If you’ve followed the Republican race at all, you know by now that Donald Trump is leading in the polls in an unconventional, surprising campaign. He has few definitive positions and has been moving quickly from topic to topic. He has demonstrated a deft ability to attack his opponents in what should be their strengths (Jeb Bush is attacked for his thoughtfulness, now known as “low energy” for example). He clearly has identified concerns in a significant portion of the voting public that conventional candidates aren’t aware of or aren’t willing to address, like immigration.
All of these factors are evidence of Maneuver
Trump is demonstrating a number of the strategies and tactics of Maneuver strategy. Traditional campaigns are all structured the same way, have relatively similar messages and tactics. Trump’s campaign has shocked the traditional campaign consultants and the media. His surprising, unconventional approach has left them flummoxed.
Surprise and unconventional tactics are two hallmarks of maneuver. Remember, we’ve said that maneuver relies on speed, agility, stealth, insight and innovation to win at the least possible cost. Trump has spent less than most major candidates, and has won far more than any other per dollar spent. He is winning the most at the least possible cost.
What’s more, we can see him using speed (getting ahead of issues and starting dialogs that other candidates are forced to address), agility (moving from idea to idea, never getting pinned down or held accountable for his own shifting positions), insight (he clearly identified immigration as the hot topic that many people were worried about, long before other candidates were willing to claim immigration as their own focus).
What Trump is doing is obvious to anyone who studies maneuver, and it’s strange to watch experienced politicians constantly fall into his maneuver traps. When Jeb Bush calls Trump a “jerk”, it’s exactly what Trump wants him to do. When campaign executives feel forced to ramp up spending to match Trump’s airtime that Trump is getting for free on cable news, it’s exactly what Trump wants them to do. He is preempting the political field on key issues and constantly disrupting his competitors’ plans.
You don’t have to like Donald Trump, his plans or his campaigns to admire his use of maneuver tactics.