Stephen Bannon is taking a leave of absence from running Breitbart.com to become chief wrangler of Donald Trump's goat rodeo of a presidential campaign. Bannon is a Harvard MBA who once worked at Goldman Sachs, and got rich off the TV comedy Seinfeld.
As Ken Stern writes in Vanity Fair, even for a presidential campaign that has consistently generated "media tremors," the hiring of Stephen K. Bannon as new campaign C.E.O. for Donald Trump "has to count as a real shock."
Bannon is no dummy, but he's an odd choice to run a political campaign. He has no political experience. He would be perfect, however, as chief producer of a media empire that V.F.'s Sarah Ellison says Trump is planning to launch after the election.
Perhaps launching this media empire was Trump's master plan all along, and the "actually holding office" stuff was never a true goal? Anything's possible, I suppose.
Writes Stern in VF:
On the surface, Bannon at least has the benefit of being politically sympathetic with Trump; Breitbart, under his leadership, after all, has become "Trump Pravda," as one former staffer described it to me. But when I talked with Bannon, he expressed a wariness about the political genuineness of the Trump campaign persona. Trump is a "blunt instrument for us," he told me earlier this summer. "I don't know whether he really gets it or not." It is likely that Bannon's political calculus here, if not Trump's, will be less about winning an election that seems a bit out of hand and more about cementing an American nationalist movement.
If that is the case, Bannon, and by implication Trump, will have little incentive to turn toward the center or offer real solutions to the complicated global political and economic environment in which we live. And if the outraged and xenophobic tone of Breitbart is any guide, we are in for a final three months of the campaign that will put the rest to shame.
Hold on to your wigs, y'all, it's about to git even uglier.