Steve Bannon Strategy Helped Bring Trump to Victory on Election Day

EAU CLAIRE, WI - NOVEMBER 01: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon attends a campaign rally at the W.L. Zorn Arena November 1, 2016 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who ran against Trump for the Republican nomination and eventually dropped out, introduced Trump and …
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Hunter Lewis writes at that it was Steve Bannon’s “one brilliant idea” that helped Donald Trump win the presidential election in November 2016:

There have been so many stories looking back and offering some interpretation of why Trump won. My favorite review of the issues that mattered is Paul Cantor’s joke that the Democrats were so focused on “race” and “gender” that they let Trump steal “class.” In this formulation, the word “class” definitely includes our own theme of the crushing effects of crony capitalism on the middle class and the poor. But let’s put aside the real issues for a moment and focus on campaign tactics alone.


Perhaps the single most important tactical decision of the entire campaign was made right before that second debate. With virtually no time either to think or act, the Trump campaign managed to organize a press conference before the debate featuring accusers of Bill Clinton. It got the mainstream media to cover it by heralding it as Trump’s reply to the tape, with no mention of the women invited to join him. Once the cameras were already on, and the women filed in, it was too late for the networks to turn them off. Trump also used that occasion and the debate to launch the accusation that Hillary Clinton had attacked and harassed Bill’s accusers and he dramatically included the accusers in the debate audience.


It has been reported that all this was Steve Bannon’s idea. If so, it was a stroke of genius, perhaps without parallel in any presidential campaign since the advent of television. It also demonstrated a willingness to take risks. The Romney campaign had been notably unwilling to take risks, as had Hillary’s, and it is a general rule that no one can win any campaign ( political, military, or business) without a willingness to bet it all at crucial moments. This particular piece of political theater must have greatly increased Trump’s confidence on that all important day. Even more importantly, it changed the story in a very dramatic way.

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