For the past few months, outsiders to the Trump campaign wondered how he’d been maintaining control of himself. I posited that campaign manager Kellyanne Conway had “apparently been able to get Trump under control…Like a pent-up movie monster chained to the wall of a dank dungeon, Trump’s aggression waits – lurks.” Here was Donald Trump tweeting this morning:
It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
So, what does that mean?
It means that Trump is now working from the Steve Bannon playbook rather than the Kellyanne Conway one. Bannon has a lusty penchant for destruction. He’s interested in “burning things down,” and making money by selling tickets to the conflagration. With Trump losing, Bannon is no doubt telling Trump that the only path to success is to destroy all of his opponents – and by doing so, set himself up as a new clarion voice, speaking truth from the ashes he’s created.
That's exactly what I predicted would happen back in August:
Trump wants to go out on his own terms. And those terms will be fully Trumpian. Which means that Trump will get Trumpier. The "let Trump be Trump" angle always attracted Trump, since he's a narcissist. Now he'll get to play out his fantasies with Bannon screaming "that's genius!" in his ear every few hours.
Never mind what happens to the Republican Senate and House. This campaign has been Trump's plaything, and he'll play with it until the batteries go dead.
Here are just a few of the people and institutions Steve Bannon despises: Paul Ryan; John McCain; the Republican Party; the “elites”; the “globalists.”
Now let’s look at what Donald Trump’s been tweeting over the past 72 hours as Bannon shifts Trump from campaign mode into “create your own Trumpbart subscription audience” mode.
So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers - and elections - go down!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2016
Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016
Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
With the exception of cheating Bernie out of the nom the Dems have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win - I will teach them!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
The very foul mouthed Sen. John McCain begged for my support during his primary (I gave, he won), then dropped me over locker room remarks!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Meanwhile, top Trump surrogate/advisor/ally Laura Ingraham is in war mode too, blaming the "pro-globalization" wing of the party for Trump falling apart.
This is Trump in Bannon-esque “burn it all down” mode. That way Trump can pretend he lost due to those cuckservatives like Paul Ryan, who after all have been shlonging Americans with their lies and establishment cowardice for years.
Now, one need not be a fan of Ryan’s leadership – spoiler alert: I’m not and never have been – in order to recognize what a scam this is. Trump and Bannon are attempting to carve out an audience post-election loss, and they’re deliberately sinking the Republican Party and any ability to resist Hillary in order to do it. That’s best case scenario for them: the GOP goes down in flames, Hillary dominates, Trump and Bannon blame all of the backstabbers on the home front for losing the election, then pose as the secret rebellion. And you can be part of the secret rebellion too, all for the low, low price of $9.99 per month!
This campaign is no longer about defeating Hillary; for Bannon and Trump, it never was. It is all about burning down anyone who opposes Bannon and Trump, even if it means handing total power to Hillary. Especially if it means handing total power to Hillary: Trump has to avoid blame for that, so he’ll need a fall guy. And he’s setting them up, one by one.
The only question is how many Americans will buy this latest hoax.
My guess: enough for Trump and Bannon to rake in the cash by selling snake oil.