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Maybe Bannon is the real Dark State: Devil’s Bargain Rolling Book Review 2

by John on 08/08/2017

devils-bargain-coverJust finished this fascinating book, Devil’s Bargain; Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by Joshua Green.

This is the second part of my rolling book review; here’s the first.

It is worth your time, especially now that Bannon seems to be in a White House battle with new Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Here are my takeaways:

  • Although the title is Devil’s Bargain, I don’t know that I see anything satanic about Bannon. Granted, he has a dark view of history and some, in my opinion, exaggerated fears about other cultures outside America, but I don’t know that he is making a bargain with the devil.
  • Bannon was a genius about altering public opinion against Hillary Clinton. He was able to use what really is a vast Right-wing conspiracy that is well-funded to target and cripple Hillary and her campaign.  That’s not to say Bill and Hillary didn’t give them enough fodder before the campaign and mistakes during.
  • Green explores the Government Accountability institute. This so-called nonprofit was funded by wealthy conservative donors so that many of the writers from Breitbart news could work on damaging information about the Clintons that would then find its way into the mainstream media – and be reported on by even the New York Times.
  • Bannon’s tactical brilliance realized that only an alt-right news organization spilling the beans on the Clinton Financial shenanigans wouldn’t resonate with voters who were on the fence with Hillary. So, he used the Government Accountability Institute to publish the book Clinton Cash which led to many talking points about the Clintons in all media. 
  • Bannon is like a new age baseball manager like Joe Maddon or Clint Hurdle. He uses data and research to understand “the game” better than his opponents.  These managers started using defensive shifting that won games by keeping the other team from scoring; they saw that pitching and defense win pennants not homeruns.  Bannon saw that the political game was more about who had more negatives rather than the winner having more positives, so he painted Clinton as a loser, using her own so-called media backers to make Trump the lesser of two evils.  Bannon also has a manager’s ego; stay out of the limelight and win from behind the scenes.  Even when he seemed to get more pub than Trump, Bannon quickly took a back seat and was back in The Donald’s graces.
  • Bannon’s brilliance is also scary. When I hear Newt Gingrich rail about the Deep State in government trying to derail Trump policies, I think if there is a Deep State, it is Bannon. Realize the candidates he has backed over the last six years: Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Trump.  Trump is skating towards disaster and Palin and Bachmann, who are just as out of touch, would have been, like Trump, easily controlled by a Svengali like Bannon.
  • Turnabout is fair play. Thinking about the headlines of today – namely Russia, foreign policy chaos, and economic uncertainty.  It appears that the tactics Bannon used to get Trump elected are possibly being used against Trump’s White House.  Granted, we don’t have evidence yet he actually colluded with Russia.  But there is certainly enough speculation that is hurting Trump’s numbers.
  • I wholeheartedly agree with Green’s assessment of Trump’s presidency. First, he is clearly out of his element and experience.  To think you can equate running a business to running a country is naïve and lacking in any kind of research and knowledge.  I have always said: In business you win 1% of the market you are a celebrated entrepreneur, but in politics to win you need 50% +1 to have any success.  That’s a big difference.  Second, he has no rapport with Congress as far as relationships (something you could say Obama was similar) and he lacks a staff that has had any substantive Congressional experience or refuses to use it to placate Trump’s desire for his boasting.

You won’t feel any better about our government.  In fact, you might get a little scared.  You will realize that politics is a big money game.  And it is all about winning and then controlling legislation.

Green spent a lot of time with Bannon doing these interviews over many years.  I have not heard any shouts of fake news involving this book, so far.

Still, this is worth reading to understand what might be happening.  Don’t put your head in the sand.

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