Steve Bannon, the chief strategist who recently announced he’s leaving the White House, told The Washington Post this week that Democrats still do not understand President Donald Trump’s appeal and that this would lead to their downfall.
Bannon insisted that labeling Trump a racist has failed as a political strategy because of how much his base supports his platform of economic nationalism.
“This past election, the Democrats used every personal attack, including charges of racism, against President Trump,” Bannon told the Post in an email. “He then won a landslide victory on a straightforward platform of economic nationalism. As long as the Democrats fail to understand this, they will continue to lose. But leftist elites do not value history, so why would they learn from history?”
Bannon is expected to return to right-wing website Breitbart News now that he no longer works in the White House.
Although Trump has asserted that Bannon does not hold racist beliefs, Bannon ran Breitbart News for years before joining the Trump team. His views remain hard to pin down, however. He called the white supremacists who led the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville “clowns” and criticized the media for “play[ing] it up too much.”
Bannon believes the left’s focus on race and identity politics only works in Republicans’ favor.
“The longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em,” Bannon said. “I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
Trump’s attacks on political correctness, a key feature of his campaign, mirror Breitbart’s content, opinions and commentary. Breitbart has been touted as a platform for the alt-right – a term many consider a euphemism for white supremacist ideology.
Trump may have been heavily influenced by Bannon’s views while he worked on Trump’s presidential campaign and served as his chief strategist in the White House. Only last year, Trump supported then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s decision to remove a Confederate flag from the statehouse after a white supremacist killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston.