Matt Drudge offered an impromptu psychological assessment of Steve Bannon after the Breitbart CEO criticized President Trump: Bannon must be "schizophrenic." But Bannon isn’t nuts. Bannon is disillusioned. Bannon wants Trumpism without Trump.
Most recently, the Breitbart CEO and former White House chief strategist has accused the president’s son of committing treason by meeting with the Russians during the campaign. “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that,” Bannon reportedly told Michael Wolf in a new book, “you should have called the FBI immediately.”
Those comments are explosive, but not new. Bannon has been throwing shade at Trump since getting booted from the White House. His things were still in moving boxes when he told The Weekly Standard that the Trump presidency “is over.” A few days later, Bannon told 60 Minutes that the decision to fire FBI Director James Comey was the biggest mistake in “modern political history.” And clearly, Bannon’s pride was still hurt when he griped that Trump is “like an 11-year-old child.”
Bitterness is understandable. Bannon was sparking populist rage when Trump was still a Democrat. The candidate adopted populist nationalism; he didn’t help create it like his chief strategist had done at Breitbart. When Trump left Bannon behind, the strategist lashed out and went to work.
Bannon went head to head with the president in Alabama, backing Judge Roy Moore over incumbent Sen. Luther Strange and pushing for a revival in populism. And he reportedly went a step farther, encouraging Mark Cuban to run for president.
What does all of this suggest?
Trump won the presidency with appeals to the populist nationalist movement. Through a mix mismanagement and evolving politics, Trump appears to be drifting away from that base. Now Bannon wants his movement back.