Veteran GOP strategist Mark McKinnon told Breitbart News Daily that the rise of Donald Trump in the 2016 election reflects the fact that for years, the Republican Party “has had no clear vision of the future.” The GOP establishment, he said, “soaked the place in kerosene. All Donald Trump did was light a match.” In this election, “the Republicans are just going to have to burn the house down and rebuild it.”
McKinnon is the co-creator, co-executive producer, and co-host of the Showtime docu-series The Circus, which chronicles the 2016 presidential race.
He spoke with SiriusXM host and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon about a scene in the episode called “The Reckoning” showing a group of six GOP establishment figures gathered at a private dinner to lament the rise of Donald Trump and discuss what can be done to defeat him.
McKinnon said this particular scene “has lit up the boards like no other scene we’ve done the whole season.”
“A couple of weeks ago we said, ‘Let’s go find the establishment – what’s left of the establishment.’ It turns out there are six guys who are left,” McKinnon joked.
“Old white warhorses,” Bannon laughed. “It’s literally like a smoke-filled room out of something like Tammany Hall.”
“It sounded like you were dropping into a mafia don mob boss meeting, right?” McKinnon joked.
From the candid conversation among these six men, “a couple things were clear,” McKinnon said. “First of all, there really is no coherent establishment, and to the extent there is an establishment, they have no clue how to deal with Donald Trump.”
“You look at the scene, and it’s pretty much an ad for Donald Trump,” he said. “The Trump people see that and say, ‘Well, that’s exactly why we’re supporting Donald Trump.’”
Bannon remarked on how shocking it was that despite having access to the commentariat, the consultants, the K Street lobbyists, and the massive donor money that all comprise the establishment apparatus, these figures still had no cohesive plan to “counter a populist uprising.”
McKinnon agreed, “There was not a coherent notion at all about what to do. In fact, there were very divergent notions.”
A couple of them were saying, “We’re part of the RNC, and we’ll ultimately support the nominee.” A couple of them were saying, “We’re making anti-Trump PAC ads.” And a couple of them even said, “Listen, if it’s Donald Trump, then we may have to look at supporting Hillary Clinton” — which was pretty shocking to see. So, yeah, there is absolutely no coherency about what to do about Donald Trump, and that’s why he’s doing so well.
Bannon noted that the key populist issues involving trade agreements and immigration that have animated voters in this election cycle “were not even in the top hundred” on the establishment’s radar. “How did they miss it so badly?” Bannon asked. “These are not dumb people. They’re very smart people. How did they miss it so badly?”
McKinnon recalled that one of the establishment figures in the scene admitted that Trump “had a better finger on the pulse of what the American voter wants” than any of the six of them in that room.
“The one thing I’ve said from the very beginning of this election is that it’s very likely that the Republicans are just going to have to burn the house down and rebuild it,” McKinnon said. “And, you know, they soaked the place in kerosene. All Donald Trump did was light a match, and the place is going up in flames.”
He explained, “The Republican Party, not just for this election cycle, but for a long time, has had no clear vision of the future, and occasionally democracy rises up and takes a hold of the reins, and that’s what’s happening in this election. The voters are saying, ‘Listen, you guys don’t have a clue. So, we’re going to give you one.’”
Bannon commented on the Shakespearean quality of this election cycle:
We have talked about earlier today the Ides of March and the killing of Caesar 2,060 years ago. This race is almost Shakespearean in its presentation. You have the Bushes, you have the Clintons, you have almost like these King Lear types. You have Obama, you have the Pope, you have Trump, you have Ted Cruz. Even the side characters in the commentariat – it’s so fascinating – you know, the Black Lives Matter guys. We’re talking about the Black Panthers over the weekend on the weekend show. You know, Angela Davis is now being talked about … It’s brought in so much of modern political history. But have you ever seen a race like this that just has this cast of characters? And the stakes, you know: American sovereignty vs. the globalists; this populist uprising vs. the limited government conservatives? Have you ever seen the issues and the personalities come together in really kind of a Shakespearean way?
“The Shakespeare analogy is a terrific one, and I may steal that from you,” McKinnon said. “We’re trying to think of a name for the next show, I think we’ll find some Shakespeare analogy to throw up there.”
“We just got really lucky that we chose this election to do this show,” McKinnon said. “People are really fascinated by what’s happening because there is this huge drama. There is a sense that there is a real revolution going on. And, you know, Trump is a big part of that. Bernie Sanders is a big part of that.”
“We are seeing a complete upheaval, and people are fascinated to watch it and say, ‘What comes next? What’s going to come out of all of this chaos and uprising?’’’ he added.
The Circus, which Bannon called the new “must-watch television” for political junkies, runs on Showtime Sunday nights at 8PM.
Listen to the full interview below:
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Follow Rebecca Mansour on Twitter @RAMansour