Donald Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as CEO of his presidential campaign is a clear signal to the so-called Republican Party establishment that he isn’t going to play by their rules, and really doesn’t care if they come along on his quest for the White House.
Bannon is executive chairman of Breitbart News, a haven for conservatives–particularly those who believe in conspiracies–who think Fox News is too polite and restrained. Bannon has made a regular practice of thrashing Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, and other leaders of the party.
Bannon’s appointment is an acknowledgement of the “news” site’s bias after Breitbart threw one of its own reporters under the bus after Trump’s then campaign manager wrestled her to the ground and she brought assault charges (later dismissed). Now all the campaign has to do is find a job for Sean Hannity, Trump’s chief boot licker on Fox.
Bannon’s appointment is also an acknowledgement that the GOP establishment is at best a luke-warm supporter of Trump’s bid. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine recently became the sixth Republican senator to announce she would not vote for Trump, citing his trashing of the Khan family among other transgressions. She was reflecting the view of Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, a former speech writer for Ronald Reagan, who wrote the first week in August was “the week they decided Donald Trump is crazy.”
The same day Collins announced she wouldn’t vote for Trump, 50 former officials who held national-security or foreign-policy positions in Republican administrations announced they wouldn’t support Trump either, expressing particular alarm at his potential control of the nuclear arsenal.
This reluctance to back the party’s nominee is also showing up in fund-raising, where many big bucks Republican donors are apparently sitting on their wallets. The Sacramento Bee reported recently that Trump has raised just $2 million in California, $23 million less than Mitt Romney raised in the Golden State at the same time four years ago.
None of this will help Trump capture the united Republican vote he will need to get elected. His new campaign manager has him sort of pretending to reach out to the black community and soften his position on illegal immigrants, but it’s too late for that. Polls show Trump getting 1 to 2 percent of the black vote and trailing by 48 percent among Hispanics.
But that doesn’t mean he’s toast yet. New revelations practically every day show why Hillary Clinton wanted her own server when she was Secretary of State, making it easier for Trump to stay in the game. After all, Democrats can become disenchanted with Clinton and sit out the election just as easily as Republicans can.
AW, IRONY: Bannon was a deal maker at Goldman Sachs during the Great Crash of 2008, when so many of Trump’s current supporters lost their good-paying blue-collar jobs, their homes, or both. Trump has been railing against Wall Street’s malefactors of wealth , promising to put them in their place if he gets elected.
It would be interesting to know if Bannon was involved in any of the deal that got Goldman Sachs in trouble with the Feds.