Friday, August 18, 2017

An Interview With Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon endeared himself to Donald Trump by helping him to win the presidential election.  He focused the Trump campaign on economic populism.  That turned out to be very helpful in the Rust Belt states that had voted for Obama in the last two elections.  Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania by a very narrow margin.  Hillary Clinton would have won those states if she had received 50,000 more votes out of the 13 million total votes caste in those states.  Many of the voters in those states were influenced by Trump's simple populist message.  He promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the area by ending bad trade agreements with China and other nations.  His anti-immigration messages also promised to reduce competition from low wage immigrants in the labor market.

This interview delves more broadly into Steve Bannon's current position in the White House.  He and his supporters in the White House remain advocates for economic populism.  Bannon believes that Trump will also be reelected in 2020 with that message.  He argues that it is much more effective than the identity politics message that have been dominant in the Democratic Party.  I ignored most of the gossip about Bannon's current status in the White House.  The real issue is whether the economic populism messages that Trump is still using, by claiming credit for millions of jobs, will remain powerful in 2020.  The unemployment rate can't really go much lower, and many of Trump's promises will not be realized.  Its also not clear what the Democratic Party will offer to voters beyond personal identity messages.  Of course, Trump may not be any position to run for office in 2020 if he continues to self destruct.  He may resign from the presidency if he determines that his Trump brand is being eroded by his performance in office,  or by investigations that may uncover damaging information about financial relationships that harm his family businesses.

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