The post-Manafort era, in addition to Kellyanne Conway, has elevated former Breitbart executive director Stephen Bannon to the chairmanship of the Trump presidential campaign.
An enigmatic figure who riled up conservatives and was integral to the success of the Tea Party, Bannon is now at the helm of the most anti-establishment and nationalist presidential campaign in recent history.
The Trump-Bannon partnership is fitting. The media executive who fueled the rise of a xenophobic, anti-establishment GOP base joins the public face of the “destroy the Washington establishment” movement in a final push for the White House.
Mother Jones’ Sarah Posner, who interviewed Bannon at the RNC in July, wrote of the hire: “By bringing on Stephen Bannon, Trump was signaling a wholehearted embrace of the ‘alt-right,’ a once-motley assemblage of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ethno-nationalistic provocateurs who have coalesced behind Trump and curried the GOP nominee’s favor on social media.”
Trump also signaled with Bannon a “wholehearted” rejection of the Republican establishment — and the leaders who wanted a moderated Trump as we arrive at the climax of election 2016.
Bannon’s desire to shake up Washington was put cogently by historian Ronald Radosh, who wrote in The Daily Beast of a conversation he had with Bannon at his D.C. home in 2014.
“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon reportedly told Radosh. “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon declined to comment about the conversation and told Radosh he had no memory of the encounter.
The tactics Bannon has used over the past years at Breitbart are not unlike those used by the Bolsheviks.
John Dickerson, host of ‘Face the Nation,’ spoke to this interpretation of Bannon on Slate’s "Political Gabfest" podcast last Thursday when speaking of the rift between former Breitbart writer Ben Shapiro and Bannon, “Breitbart had become the Pravda of the Trump campaign. Although, as The Wall Street Journal put it [last week], Pravda was more subtle.”
As the foremost anti-establishment media executive now leads the campaign of the most demagogic anti-establishment politician in decades, the stage is set for a colossal media battle.