The Lunatic Fringe Just Got A Whole Lot Loonier
There are few people remaining with any idea of what is happening in the real world which operate under the delusion that Donald Trump is not doomed, and he just grabbed two of them. The most entrenched political zealots Trump could find will now be running this imploding media circus he calls a campaign; head honcho for Breitbart, an ultra right-wing conspiracy web site that is currently reporting that the scientific research behind climate change is voodoo cooked up by the NY Times and Hillary Clinton killed Jesus, Steve Bannon, and Ann Coulter wannabe pollster, Kellyanne Conway, whose previous hatred for Trump while working with his vanquished foe, the embattled idiot, Lyin’ Ted Cruz, has been pushed aside for a gig as bailer on a sinking skiff.
Things have just begun to get fun around here.
Man, if you don’t enjoy the splendor of Trump’s (what’s this fourth or fifth) campaign shake-up, you just don’t get why I spend any amount of time doing this weekly. Trump couldn’t have picked a better pair of the most vicious political Rottweilers operating on a fringe/fantasy archipelago of dogmatic rhetoric mixed with jabbering non sequiturs if he fused them in a lab. It is as if they are his evil siblings, no, his clones.
This means, of course, that this stunning tumble in the polls Trump has been experiencing for weeks has convinced him that any person, let that read veteran political strategist, Paul Manafort, who was trying in vain to keep the Trumpster “on message and off Twitter”, is now relegated to the trash heap. It will now be Trump Unhinged backed by a Trekkie-meets-Flat-Earth web site that has spent the past 14 months bolstering his ego against high odds through a grueling primary and a woman who knows where all the bodies are buried.
Beyond the poetic beauty of all this is some down and dirty strategy: Trump knows no one wants the damaged and antiquated crap Republicans have been selling for decades. This is why he deigned to come down that fancy escalator last summer in the first place, and for all intents and purposes began dismantling his “good” name and any scintilla of self respect he might have harbored in the process. Talking points about “smaller government and tax cuts and acting like the answer-man for everything” is all well and good, but so far it has been a monumental bust. These moves are Trump’s way of telling us that this had better be about how much everyone kind of doesn’t really like or want to vote for Hillary Clinton and nothing about him, because the Bannon/Conway connection has made a living eviscerating the other side and less trying to “sell the same old crap Republicans have been selling for the past decades”. In fact, Bannon, no fan of “establishment” Republicans, has openly accused Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of being a con artist and dubbed Republicanism “a failed brand.”
These are the perfect Trump tacticians; a man for whom nothing is beneath him and a woman who did heavy lifting for a snake-oil hack.
And I applaud it.
As stated, and I believe I shall do it again here; Trump never had a real chance at ever being president, just like Bernie Sanders. It took Trump a while to get it, but he is obviously on board with this now, despite his protestations to donors on a conference call this week explaining away flat-lining poll numbers with large crowds at rallies. The Bannon/Conway hail-Mary-last-ditch-grasp-for-straws begins the classic Trump exit strategy. It’s not unlike his moves towards bankruptcy or bailing on a failing venture. He starts by separating himself from the reality of a faltering project, then builds a case against those who he believes (anyone but himself) is to blame, and then scorches the earth with the force of his personality and relentless bombast. If you have lived around New York for any amount of time, especially since the 1980s, you could see this move coming a mile away.
Trump’s “shake-up” is about blowing this thing up, which was always my wish from the second he started polling in the mid-30s around late September last year against a field of same-old-shit. If a Republican is going to lose a national election, which will be the case for at least a generation, then making a mockery of the system is the whole point. And now it will be duly mocked, in the most heinous, sub-mental way. Bannon/Conway will make this a food fight and the way things are going that is good mojo. Go down swinging and cause harm and foul along the way.
Part of this new “strategy” will be for Bannon to devise an escape-route out of the debates for his candidate. It has been my contention, drawing from glaring evidence during the primaries, that Trump has no intention of showing up to all of the scheduled debates and has already begun bitching about television formatting, choice of moderators and other paranoid falderal to lay the groundwork for this. It will be Bannon’s job, for which he is well-trained and uniquely equipped, to claim all-sorts of made-up stuff to accommodate this maneuver and make it look heroic.
Another interesting development in the side-show of Bannon’s tutelage is once Trump goes back to real estate and media whoring this November, the collection of hardliners like FOX’s Sean Hannity (who likely brokered this deal since he has been pushing the Breitbart canard about Clinton being mentally ill for weeks on his Howard Sternesque newsy show) will make a good living keeping their candidate’s 35 or so percent of the party’s base alive and well.
This goofy dream the GOP establishment has of blaming another presidential drubbing on its latest “outsider” candidate for its shortcomings and thus sweeping clean any remnants of this dalliance with celebrity is in for a serious reality check. Bannon, who has worked in tandem for plenty of right-wing efforts to jolt the system in foreign elections through his attack dog web site, is in for the long haul.
A fox is not only in the hen house, it is now running it.
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, “Midnight For Cinderella” and “Y”. and his new book, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon”.