Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

Trump elects to go not just "full Trump," but "full Breitbart"

So Donald Trump has looked at the polls, surveyed the political landscape and concluded that he's losing. It doesn't take a genius to see that, which in Trump's case counts as good news.

He has also concluded that he's losing because he has become too moderate and not combative enough, and because his own staff has tried to prevent him from unleashing "full Trump" upon the world.

Well, no longer.

To fix the problem, the role of campaign manager Paul Manafort has been reduced substantially. According to Robert Costa of The Washington Post, Trump had felt "boxed in" and "controlled" under Manafort's guidance, and he wanted out. Instead, he has hired Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart, as his campaign's new CEO.

Among other things, Bannon has been a big advocate of Sarah Palin and her unique style of politics, as well as a harsh critic of the likes of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  For example, Bannon  championed the candidacy of Paul Nehlen, who challenged Ryan in the Republican primary.

As Costa put it on Twitter:

Trump has also promoted pollster Kellyanne Conway, who in 2012 served as consultant to U.S. Rep. Todd "legitimate rape" Akin in his U.S. Senate race in Missouri. The tone and quality of her political advice is perhaps best illustrated by the advice that she gave Akin when he was facing heavy pressure by the GOP establishment to withdraw from that race.  Conway not only urged Akin to hunker down and fight, she told him to emulate the strategy of Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, who stayed in his bunker in Waco and refused to be drawn out by the ATF.

We know how that turned out for Koresh and his followers. It didn't turn out any better for Akin. He lost by 15 points in deep-red Missouri.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: These are the "best people" that Trump promised us, "the smartest people" with the "best words" who will help him run the country after they have helped him run his campaign.

And yes, it has happened once again:

Just when you thought the 2016 campaign could not get any more strange, any meaner or more dangerous, Trump has found a way to boost it to a whole 'nother level. The republic will survive this; it's survived far worse. But it isn't going to be pretty, and the damage these remaining weeks will do to the Republican Party as we know it is going to be substantial.



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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.