That didn’t take long. Just hours after Donald Trump fired his longtime White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, it turns out Bannon is already officially back in charge of his white supremacist propaganda website Breitbart. That’s not a surprise, as Bannon never really stopped running the site while he was in the White House. But now Bannon has quickly made his intentions clear toward Donald Trump, declaring that Trump’s presidency is “over.”
Steve Bannon has told conservative site The Weekly Standard that “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over” (link). In so doing, he’s signaling his intention to use Breitbart to steer Donald Trump’s core base away from him. Bannon is also talking out of both sides of his mouth, telling CNBC that he’s “going to war for Trump” (link). But one way or another, we’ll now see Trump’s base forced to pick sides. It’s a dicey proposition for both Bannon and Trump, who each have plenty to lose by going to war with each other.
Breitbart risks losing any portion of its alt-crazy audience that decides it wants to keep believing in the Donald Trump regime. The site has gotten plenty of free exposure thanks to Bannon’s gig running the Trump campaign and then essentially running Trump’s White House. But now the battle lines are being drawn. And it comes at a time when Trump – who is more vulnerable than ever – risks losing everything.
Donald Trump’s approval rating has dropped all the way to the mid-to-low thirties. Perhaps half of that is his core base, with the other half of his support coming from casual supporters outside his base. Trump has been quietly but steadily losing his casual supporters since taking office, resulting in a drop of around ten points from his approval rating. But if Steve Bannon and Breitbart are able to turn a portion of Trump’s core base against him, his popularity could swiftly plummet into the twenties – at which point the GOP would calculate it can gain more by turning against him than by propping him up.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report