January 8th, 2018

“He has lost his mind” this is what Trump said of Bannon, his senior advisor who was fired in August. Bannon is featured a book with explosive revelations about Trump, adding to the heat caused by the investigation into the collusion with the Russians. More importantly by losing Bannon Trump will be losing access to his popular base.

To world surprise, Trump became the forty fifth president of the United States. His candidacy was ridiculed and mocked. However, he surprised everyone when he won the primaries. The question is how someone like Trump was able to win the hearts and minds of a large chunk of Americans? Who was able to give Trump access to the “forgotten men and women” as he describes them?

Trump won because of the Midwest, of the angry white men who felt forgotten by the political elite. Bannon and his right-wing media outlet provided the necessary outreach for Trump to capture a large silent and dissatisfied stratum of American citizens. This is Trump’s only alibi! The media mocked him since the early days of his candidacy. Until today the media has declared war on a president they see unfit for the position. In retaliation, he constantly accuses the media of spreading “fake news”. The only media outlet that is sympathetic to the American president is Fox News. On the other hand, the political elite snubbed him and saw the businessman who has never held a public position as an intruder. Despite the odds and the lack of endorsement from the political elite he was able to garner enough electoral votes to win the presidency.

The day of the elections the electoral map showed a red in the middle with blue states on the two coasts. The Midwest voted for Trump! Bannon represented a silent but growing movement in the US, a xenophobic white supremacist movement. The main adherents to this movement are the working class white Americans who saw their jobs in the factories being taken by immigrants from Mexico. His supporters were factory owners in the Midwest who lost orders because they cannot compete anymore with the low price offered by China.

Trump had an audience yearning for the good old days and hence his message “make America great again” was well received. The “again” is the sound bite that allowed him to hook his audience. Bannon, through his rightwing media outlet, Breitbart was the mouthpiece of those people. The endorsement Breitbart gave to Trump shrouded the latter with legitimacy. Trump as a person does not relay on the working class. He grew up in New York and was the son of a wealthy business man. His lavish and flashy lifestyle does not connect to the average conservative Midwest American.

However, Trump had to let him go following the Charlottesville riots in which Trump did put on equal footing the white supremacists and their opponents. Trump had to sacrifice his close advisor to save his face. Despite being fired, Bannon kept supporting Trump which safeguarded the latter’s base. His base represented almost 30% of American and seemed resilient despite the chaos in the White House.

However, the spat between the “house” of Trump and Bannon went public when Bannon gave an interview to Vanity Fair in which he bashed Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. He said that Jared Kushner was meeting with the Russians hoping to dig some dirt on Hillary.

In addition to these claims that can provide evidence in favor of the collusion indictments, the spat with Bannon can cost Trump his base. With Bannon turning against Trump, the latter has no alibi left. To add to that, more people in his clout are being incriminated: Flynn, Gates Manafort, Papadopoulos. Talks are insinuating that Donald Junior and Jared Kushner are next.

Known to be a loose cannon, Trump should have been more careful in choosing his enemies. By making Bannon his enemy he will eventually lose his popular base, his only alibi and when this happens he would have lost it all.

The 2017 edition of the Strategikon Annual Book – The Year of Challenging Choices

The 2017 edition of the Strategikon Annual Book – The Year of Challenging Choices

It’s not easy to be a leader, but the solution is closer than people may think and it has to do with returning to some good old fashioned traits that shaped leaders in past decades: will power, values and vision. Launched at the Good Governance Summit, The Year of Challenging Choices strives to understand the fault lines in international relations and the relevant actors, as they are and not how they appear to be.

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