Donald Trump’s scruffy former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, still hovers around this presidency like a hooded, unhallowed presence. The reporter who followed the two men’s partnership from the beginning, Josh Green, has written a new book. Its title, Devil’s Bargain, says it all.
The rise of Bannon to CEO of Trump’s wilting presidential campaign in 2016 was shocking. Amazon described the man as:
‘A bomb-throwing pugilist who’d never run a campaign and was despised by Democrats and Republicans alike.’
Still, Bannon managed to smooth the way for Trump’s surprising victory. Suddenly, 45 was the face of the dark, powerful view of a significant number of Americans. The real estate mogul got their anger and used it to fuel him to the top.
‘Devil’s Bargain is a tour-de-force telling of the remarkable confluence of circumstances that decided the election, many of them orchestrated by Bannon and his allies, who really did plot a vast, right-wing conspiracy to stop Clinton. To understand Trump’s extraordinary rise and Clinton’s fall, you have to weave Trump’s story together with Bannon’s, or else it doesn’t make sense.’
In an excerpt from Green’s book, POLITICO reported that Bannon was standing ready and able to step into Trump’s place, should the president quit or be impeached:
‘If Trump quit or was impeached, Bannon told friends, it would eliminate the first great champion of Trumpism—but it wouldn’t be a negative judgment on the politics that had swept him into office. In such a scenario, who better to succeed Trump than the man who got him elected? Bannon shared his interest in running for president with only a few close friends, and even they were never quite sure how seriously to take these flights of fancy.’
Bannon should not be underestimated, even after his fall from the commander-in-chief’s good graces. He got the “You’re Fired!” for calling Donald Trump Jr.’s actions treasonous, but that has not stopped him. The chief strategist even came up with a name of a new political party that he would lead to the White House, POLITICO reported:
‘But Bannon had thought hard enough about a path to the White House that he’d even toyed with starting a new political party and settled on a name: the National Union Party. That was the temporary name that Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party had adopted in 1864 to attract War Democrats and Unionists.’
Bannon fueled his rocket with a financial windfall from the billionaire Mercer family:
‘In Bannon’s vision, it would now unite disaffected populists on both ends of the political spectrum. With support from financial benefactors like the Mercer family, he seemed to imagine such a path might be viable, and that a true devotee of right-wing nationalism — rather than a charlatan like Trump—could succeed where his predecessor had failed.’
The former campaign CEO thought Oprah might be Trump’s biggest threat:
‘Bannon thought Oprah might represent an existential threat to Trump’s presidency if she decided to campaign for Democrats in 2018. She’d flip the House and they’d race to impeach him. But the movement was bigger than Oprah.’
However, Bannon might be right about another movement, the “anti-patriarchy movement:”
‘”The anti-patriarchy movement is going to undo ten thousand years of recorded history,” he said. “You watch. The time has come. Women are gonna take charge of society. And they couldn’t juxtapose a better villain than Trump. He is the patriarch. This”—the Golden Globe Awards—”is a definitional moment in the culture. It’ll never be the same going forward.”‘
Featured Image via Getty Images/Joe Raedle.