The news of the day is that the Donald Trump 2016 presidential run has taken on Steve Bannon to head their campaign.
Steve Bannon is the same guy who is executive chairman of Breitbart, the man who turned that organization away from being a mainstream conservative website to being a full-on vehicle for Trump and for the “Alt Right.” For those who don’t know what that means, as best as I have figured it out the Alt Right describes the nationalist, protectionist, isolationist, white-supremacist, anti-everyone crowd.
Needless to say, mainstream conservatives like Ben Shapiro, who worked for Bannon at Breitbart before quitting over the Michelle Fields fiasco, are appalled. In general, they see the Bannon hire as evidence Trump is going all-in with the Alt Right crowd instead of trying to expand his base – a sure-fire way to lose an election.
Also hired as campaign manager is Kellyanne Conway, which is fine, but she’s not really a professional campaign organizer as far as I can tell — she’s more an established professional pollster, which is different. I guess my main issue is that Trump really needs people who know how to run and organize on the ground and who can mobilize people to get out the vote, James Carville or Ed Rollins types of people. Bannon and Conway know about media and about messaging, which is great, but elections are ultimately won or lost on the ground.
And that’s the problem — Trump’s ground organization looks like a mess. I’m reading reports that Trump doesn’t even have many field offices set up in states he needs to win. Trump needs organization and he needs to start being presidential, but this Bannon hire is an especially bad sign. Pundits see it as a sign that Trump is determined to run a rock-em, sock-em campaign whether Republicans, or voters, like it or not.
Update: Kellyanne Conway went on PBS NewsHour and categorically told Judy Woodruff ‘no’, Trump is not embracing the Alt Right philosophy.