For the second time this year, Donald Trump is tossing out the old wood and putting in good wood, John Goodman-style. Trump let campaign manager Corey Lewandowski go shortly before the end of the primaries, replacing him with Paul Manafort and triggering rumors of a “presidential pivot.” That pivot never really materialized, though, and Trump has found himself struggling against a tidal wave of negative media coverage since the Republican National Convention. That coverage has been inane, painfully biased, and shameful…but Trump hasn’t helped matters. Missteps like the “feud” with the Muslim Gold Star family and the Russian email joke could have easily been avoided. None of that is going to bother the die-hards, but here’s what else they aren’t going to do: pull in the cross-section of independents and Democrats needed to win.
Now it appears that Manafort is on the outs. While he’s maintaining his official title, Trump has brought in Breitbart chief Stephen Bannon and Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway to take the campaign in a different direction.
“I have known Steve and Kellyanne both for many years,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday. “They are extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win. I believe we’re adding some of the best talents in politics, with the experience and expertise needed to defeat Hillary Clinton in November and continue to share my message and vision to Make America Great Again.”
The Washington Post spoke to two Trump campaign aides who said the candidate was feeling “boxed in” and “controlled” by political strategists he had nothing in common with. The aides said that Trump was ready to get back to the spirit of spontaneous energy that fueled his astounding primary campaign and leave all notions of a “presidential pivot” behind.
“Buckle up,” one Trump strategist texted to the Post.
With Bannon at the helm, anything is possible. At long last, we have a true merger of conservative, anti-establishment media and Washington politics. Forget about Republican unity; Bannon’s presence in the campaign is undoubtedly sending the collective blood pressure of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Reince Priebus straight through the roof. Breitbart News is mercilessly critical of the Republican establishment and was one of the first conservative websites to get fully behind the Trump phenomenon.
After weeks of bad news, things are starting to look good. A new Zogby poll has Clinton and Trump in a statistical dead heat among likely voters, Trump delivered two powerful speeches this week on Islamic terrorism and domestic policing, and Hillary…well, she’s looking more and more like the Emperor from Return of the Jedi with every passing day.
Our fortunes may be turning around…