Trump is running an Insurgency not a Campaign

John Robb

Trump is trouncing the competition. He’s doing so well that the prediction systems give him a 81% chance of winning the nomination — despite the opposition of the entire Republican establishment.

What’s most surprising to many pundits and analysts is that Trump has done this without presenting all of the detail plans, voluminous position papers, etc. that we’ve come to expect over the last couple of decades.

He has simply refused to play by those rules, and he’s not paid a price for it.

Trump is able to pull this off because he’s not running a political campaign. Instead, he’s running an insurgency.

Not only that, it’s a very specific type of insurgency. A type of insurgency so effective, it held the US at bay in Iraq for years, drove oil prices to $147 a barrel in 2007, and toppled governments in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Libya.

This means he is playing by very different rules than his competitors. Let me walk you through an example of what I mean by that.

Candidates typically take positions on a range of issues. These issues serve as a means of attracting a coalition of voters energized by these issues. An open source insurgency works differently. It forms around a single idea. In Trump’s insurgency, the central idea is seen in a tweet he made on the 29th of February:

It’s a simple promise. It says: I’ll Represent You and Your Needs as President

That’s it. It might not seem revolutionary, but in a country where big money owns the political system, the middle class is being shredded, and politicians are afraid of offending anyone, this is a big deal.

With this promise in hand, Trump executed on the second important step in open source insurgency. He demonstrated that this promise was plausible. He’s won again and again. Growing with each win.

This explains why:

  • Trump doesn’t take policy positions on the small issues most campaigns are built on. Those positions would only divide his insurgency.
  • Trump will ONLY talk about corruption, hypocrisy, underhandedness etc. of the people opposing him.
  • Trump gains ground when he is attacked by the media, the corrupt, and special interests. These attacks demonstrate his devotion to the promise of his campaign.

Regardless of what you think about this, his insurgency is effective… note turnout in South Carolina in 2016.

This suggests that Trump’s insurgency also has the capacity to take the White House this fall.

Have fun,

John Robb

PS: I’ve written quite a bit about open source movements and systems disruption over the years. Check out my decade old blog, Global Guerrillas, for more.

John Robb

Written by

John Robb

Principal Analyst at the Global Guerrillas Report: (reader supported) Featured in WSJ, NYTimes, Economist, CNBC, Fox, BBC…

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