For as long as anyone can remember, Steve Bannon has built his brand around the narrative that he’s always winning at all times no matter what. Right wing media has always helped Bannon sell that narrative, because he’s one of their kind. Mainstream media has often helped Bannon sell the narrative that he’s winning as well, because the notion of someone like Bannon being invincible is scary enough to keep mainstream viewers tuned in.
But in reality, Bannon has been on a losing streak for years. He lost Breitbart. He lost the Mercers. He somehow lost a job at the Trump White House. Even when the cards line up for him, he has a tendency to end up blowing it, because he’s bought into his own hype and believes he’s invincible.
There’s a reason the January 6th Committee started off by subpoenaing Steve Bannon. The committee knew he wasn’t going to comply, not only because he has to worry about incriminating himself in broader investigations into his criminal behavior, and because he couldn’t resist the opportunity to prove to his base that he could outsmart the committee.
Sure enough, Bannon took the bait, and the committee was quickly able to get the DOJ to criminally indict him for contempt. Bannon seemed certain he was going to find a way to get the charges thrown out, or keep the court from being able to seat a jury, or pull another rabbit out of his hat. Instead, Bannon’s criminal trial was merely a reminder of how little the courts are impressed by Bannon’s two bit antics.
Now that Bannon has been convicted and is on his way to a prison sentence, he’s continuing to publicly insist that he’s still somehow secretly winning, and that this is all part of his master plan. But aside from those who are truly drunk on the bluster koolaid, a whole lot of other people around Donald Trump have got to be looking at how badly Bannon failed in court, and reevaluating their own situations.
Bannon, who will likely end up facing more serious criminal charges at some point, could make most or all of this go away right now simply by cutting a cooperation deal that delivers Donald Trump to the DOJ. He’s surely too arrogant to accept that he needs to take such a deal. But that deal is also available to just about everyone else in Trump world who has criminal liability and is just sitting around hoping not to be indicted.
We’ll see who, if anyone, within Trump world takes the Bannon trial conviction as a wakeup call and decides to cut a cooperation deal. Donald Trump convinced his underlings, henchmen, and co-conspirators that what just happened to Steve Bannon could never happen to any of them – and yet they all just watched it happen. Will this “Bannon effect” break the spell for some of them and get them to realize that they’re better off cutting a cooperation deal sooner rather than later? Stay tuned.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report