From the moment that Donald Trump launched his presidential bid in June, 2015, he set a very harsh, racially charged tone which has only become more pronounced and deliberate as his campaign has continued into its newest iteration with Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.
The latest iteration of his campaign no longer even tries to hide connections to the alt right and white supremacy, though it verbally denies them. In bringing on Steve Bannon, the former chief of hard right wing Breitbart News, Trump – probably unbeknownst to him – officially let it be known to the world who his base is and what his campaign is about. After all, he has proudly embraced being called a populist candidate.
Setting aside, the obvious message that Steve Bannon sends to the political world and much of the voting public, his choice for his latest campaign manager tells a lot about her and Trump. Kellyanne Conway has been highly praised by the republican establishment, even after she took the job with Trump’s campaign.
She is referred to as a great strategist; a pollster who really understands the electorate; a seasoned campaigner. And under Conway’s watchful eye, Trump has escalated his offensive rhetoric in many instances, and campaigned in a way that many regard as amateurish, “reaching out” to black voters by speaking to white audiences, campaigning in hopelessly blue – and red – states, struggling to define the cornerstone of his campaign, illegal immigration.
There is little question that Trump is, at best, a buffoon – and not just in politics. He admittedly and demonstrably has very little knowledge about the world in general or any specific subject. After all, it is difficult to find a populist messenger in modern politics who is not a buffoon – it seems to be a requirement. And it makes sense – a populist candidate is necessarily a candidate with no ideas of his own.
One need go no farther than the United Kingdom and no longer back in time than this past summer where a number of know-nothing “leaders” led the UK down a path which is sure to become among the most economically painful in its history. Or how about the populist leader of the Philippines, Eduardo Duterte, another know-nothing populist who was voted into office this year.
The bottom line is that there are three things that have changed about the Trump campaign since the summer days of Paul Manafort: (1) Trump has started reading more from a teleprompter; (2) Steve Bannon has been hired as CEO; and (3) Kellyanne Conway has been hired as Campaign Manager. Other than that, the Trump campaign remains the identical dumpster fire that it was before.
That is not to say that Donald Trump will not ultimately win the election. It is just a plain observation.
Other than that, the new management is the same management that devised a strategy of making an outreach to African Americans to almost exclusively white audiences. The new management is the same management that had to be pulled kicking and screaming into making a couple of token appearances in black neighborhoods. And the new management is the same management that has the candidate campaigning – repeatedly – in states that are not in play – red and blue.
At some point, we have to come to terms with a few unavoidable truths.
1. Kellyanne Conway has not had any meaningful impact on the Trump campaign outside of making TV appearances. The campaign is either going to succeed or fail on the message with which it started. The bottom line is that Trump has had a couple of important components of a winning candidate: he is new to the political scene – as was Barack Obama, and he is screaming about change – as Barack Obama did. The only reason that Trump is struggling in this race is that he is a buffoon and so is his campaign;
2. Kellyanne Conway is one of the bigoted, white nationalist types that are helping bring the fringe, Alt Right, white supremacist movement into the mainstream in America. She started this campaign season as the head of a Ted Cruz super PAC which was almost entirely funded by one of the primary funders of Breitbart News. It is no mistake that she and Steve Bannon became the leaders of the Trump Campaign and on the same day.
3. Donald Trump’s campaign is not about Donald Trump or his personality or goals. That’s by virtue of being a populist. More importantly, however, the Alt Right has found a person who is emotionally and mentally weak enough to be controlled, but who also has enough of a mainstream fame that he has sufficient name recognition. That is the bottom line about Trump and this campaign.
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.