Graham Moomaw of the Richmond Times-Dispatch interviews Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s new chief strategist and a self-described “son of Richmond.” Bannon, whose close-knit Irish Catholic family lived in a racially diverse working class neighborhood, describes the “very strong imprint” Richmond’s North Side had on him and on his support for America’s inner cities. “I’m a huge advocate of the inner cities and the vibrancy of the city. I think Richmond’s an example of that,” Bannon tells Moomaw.
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
For Martin Bannon, a former telephone company lineman and splicer who worked his way into management without a college degree, the AT&T stock was sacrosanct.
That all changed during the panicked days of the 2008 financial crisis. As the market plummeted, Bannon, who raised five children on Richmond’s North Side, cashed out the stock that held virtually his entire net worth.
When Steve Bannon saw Wall Street’s recklessness hit home and the impact on his father, it fueled his rage against a system he now describes as “socialism for the wealthy,” where benefits accrue to those at the top while the downside is spread among the masses.
As overleveraged financial institutions ran into trouble, Steve Bannon said, they wanted “the Marty Bannons of the world” to bail them out.
“I do believe that this populist movement that you saw Donald Trump take to the next level in 2016 started with the financial crash in 2008,” Bannon said. “Quite frankly, nobody’s been held accountable for that.”
During the white flight of the 1960s and 1970s, Bannon said, his parents were “adamant” about staying in the city rather than moving to the suburbs as the neighborhood became racially integrated, a decision made easier by the availability of private Catholic schools.
Many on the left are “thunderstruck by what hit ’em,” Bannon said, and are trying to strike back with “name-calling” and accusations of racism.
“People are not going to buy this,” Bannon said. “The deplorables are not racist.”
Trump can win support among African-Americans and Hispanics, he said, if the new administration can deliver on a “unifying message” of strong schools, safe streets and jobs.
“And condemning any kind of form of racism or hatred that’s out there,” Bannon said.
Read the rest here.