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posted on 17 January 2018

Steve Bannon vs. Donald Trump

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Steve Bannon might have been credited for decisively helping Donald Trump win the American Presidency in 2016. However, as the ghost author behind Michael Wolff's best-selling book (Fire and Fury), his war against President Trump has become totally obvious, with the far worse yet to come: the publication of his own tell-all book!

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It's very likely that Mr. Bannon has already started writing his book. Two main reasons:

1) He has nothing better to do, after losing his last job (Bannon out at Breitbart).

2) The war between him and the President is now personal, totally, with Mr. Bannon having nothing more to lose but a few million dollars to gain via book sales.

Hear me out ...

1. Who is Steven Bannon?

Bottom line: Bannon is an ambitious man. After becoming the Chief Strategist to, arguably, the most powerful man in the world, he could have really made a huge difference to America (as well as the world), if he could have just hung on the job much longer!

2. Who is Donald Trump?

Bottom line: Trump is an unusual man, who accidentally became the American President at an unusual time.

3. Bannon is over-rated for the Trump campaign!

Steve Bannon has often been compared with David Axelrod in their roles in two respective campaigns (i.e. Trump's 2016 campaign and Obama's 2008 campaign).

Bannon is over-rated in this comparison! Two main reasons:

1) Bannon was named the CEO of Trump's 2016 presidential bid in August 2016, which was merely three months before the 2016 general election. In contrast, Axelrod “contributed to the initial announcement of Obama's campaign by creating a five-minute Internet video released January 16, 2007” (David Axelrod - Wikipedia), which was almost two years before the 2008 general election!

2) Historically speaking, Obama's win against Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary election, which practically ensured his later capture of the White House, was far more significant than Trump's win against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election!

4. Bannon in the White House

Like Axelrod, Bannon moved into the White House after the successful campaign.

Unlike Axelrod, whose job was to help his boss get re-elected (in 2012 and he did), Bannon wanted to be the shadow President right away, with the potential of running for the Presidency himself in 2020 ("Fire and Fury": A Book Review)!

Do not blame Bannon for this! Dreaming big is totally American and the American Presidency has been a joke, for the past few decades at least! For more, read: American Presidency: Is It a Joke (III)?

After settling down as the Chief Strategist, Bannon "manipulated" the President to get three big things done:

1) Imposed his alt-right agenda onto America as soon as possible by having the President, upon taking the office, sign many Executive Orders.

2) Constantly reminded the President to keep his [alt-right] campaign promises (e.g. tough on immigration, building the wall, and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital), which is especially important for re-election, the paramount goal of all American Presidents throughout their first terms.

3) Invited author Michael Wolff to be a long-time guest inside the White House, with no purpose other than writing favorably about Bannon (and negatively about the President).

In short, Bannon was in it for himself: his alt-right agenda, his ego, and his own Presidential ambition, for which he was willing to do anything and everything, directly or indirectly, even if it meant waging a war against the President!

Unfortunately for Bannon, not only is President Trump not a true alt-right by heart (but a registered Democrat until 2009), he has also proven to be far better than Bannon at "manipulation". As a result, Bannon was fired from the White House in August 2017.

But his war against the President continues …

5. President Trump vs. Steve Bannon

Unfortunately for President Trump, by the time Bannon was fired from the White House, the damage to his Presidency was already done.

Overall, he was pushed too far to the right to begin his Presidency, which left him with no chance to govern from the center-right. Specifically, three examples:

1) The Muslim travel ban, which was totally un-American!

2) The firing of FBI Director James Comey, which directly resulted in the special counsel Bob Mueller. In all fairness, Bannon was actually right on this - Do not fire Comey (like that)! The President's recklessness and the ill advice from the "first children" had definitely fumed Bannon's resentment against the Trumps.

3) Michael Wolff was about to finish his book (Fire and Fury), with Bannon being the ghost author behind it!

I don’t think Bannon intended to have a war with the President when he brought Wolff to the White House. Practically, however, that was the seed for the war, which became obvious after the book (Fire and Fury) was published.

Could Bannon have stopped the publication of the book? No, of course not! Just like any war, it’s easy to start, but hard to stop!

The President’s response? Getting Bannon fired from Breitbart (Bannon out at Breitbart)! Any evidence? The President knew the firing beforehand by saying “Steve lost his job, and his mind … and now is looking for a job”.

6. Discussion

Both Steve Bannon and Donald Trump have an out-sized ego. They complemented each other in 2016, with a remarkable result.

Unfortunately, the White House was not big enough to have both of them together for long – One of them had to go, and it was obviously Bannon.

In other words, Bannon started and lost a war he was unlikely to win in the first place!

Two Chinese proverbs:

1) 伴君如伴虎 - To accompany a king is like to accompany a tiger – You constantly live in fear and you can be mauled any time!

2) 血浓于水- Blood is thicker than water – A strategist can be replaced, but a daughter cannot!

In short, Bannon, a student of history, knew his odds, but tried his best, at least – No guts, no glory!

In a short span of one year, Bannon fell from heaven to hell, in terms of political power and influence!

What, now, can the ambitious Bannon do? Publishing a tell-all book to finish the war, in order to settle the score, if not for a win! After all, it has been fashionable in recent years for a former cabinet member (e.g. Robert Gates and Paul O’Neill) to do so. Besides, what’s left for him to lose?

7. Closing

I hope Bannon will not publish his own tell-all book before the Trump Presidency is over. But who am I to stop the egomaniac Bannon?

Meanwhile, I continue to wish the best for President Trump ...

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