Steve Bannon has issued a warning for Republicans, and he hopes they will listen to him. In an interview with the Associated Press (AP) Bannon said he believes the GOP would lose 35 to 40 seats in the House if the election were held today.
“AP Interview: Here’s how Steve Bannon wants to rally GOP voters to help save Republican House majority.”
AP Interview: Here's how Steve Bannon wants to rally GOP voters to help save Republican House majority. https://t.co/yPG5w2ovvY
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 20, 2018
During a Sunday interview the former chief strategist for Donald Trump said he thinks the Republican Party needs to make major changes between now and election day in the way they are campaigning. If they don’t, he said, the party will be handing over their majority in Congress to Democrats who he believes will pursue impeachment proceedings against the president.
Bannon said he believes that there is still time to turn the election around, however. And of course he has the proposed solution, in the form of his new group, called Citizens of the American Republic.
His main strategy is to paint this years’ contests a vote to protect Trump from impeachment, and by doing that, motivate a higher turnout among Trump supporters.
“You can’t look at this as a midterm and you can’t run it out of the traditional Republican playbook. If you do that, you’re going to get smoked,” he said.
Bannon clearly is trying to increase his influence within the Republican Party as well as within the White House, where he has fallen out of favor. He was fired from a White House position last year after Michael Wolff’s book included many negative quotes from Bannon talking about the president and his family.
After that, his relationship with Trump went down hill even though many credit Bannon’s strategy with putting Trump in the White House in the first place.
Bannon said he knows there are big challenges this year, such as an energized Democratic electorate. With just 78 days until election day 2018, Democrats are gathering steam and need a net gain of just 24 seats to take back control of the House of Representatives. Turnout and voter enthusiasm has been very high in special elections held this year and Democrats are very optimistic about their chances in November.
Bannon, however, said Republicans can gain ground if they focus on turning out Trump supporters.
“This is not about persuasion. It’s too late to persuade anybody. We’re 90 days away from this election. This is all about turnout and what I call base-plus,” he said.
Bannon said his new venture will focus on rapid response and polling with the goal of framing the election as an “up or down vote” on Trump and impeachment.
Concerning trade, Bannon supports tariffs, which have drawn criticism in agricultural states. He says they are a key part of Trump’s nationalistic economic strategy.
“People in Iowa, once it’s explained to them, will fully support the president in this,” he said. “We don’t have a choice. We either win the economic war with China or we’re going to be a secondary, a tertiary power.”
Bannon said he believes Trump’s culture wars, such as attacks on women and minorities, don’t present a problem.
He also believes that Trump would benefit from shutting down the government over funding for his border wall, saying it would “galvanize the populist right.”
Bannon, however, does not agree with those who think it would be positive for Trump if Democrats take back House control. He called such notions “dangerously naive.”
Looking ahead to the 2020 presidential race, Bannon said he thinks attorney Michael Avenatti could be a real contender.
“He’s a fighter and people are looking for fighters,” Bannon said of Avenatti, though he believes Trump would defeat any opponent. “He’s going to be a force in the primary for the simple reason that he comes across as what many of the Democrats don’t, which is a fighter.”
In this interview Bannon once again made clear that he is the architect of many of Donald Trump’s misguided policies and tactics. If Republicans listen to him, and continue to follow these failing approaches, they are sure to see happen the exact thing he is trying to prevent: a sweeping Democratic victory that gives them back control of Congress.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.