been a cynical ploy, it was also undeniably effective. His rallies were filled with fans wearing MAGA hats and other merchandise, and his online store sold millions of dollars worth of gear.

"Donald was always a master marketer," said a former business associate. "He knew how to create a brand and sell it to people. And the MAGA brand was one of his greatest successes."

Of course, not everyone is amused by this revelation. Many of Trump's supporters feel betrayed by the news that their hero was more interested in making money than making America great again.

"He lied to us," said one disillusioned fan. "I thought he really cared about the issues. But now I see that it was all just a con."

Others, however, are taking a more lighthearted approach.

"Hey, at least we got some cool hats out of it," said one supporter. "And who knows? Maybe they'll be worth something someday."

As for Trump himself, he has yet to comment on the allegations. But his silence speaks volumes. After all, why defend a strategy that was never meant to be taken seriously in the first place?

In the end, perhaps the joke is on all of us. We thought we were witnessing a battle for the soul of America, when all we were really witnessing was a savvy businessman selling hats.


CULTURE WAR: In German, Kulturkampf, a term coined by Rudolf Virchow, refers to the clash between cultural and religious groups in the campaign from 1871 to 1878 under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of the German Empire against the influence of the Catholic Church.

There is not a single group or organization that recommended the culture war strategy for the Republican Party, but rather a trend among some conservative politicians and media personalities to focus on cultural issues that appeal to their base and generate outrage. Some examples of these issues are voting rights, race education, abortion, trans rights, and "woke" politics¹²⁴. Some potential 2024 presidential contenders, such as Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, have also adopted a populist stance against corporate America². However, not all Republicans agree with this approach, and some argue that the party should return to its traditional values of low taxes, limited government, and national security². The effectiveness of the culture war strategy is also debatable, as some polls suggest that social liberals now outnumber social conservatives in the US³. I hope this helps you learn more about the topic.

Bing, 7/2/2023

(1) There Is A Culture War – And The GOP Is Waging It - HuffPost.

(2) GOP wrestles with role of culture wars in party’s future.

(3) Why Republicans Are Turning the Midterms Into a Culture War.

(4) Republicans Trounced In Culture War As Social Liberals Now Outnumber ....

(5) Republicans aim to sow outrage, Trump-style, with an eye on 2022 ....

The main think tank that did an autopsy on the 2012 Republican loss was the **Republican National Committee (RNC)** itself, which commissioned a report called the **"Growth and Opportunity Project"**¹². The report was authored by five project co-chairs: Henry Barbour, Sally Bradshaw, Ari Fleischer, Zori Fonalledas, and Glenn McCall¹². The report analyzed the reasons for Mitt Romney's defeat and made recommendations for improving the party's outreach, messaging, data, digital, and primary process¹². However, the report was largely ignored or rejected by many Republicans, especially after Donald Trump's rise to power in 2016, which contradicted many of the report's findings and suggestions³. Some Republicans have argued that the report was too focused on demographics and tactics, rather than policies and principles³. I hope this helps you learn more about the topic.

 Bing, 7/2/2023

(1) RNC Completes 'Autopsy' on 2012 Loss, Calls for Inclusion Not Policy ....

(2) 6 Big Takeaways From The RNC’s Incredible 2012 Autopsy.

(3) Trump kills GOP autopsy - POLITICO.

Some of the recommendations in the report are:

  • - **Embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform** to appeal to Hispanic voters and other immigrants¹³.
  • - **Campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans** and demonstrate that the party cares about them, as well as recruit more candidates from minority communities¹³.
  • - **Hire paid outreach staffers** across the country to engage with diverse voters and communities in a $10 million effort¹³.
  • - **Improve the party's messaging** to be more positive, inclusive, and respectful of different perspectives, and avoid being seen as \"out of touch\" or \"scary\"¹³.
  • - **Invest in data and digital** to better target and communicate with voters, especially young and tech-savvy ones¹³.
  • - **Shorten the primary process** with fewer debates and an earlier convention, to avoid damaging the eventual nominee and wasting resources¹³.
  • - **Strengthen the state parties** by providing more funding, training, and support for local campaigns and grassroots efforts¹³.

These are some of the main recommendations in the report, but there are many more details and suggestions in the full document, which you can read here¹.

Bing, 7/2/2023

(1) Growth & opportunity project - The Wall Street Journal.

(2) RNC Completes 'Autopsy' on 2012 Loss, Calls for Inclusion Not Policy ....

(3) Republican National Committee's 'Growth and Opportunity Project' Report ....

(4) 10 Strategies to Effectively Promote Your Professional Growth.

The Republican Party did not follow all of the recommendations in the report, and in some cases, did the opposite. For example:

  • - The party did not embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform, but instead supported stricter border security and enforcement measures, especially under the Trump administration²⁴.
  • - The party did not campaign effectively among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans, but instead alienated many of them with divisive rhetoric and policies on issues such as race, immigration, health care, and LGBT rights²⁴⁵.
  • - The party did not improve its messaging to be more positive, inclusive, and respectful of different perspectives, but instead embraced a populist and nationalist tone that appealed to its core base but turned off many moderates and independents²⁴.
  • - The party did not shorten the primary process with fewer debates and an earlier convention, but instead had a prolonged and chaotic primary season in 2016 that featured 12 debates and a contested convention²⁴.

However, the party did follow some of the recommendations in the report, such as:

  • - Investing in data and digital to better target and communicate with voters, especially young and tech-savvy ones²³.
  • - Strengthening the state parties by providing more funding, training, and support for local campaigns and grassroots efforts²³.
  • - Promoting Republican governors as examples of effective leadership and policy innovation²³.

Overall, the report's impact was limited by the rise of Donald Trump, who defied many of the report's findings and suggestions and reshaped the party in his image²⁴. Some Republicans have argued that the report was too focused on demographics and tactics, rather than policies and principles⁴. Others have called for a new autopsy after Trump's loss in 2020².

Bing, 7/2/2023

(1) Growth & Opportunity Project - Wikipedia.

(2) GOP growth and opportunity? Not - POLITICO.

(3) GOP Growth and Opportunity Project: Report Proves Republicans Are Divided.

(4) Republican National Committee's Growth and Opportunity Project report ....

(5) Growth & opportunity project - The Wall Street Journal.

Trump's 2016 and 2020 election strategies were formulated by different people groups and organizations, but they had some common elements. Some of them are:

  • - **Trump's campaign team**, which included various advisers, managers, consultants, and surrogates who helped shape his message, strategy, and operations. In 2016, some of the key figures were Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, and Brad Parscale³. In 2020, some of the key figures were Bill Stepien, Jason Miller, Hope Hicks, David Bossie, and Rudy Giuliani³.
  • - **Trump's media allies**, which included various conservative outlets, personalities, and platforms that amplified his voice, defended his actions, and attacked his opponents. In both 2016 and 2020, some of the main media allies were Fox News, Breitbart News, Newsmax, OAN, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, and Dan Bongino³⁴.
  • - **Trump's base supporters**, which included various groups and organizations that rallied behind his agenda, mobilized voters, and organized events. In both 2016 and 2020, some of the main base supporters were evangelical Christians, white nationalists, Tea Party activists, QAnon followers, Proud Boys, NRA members, and MAGA hat wearers³⁴.

Some of the common elements of Trump's 2016 and 2020 election strategies were:

  • - **Making the Democratic nominee unpopular**, by using negative ads, personal attacks, nicknames, and conspiracy theories to paint them as corrupt, radical, weak, or unfit for office. In 2016, Trump targeted Hillary Clinton with slogans like \"Crooked Hillary\", \"Lock her up\", and \"What happened in Benghazi?\"¹⁴. In 2020, Trump targeted Joe Biden with slogans like \"Sleepy Joe\", \"Where's Hunter?\", and \"Stop the steal\"¹⁴.
  • - **Banking on an electoral college/popular vote split**, by focusing on a few swing states that could deliver him enough electoral votes to win the presidency even if he lost the popular vote nationwide. In 2016, Trump won by flipping Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania from blue to red by narrow margins¹⁴. In 2020, Trump tried to repeat this strategy by holding rallies in these states and others like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada²⁴.
  • - **Using a campaign of racial resentment**, by appealing to the fears and grievances of white voters who felt threatened by demographic changes, social movements, immigration policies, and cultural diversity. In both 2016 and 2020, Trump used rhetoric and actions that stoked racial tensions and inflamed his base. Some examples are his calls for a border wall with Mexico; his travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries; his response to the Charlottesville rally; his attacks on NFL players who knelt during the national anthem; his handling of the coronavirus pandemic; his criticism of Black Lives Matter protests; his promotion of \"law and order\"; his refusal to condemn white supremacists; and his allegations of voter fraud in urban areas¹⁴.

These are some of the people groups or organizations that formulated Trump's 2016 and 2020 election strategies and some of the common elements of those strategies.

Bing, 7/2/2023

(1) Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign - Wikipedia.

(2) 2020 election: How Trump reelection strategy could work - CNN.

(3) How exit polls shifted in 2016 and 2020 - CNN.

(4) Trump’s come-from-behind strategy: Go everywhere, fast.


  • Donald Trump: As the primary figure and leader of his political campaign and presidency, Donald Trump played a significant role in shaping and promoting his political strategy, including the culture war narrative.
  • Campaign Staff: Trump's campaign staff and advisors, such as Steve Bannon, Corey Lewandowski, and Kellyanne Conway, were influential in shaping his political messaging and strategy during the 2016 election.
  • Super PACs (Political Action Committees): Super PACs are independent political organizations that can raise unlimited funds to support or oppose candidates. During Trump's campaigns, various super PACs, such as "Make America Great Again PAC" and "Great America PAC," emerged to support his candidacy. These organizations mobilized resources and promoted his campaign message.
  • Republican Party: The Republican National Committee (RNC) and other party-related organizations supported Trump's campaign and contributed to the overall strategy. The party's infrastructure, data analytics, and funding networks played a role in shaping the messaging and targeting of the campaign.
  • Conservative Media: Conservative media outlets and personalities, such as Fox News, Breitbart, and talk radio hosts like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, provided significant coverage and support to Trump's campaign. Their influence and messaging aligned with Trump's culture war narrative, amplifying his message to a broad audience.
  • Think Tanks and Foundations: Various conservative-leaning think tanks and foundations generate policy ideas and research that can inform political strategies. Although it's challenging to attribute the culture war strategy directly to any specific think tank or foundation, organizations like The Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute, among others, have been influential in shaping conservative policies and narratives.
  • Grassroots Movements: Trump's campaign tapped into existing grassroots movements, such as the Tea Party movement and anti-establishment sentiment. These movements, with their own networks and influencers, provided a base of support for Trump's culture war messaging.