Win or lose — and most believe now he will lose badly — Donald Trump declared he will not change his contradictory and questionable campaign style and will finish his faltering campaign as himself.
Trump Tuesday shoved campaign chairman Paul Manafort aside and turned to ex-banker and Breitbart News boss Stephen Bannon to become his “campaign CEO” and pollster Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager.
“I’ve known both of them for a long time,” Trump said early Wednesday. “They’re terrific people, they’re winners, they’re champs and we need to win.”
Like Trump, Bannon has no campaign experience. He’s a former Goldman Sachs banker, a movie producer whose film, “Sweetwater” was described by Hollywood Reporter as a “venal loony bin” and a loud cheerleader for anything Donald Trump says or wants.
“Looks like Trump wants to go down in a showbiz climax,” said a longtime Republican consultant Wednesday.
Conway is, at least, has some campaign experience but has never run a campaign. She worked on the losing 2013 Presidential campaign of disgraced Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and is close to Trump running mate Mike Pence.
“She knows how to lose,” said one Republican who has worked with her. “Maybe her role will be to prepare Trump for this loss.”
Conway has told confidants she will look for ways to reach out to women and suburban voters for Trump.
Bannon’s connection with the extreme right-wing Breitbart News will not comfort Republicans who are deserting Trump in record numbers. The “news” operation is opposed to just about anything House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McDonnell supports.
While Manafort remains part of the Trump campaign, his role is sharply reduced and he is not a fan of Bannon. Bannon, however, is close to fired former campaign boss Corey Lewandowski,, now a CNN commentator who remains an adviser close to Trump.
Others close to Trump says he is bitter about efforts to “box him in” or prevent him from “letting me be me” and turning to Bannon means a full return to his no-holds-barred, off-the-cuff style that many feel has accelerated his sharp drop in polls after the Republican and Democratic nominating conventions.
Latest polls show Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s lead expanding both on the national level and in all “battleground” states like Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida.
Turning to Bannon could hasten a loss of remaining support to Trump from the Republican National Committee. A growing number of Republican elected and appointed officials as well as major donors urge the RNC to cut Trump off from financial or other support and concentrate instead on House and Senate races where losses could change control.
They’re more than willing to let Trump go down his self-destructive path but they don’t want to see that debacle hurt the GOP Congressional races.
Some feel it is too late. The party’s devastating alliance with Donald Trump will cost Republicans a lot more than just the Presidency.
It strips out the soul of a party that dates back to Abraham Lincoln.
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