Trump Campaign Shakeup

After weeks of bleeding, the Trump campaign is undergoing a shake up, but it's unlikely to fix what's really wrong.

Trump Apprentice

The morning’s headlines bring news of a big shakeup at Trump Tower:

LAS VEGAS — Donald J. Trump has shaken up his presidential campaign for the second time in two months, hiring a top executive from the conservative website Breitbart News and promoting a senior adviser in an effort to right his faltering campaign.

Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, will become the Republican campaign’s chief executive, and Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser and pollster for Mr. Trump and his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, will become the campaign manager.

Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, will retain his title. But the staffing change, hammered out on Sunday and set to be formally announced Wednesday morning, was seen by some as a demotion for Mr. Manafort.

The news, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was confirmed early Wednesday by Ms. Conway in a brief interview, but she rejected the idea that the changes amounted to a shake-up and said that Mr. Manafort was not being diminished.

“It’s an expansion at a busy time in the final stretch of the campaign,” she said, adding that Mr. Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, would remain in their roles.

“We met as the ‘core four’ today,” Ms. Conway added, referring to herself, Mr. Bannon, Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates.

People briefed on the move said that it reflected Mr. Trump’s realization that his campaign was at a crisis point. But it indicates that the candidate — who has chafed at making the types of changes his current aides have asked for, even though he had acknowledged they would need to occur — has decided to embrace his aggressive style for the duration of the race.

Both Ms. Conway and Mr. Bannon, whose news organization has been very favorable to Mr. Trump since he entered the primaries, are close with Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the father-and-daughter conservative donors who have become allies of the candidate and are funding a “super PAC” that is working against Hillary Clinton.

Ms. Conway has past presidential experience in primary races, but the role in a general election represents a new one for her. She is well liked by Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who had been serving as the de facto campaign manager.

Mr. Bannon has no experience with political campaigns, but he represents the type of bare-knuckled fighter that the candidate had in Corey Lewandowski, his combative former campaign manager, who was fired on June 20.

Mr. Bannon has been a supporter of Mr. Trump’s pugilistic instincts, which the candidate has made clear in interviews he is uncertain about suppressing. He is also deeply mistrustful of the political establishment, and his website has often been critical of Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who has become a close Trump adviser, has also urged the candidate to dig in and prepare to fight harder, and in a more focused way, in what has quickly become one of the nastiest presidential campaigns in modern United States history.

More from Robert Costa at The Washington Post:

Donald Trump, following weeks of gnawing agitation over his advisers’ attempts to temper his style, moved late Tuesday to overhaul his struggling campaign by rebuffing those efforts and elevating two longtime associates who have encouraged his combative populism.

Stephen Bannon, a former banker who runs the influential conservative outlet Breitbart News and is known for his fiercely anti-establishment politics, has been named the Trump campaign’s chief executive. Kellyanne Conway, a veteran Republican pollster who has been close to Trump for years, will assume the role of campaign manager.

Two Trump campaign aides confirmed the staff reshuffle early Wednesday, requesting anonymity to discuss personnel changes without permission.

Trump issued a statement hours later. “I have known Steve and Kellyanne both for many years. They are extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win,” he said. “I believe we’re adding some of the best talents in politics, with the experience and expertise needed to defeat Hillary Clinton in November and continue to share my message and vision to Make America Great Again.”

The campaign played down the notion that Trump was reacting to the polls or saw his bid in crisis.

“These announcements come at a time of significant growth for Mr. Trump’s campaign, with the first major TV ad buy of the general election slated to start later this week and with additional top-flight operatives joining the movement on a near-daily basis,” the campaign said in the statement.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the moves.

Trump’s stunning decision effectively ended the months-long push by campaign chairman Paul Manafort to moderate Trump’s presentation and pitch for the general election. And it sent a signal, perhaps more clearly than ever, that the real-estate mogul intends to finish this race on his own terms, with friends who share his instincts at his side.

While Manafort, a seasoned operative who joined the campaign in March, will remain in his role, the advisers described his status internally as diminished due to Trump’s unhappiness and restlessness in recent weeks.

(…)

In Bannon especially, Trump is turning to an alter ego — a colorful, edgy figure on the right who has worked at Goldman Sachs and made several films, including a documentary about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

Bannon, in phone calls and meetings, has been urging Trump for months not to mount a fall campaign that makes Republican donors and officials comfortable, the aides said. Instead, Bannon has been telling Trump to run more fully as an outsider and an unabashed nationalist.

Trump has listened intently to Bannon and agreed with him, believing that voters will ultimately want a presidential candidate who represents disruption more than a candidate with polished appeal, the aides said.

“I want to win,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal. “That’s why I’m bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win.”

The campaign said in its statement that Bannon, a former Navy officer, would be “temporarily stepping down from his role with Breitbart News to work full-time on Mr. Trump’s campaign in a new position designed to bolster the business-like approach of Mr. Trump’s campaign.”

“Mr. Bannon,” it continued, “once recognized by Bloomberg Politics as the ‘most dangerous political operative in America,’ will oversee the campaign staff and operations in addition to strategic oversight of major campaign initiatives in addition to working with Mr. Manafort.”

Manafort, in a statement, said that he is sure the additions will “undoubtedly help take the campaign to new levels of success.”

With Trump dropping like a stone in the polls over the past several weeks and his campaign going off the rails on a seemingly weekly basis, it’s not entirely surprising that we’d see a campaign shake-up at some point along the way. We’ve seen similar restructuring on the fly in the past when the news has been bad after all, but the notable thing has generally been that it has often fallen into the category of ‘too little, too late’ and that the changes made end up doing little to reverse the course that the campaign in question has been on, In this case, with more than eighty days left until Election Day, it’s arguably not ‘too late,’ but it’s not at all that the moves here are either too little, or that they are too much in the sense that they are likely to send the Trump campaign off in a direction that will in the end do nothing but harm. Most of all, though, these changes seem to be mutually contradictory and designed to create more conflict inside a campaign that has become known for resorting to in-fighting as the news has gotten worse and worse over the past month or so.

Bringing in KellyAnne Conway, for example, seems like a smart move on Trump’s part largely because her experience as a top pollster and campaign adviser to past Republican candidate would seem to send a signal that Trump has recognized that he needs some assistance in getting a message out beyond the core group of supporters that applaud his every word at campaign rallies. It’s also arguably the case that Conway is being brought on to serve the role of someone who can show Trump the raw data from polls that indicates where his problems are and why he needs to moderate his tone if he’s going to have any hope at all of appealing to Republicans who have, until now, rejected his candidacy and independents who are flocking to Hillary Clinton largely because Trump is giving them the impression that he can’t be trusted with the reins of power. At the same time, though, with Stephen Bannon we have the person who has turned Breitbart News into a clearinghouse for paranoid, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant hatred that seemingly spends more time attacking other conservatives than anything else. It’s been under Bannon’s leadership, for example, that the site has basically turned itself into little more than a mouthpiece for the Trump campaign and a comfortable place for bigots to come and air their opinion. Rather than moderating his tone or reaching out to moderates, Bannon is reported to be in favor of doubling down on the rhetoric that we saw from Trump throughout the race for the Republican nomination, rhetoric that has backfired for Trump as we’ve entered the General Election phase of the campaign. Going forward, the question will be which of these two advisers will have the most influence over Trump. If he listens to Conway and people like her, Trump may have a shot at turning his campaign around or at least stopping the bleeding before the debates start in September. If he listens to Bannon, which seems to be what Robert Costa’s report is indicating is most likely going forward, then we can expect more of the same from Trump and the Trump campaign can most likely expect to continue to see Hillary Clinton gain ground in the polls to the point where it will in fact be too late to do anything to fix what’s wrong.

Trump seemed to foreshadow what was coming yesterday when he addressed the issue of ‘pivoting’ from the way he had been during the primary into a more nuanced candidate for the General Election:

Donald Trump on Tuesday said he is not interested in moderating his tone for the general presidential election.

“Well, possibly I do, but you know, I am who I am,” he told News 8 reporter Brittany Schmidt when asked whether he needs to change tactics before November as recent polls show him behind Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“Everyone talks about, ‘Oh, you’ve got to pivot,'” Trump added in La Crosse, Wis. “I don’t want to pivot. I don’t want to change.”You have to be you. If you start pivoting, you’re not being honest with people. No, I am who I am.”

In the end, as in any campaign, it will be the candidate who makes the final decision about what kind of campaign he or she runs, and in this case Donald Trump clearly does not want to change, With Bannon there whispering in his ear that he should not only continue with the incindiery rhetoric but double down on it, it seems obvious who he is going to be more inclined to listen to. Given that, I wouldn’t expect very much change from Donald Trump and I wouldn’t expect the direction this campaign has been taking to change very much either.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. Mu says:

    Conway: “We need to sharpen our message”
    Bannon: “Did you know that under the charter for the Massachusetts colony they could hang illegal immigrants and deport people of unacceptable religion?”
    Trump:

  2. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Thus plan B is launched, the Cable version of Breitbart. Conspiracy theories 24 hours a day, everyday

  3. CSK says:

    In hiring Bannon, Trump just hired his Sycophant–in-Chief, which is exactly what Trump would do.

  4. SKI says:

    Return to Lewandowski’s “Let Trump Be Trump” – with the added dash of even more Alt-Right bigotry.

  5. Davebo says:

    So the candidate who’s spent the last weeks complaining about the media hires a pseudo media guy to lead his campaign.

    That sounds about right for Donald.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    Trump can shakeup his campaign every day from now until November and it won’t make a difference…Trump himself is the problem…but yes, please double down on the boorish behavior…Hillary is going to win in a landslide…

  7. Moosebreath says:

    I tend to agree with Kevin Drum’s take on this:

    “Donald Trump has decided that the big problem with his campaign is that it’s just too damn stuffy

    (snip)

    Apparently Trump has decided that if he’s going to kick the bucket in November, he wants to do it with friends and family at his bedside when he breathes his last. Instead of losing by seven or eight points, he might lose by a dozen instead. But at least he’ll put on a helluva show in the meantime.”

  8. CSK says:

    Well, you know Trump had to reward Bannon for throwing Michelle Fields under the bus.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @Moosebreath: If you think about it, this is exactly what someone would do who is laying the grounds for a 24-hr talk show running off the trash of the internet.

    Oh frabjous joy again.

  10. C. Clavin says:

    conservative website Breitbart News

    a clearinghouse for paranoid, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant hatred

    I think that about sums up today’s Republican Party.
    But there is another way to look at this…Trump has banned multiple mainstream media outlets and his campaign is now being run by Brietbart and a guy forced out of Fox News for serial sexual harassment. Of course we all know Ailes built Fox on lies…and Breitbart is the outfit that lied about ACORN and Sherrod…so medacious birds apparently flock together.

  11. Jen says:

    Honestly, hiring someone from Breitbart in an effort to right the ship really does lend credibility to the conspiracy theory that he’s trying to lose the election.

  12. Argon says:

    So much for last week’s reboot…

    It must suck to be a GOP candidate running for national office this season. They’d almost get my sympathy if they hadn’t embraced and tried to exploit the John Birchers and religious crazies for so long.

    Trump’s only sin has been to vocalize positions of the party’s base that had previously been communicated via dog whistle.

  13. Mu says:

    The more I read about Bannon’s “Trump needs to run more like an outsider and as an unabashed nationalist” the more I think my first post was not hyperbole but mild sarcasm.

  14. Kylopod says:

    Every few months when Trump announces a “campaign shakeup,” I’m reminded of that scene from Back to the Future II where Doc announces he’s been wearing a facial prosthetic so Marty wouldn’t be startled by the plastic surgery he got, then he removes the mask and we see he looks exactly the same as he did before.

  15. James Pearce says:

    At the same time, though, with Stephen Bannon we have the person who has turned Breitbart News into a clearinghouse for paranoid, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant hatred that seemingly spends more time attacking other conservatives than anything else.

    He hired the Breitbart people to advise him on his campaign? What a joke. It’s like hiring a dentist to fix your car.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    Has Putin okayed this?

  17. CSK says:

    @James Pearce:

    Apparently Bannon’s been advising Trump for the past year. I’ve often wondered, given the slobbering coverage that Breitbart affords Trump, if there hasn’t been some remuneration for this service.

  18. Pch101 says:

    My theory of this campaign as a launching pad for Trump TV is coming closer to reality.

    Bannon, in phone calls and meetings, has been urging Trump for months not to mount a fall campaign that makes Republican donors and officials comfortable, the aides said. Instead, Bannon has been telling Trump to run more fully as an outsider and an unabashed nationalist.

    Trump has listened intently to Bannon and agreed with him, believing that voters will ultimately want a presidential candidate who represents disruption more than a candidate with polished appeal, the aides said.

    Assuming that Trump actually wants to be president, then this is what happens when one confuses niche marketing with mass marketing.

    Trump has demonstrated that one may be able to win a primary through niche marketing, as the voters in a primary comprise a relatively narrow slice of the voter market. But the presidential election represents a much broader audience, so that kind of messaging won’t work.

    Breitbart is a great example of well-executed political niche marketing. (There is a vibrant right-wing idiot market to be served, and Breitbart knows what it wants.) But it is just a niche, and most people will never see the Breitbart website, let alone get caught up in it.

    However, if Trump’s goal is to become a political media figure, then this is all pretty smart. He’s going to be the Pied Piper of stupid, and this could make him more money than he ever made in real estate.

  19. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    One assumes so, given that Putin has replaced Kellyanne Conway as Senior Advisor to the Trump campaign.

  20. al-Alameda says:

    Honest to god, this campaign is fascinating – in the same way that a
    slow motion NASCAR 150 mph spin out into a wall is fascinating.
    Somehow, they get the car into the pit get new tires, take a swig of
    Flint Water and get back on the track.

  21. James Pearce says:

    @CSK:

    Apparently Bannon’s been advising Trump for the past year.

    Some “shake-up.”

    As remuneration, you’re probably right. Much of right-wing politics these days is about generating revenues for various business models, not necessarily acquiring power or capital. That’s why you hear Fox News bragging about being the number one cable news channel while the Dems cruise towards their 3rd consecutive presidency.

  22. CSK says:

    Here’s another item to add to the ever-expanding List of Things You Can’t Make Up:

    Remember Al Baldasaro, the Trump advisor who said that Hillary Clinton should be assassinated? Well, he’s claiming that the “liberal media” misconstrued his words. What he actually said was that she should be taken out and shot for treason.

    Here. Look for yourself:

    http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/08/trump_adviser_al_baldasaro_hil.html

    This retooled campaign is totally getting off to a dazzling start.

  23. Moosebreath says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “Has Putin okayed this?”

    He’s certainly on board with Trump’s choice of foreign affairs advisers:

    “Garry Kasparov ‏@Kasparov63 20h20 hours ago
    Trump is bringing someone who openly works with Putin’s propaganda channel Russia Today to get his first classified intel briefing. Amazing.”

    cite

  24. PJ says:

    @CSK:

    Apparently Bannon’s been advising Trump for the past year. I’ve often wondered, given the slobbering coverage that Breitbart affords Trump, if there hasn’t been some remuneration for this service.

    Bannon has been promised that he gets to pick the people for Secretary of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda and Secretary of Reeducation in Trump’s administration.

  25. Gustopher says:

    Manafort: Making Russia Great Again.

  26. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Will they have programming from Jesse Ventura and George Nouri? I really hope so. How about a streaming video feed for a couple of bucks a month? I cut my cable.

  27. Pete S says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Has Putin okayed this?

    Hell, he probably suggested it but by the end of the conversation had Trump believing he came up with the idea himself.

  28. CSK says:

    @Pch101:

    I think you’re right about Trump TV. Trump Radio is a possibility, too.

    @James Pearce:

    Sometime shortly after November 9, Trump, Ailes, and Bannon (there’s an unholy trinity for you) will announce the creation of a new media empire to take down Fox.

    @PJ:

    Given that Bannon has pretty much laid down a blueprint to ensure Trump loses, he’s probably looking forward to chairing the Trump Network.

  29. Pch101 says:

    @CSK:

    Of course. My use of “Trump TV” is shorthand for what could be his overall media business plan, which may include some combination of a cable station, live streamed video and audio on the internet, a “news” website and/or syndicated radio programming. (I can’t imagine that he would buy radio stations, but he could potentially syndicate programming to them.)

    Incidentally, this could explain his attacks on Megyn Kelly and Fox News. That seems to be an awfully risky and foolish move for a conservative politician, but it makes a whole lot of sense if your goal is to build a cable channel that will compete against Fox News. Trump wants to make Fox to appear to be the RINO channel, while he acts as the real voice of conservatism — if he is to compete against Fox, then he will need to take some of Fox’s audience for himself.

  30. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: Well, when did Trump ever produce anything for which a mass market approach would have worked? I doubt that he even understands mass market as a concept, he’s the personification as niche marketing. Steaks, wine, water, four-in-hand ties with the suits and dress shirts to go with them, real estate, all marketed to elite people capable of recognizing “quality” (i.e. people with deep pockets but little sense).

    If all he needs to do is be Trump for a news network to work, yeah, he’ll make a few kopeks, but I think this will go the way of all the rest. Remember, the constituency for RWNJ echo news is pretty saturated and the sheep have already been pretty thoroughly fleeced.

  31. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Pch101: Spot on!

  32. michael reynolds says:

    Trump does not plan, he reacts. He may well end up trying to launch a new Fox News with even less attachment to reality, but that’s not what he set out to do, it’s what he may do to salvage his fragile ego after he loses.

    But Trump is not Murdoch (Fox boss.) Murdoch could buy Trump with the loose change under his sofa cushions. And unlike Trump, Murdoch has a history of business success. (Full disclosure, I’m a Harper Collins author.)

    Trump TV’s advertisers would be, who, exactly? Fox gets advertising because it still has the faint patina of a news organization, and it has the heft of NewsCorp and cultural weight of 21st Century Fox, etc…. But Trump TV would have to compete for the same handful of marginal advertisers that keep Limbaugh afloat – legal loan sharks, financial scams, books by crazy people.

    So given Trump’s history of non-payment and fraud and failure, who’s going to put serious money into his and Ailes’ little clown college? Roger Ailes is 76 and a serial molester of women. Trump will be a 70 year-old, reviled political loser with a track record of failure. Ailes’ demographic appeal is to people so old their average age is dead since last Thursday.

    I’m sure Trump will manage to fleece some more suckers, but his media plans are going nowhere.

  33. CSK says:

    Since when did a nearly pristine record of failure–Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, Trump Magazine, Trump Airlines, Trump Mortgage, Trump the Game, Trump Water, et al. ever stop Trump from launching yet another foredoomed enterprise? The man’s capacity for self-delusion is infinite.

  34. Pch101 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Trump can brand it for the sake of fundraising, host a show and have some ghost writers produce a column on his behalf, while leaving the heavy lifting to some real media people. Others can be hired to do the bulk of the programming, so most of the column inches and air time will be filled by a variety of people aside from Trump.

    From Trump’s standpoint, it could mostly be a licensing deal that gives him revenue with little downside risk. He could kick things off with a post-election book deal, which will not only make him money but also prove that there is a market for this media plan — if that book sells well, then you can presume that there is a market for the other stuff.

  35. CSK says:

    The big problem with Trump licensing his name is that he’s been a terrible flop at it–which just goes to show that niche marketing only takes you so far.

    When it debuted about seven or eight years ago, Trump Vodka retailed at $100 a bottle. That’s about 80% more than the retail price for a liter of the other premium vodkas at the time. Vodka is pretty much vodka.

    The people who thought it would be “classy” to buy Trump vodka couldn’t afford it. The people who could afford to buy Trump Vodka also knew that you could buy 5 half gallons of Gordon’s Vodka for a hundred buck and get much better value.

  36. Pch101 says:

    @CSK:

    If my guessing about the media plan is correct, then this may have been Stephen Bannon’s idea to begin with.

    It could essentially be a move to get Breitbart onto cable, leveraging Trump’s political brand in the process.

  37. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “…… average age is dead since last Thursday….. ” really tickled my chuckle buds!

  38. CSK says:

    @Pch101:

    Yes, I see that. But then Bannon is gambling that the Trump brand is worth considerably more than it actually may be.

  39. James Pearce says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Remember, the constituency for RWNJ echo news is pretty saturated and the sheep have already been pretty thoroughly fleeced.

    This.

    If you want to know how Trump’s hypothetical “media empire” will go, just ask Al Gore how Current TV worked for him. If he loses the election, Trump’s political career is over and his capacity to be a media celebrity will be much diminished.

  40. Mu says:

    I can’t wait for “After Trump: The reality show” were they accompany him to rallies at the South Des Moines retirements home show.

  41. Pch101 says:

    @CSK:

    Here’s a chain of events:

    Build a base of support during the election –>
    Sell books to them after the election –>
    Use the book sales to prove to investors that the media investment is worthwhile, plus persuade cable networks to carry the station

    If the book flops, then there may be no deal. If it’s a hit, then it helps with the proof of concept.

    A TV talk show viewed by a few million households would be a flop on terrestrial TV, but that would be considered to be a hit on cable. That’s fewer than 3% of the households in the US.

    Trump doesn’t need everyone to love him in order to develop a successful media business, he just needs some devoted fans. Bill O’Reilly is one of the most successful hosts on cable, and a night with 4 million is a home run for him. Cable reruns of Law and Order can pull in more viewers than can a typical Fox News program; for all of the banter about Fox vs MSNBC vs CNN, cable TV viewers are more interested in Sponge Bob.

  42. Scott says:

    just ask Al Gore how Current TV worked for him.

    Gore did make a reported $70M on the sale of Current TV to Al-Jezeera.. Not too shabby.

  43. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Sell books to them after the election

    If your plan for media domination starts with “sell books,” you need a new plan.

    @Scott:

    Gore did make a reported $70M on the sale of Current TV to Al-Jezeera.. Not too shabby.

    Yeah, that’s not bad. But it only reinforces my point.

    Gore gets $70M to spend in obscurity, ignored by everyone on environmental issues because of his big house, and Al Jazeera America (Current TV’s successor) shuts down as a going concern.

  44. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    If he loses the election, Trump’s political career is over and his capacity to be a media celebrity will be much diminished.

    PPP’s latest Texas poll finds that 71% of Trump supporters and 34% of the undecideds believe that a Clinton victory will have been due to a rigged election.

    If When Clinton wins the election, perhaps 20-25% of the country will be convinced that the election was stolen. Many of those people demand their own media, and there is plenty of room for more of it.

  45. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: I’d say: “marketed to people who want to think that taste consists of gold leaf.”

    You know the old matriarchs who used to buy reading glasses slathered with rhinestones? That’s the people I’m talking about.

  46. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    perhaps 20-25% of the country will be convinced that the election was stolen. Many of those people demand their own media, and there is plenty of room for more of it.

    Not much room. The audience for right wing entertainment is not expanding. If Trump joins in with TrumpTV or whatever, he’s going to be cannibalizing the audience (and advertisers) from some other outlet.

    For instance, Regenry Publishing isn’t going to double their advertising budget for Dinesh D’Souza’s latest turd because Trump starts up his own outlet. They’re going to go bargain shopping. “Race to the bottom” and all that.

  47. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Erick Erickson just launched his website a few months ago, and is already ranked around the 30k mark, i.e. he could sell his website for a decent amount of cash today if he wanted to.

    The Federalist didn’t exist three years ago, and is now ranked in the top 10k.

    The second best selling non-fiction book last year was by Bill O’Reilly.

    No, there’s plenty of market for this, and Trump stands a good chance of taking a fair amount of his audience from Fox News. Drudge would link to him, which would drive up his traffic.

  48. the Q says:

    Yes, Trump is a failure, but then so are most venture capitalists and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

    As Soichiro Honda said, “success is 90% failure”. After he had blown up a thousand engines before perfecting the Dream D motorcycle which revolutionized the market.

    If you look at any VC, they have 20 failures to every one “win”…but that one “win” could be Apple, or PayPal or Google. Entrepreneurs rarely bat 1.000 on their first business plan.

    I think Trump is an idiot, but non business people should realize that business success is built on failure and being able to fail is a huge part of the entrepreneurial experience.

  49. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    No, there’s plenty of market for this

    I disagree. I think the post-Trump conservative entertainment complex is bound for a contraction, especially after what promises to be a YUGE loss. They’re all chasing the same dwindling number of eyeballs and the same dollar.

    There are opportunities for a newly-invigorated conservative media (The Federalist might count, I guess) but the vulgar Trumpism is going to be a phase all these righties are going to be embarrassed by in a couple years.

    If I’m wrong, I’ll buy you a beer.

  50. Tillman says:

    @James Pearce:

    I think the post-Trump conservative entertainment complex is bound for a contraction, especially after what promises to be a YUGE loss.

    Especially considering most of the audience for it will die off in the coming years from old age or prescription drug abuse.

  51. CSK says:

    Trump has a “big platform,” as they say in the publishing biz, but if he loses the election, which he will, that platform may be an evanescent one. When he gets crushed in the general, his fan club might well decide to crawl back into the woodwork. Or not. It’s impossible to predict. Maybe they’ll go nuts and start shooting, which they often threaten. Whatever, they probably won’t be buying books.

    If Trump and Bannon are using this campaign to launch a media empire, which they probably are, they’ll be competing with Limbaugh, Levin, and a host of other lesser crackpots who make a good living feeding idiotic conspiracy theories to the gullible. It’s a gamble, but neither Bannon nor Trump will really suffer if it flops. Bannon was an investment banker, so I’m sure he has plenty of money salted away. And Trump has…whatever he has. I’m sure it’s considerably less than he claims, but still more than sufficient to keep him off food stamps.

    Bannon’s most recent foray into national media was, as far as I can tell, his documentary on Sarah Palin, The Undefeated. It was a total bomb, grossing less than $100,000. So his acuity at judging public taste has to be questioned.

    I’m also sure Bannon and Trump think this media empire plan will succeed, which is really the point, when you think about it.

  52. grumpy realist says:

    Whee–remember that health letter that Trump supposedly released from his doctor?

    Turns out that the guy died back in 2010.

  53. grumpy realist says:

    Here’s the link.

  54. James Pearce says:

    @Tillman:

    it will die off in the coming years from old age or prescription drug abuse.

    If some of them don’t die in fires, there’s no karma at all.

    (And for the record, I don’t believe, at all, in karma. So the universe not only keeps track of what you’re doing, it’s assigns a value to it –good, bad, questionable– and then lines up a just reward? Lotsa fail points there! Does the universe ever run into a backlog? Does it ever assign the wrong value to the wrong action providing the wrong reward? I digress…..)

  55. James Pearce says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Turns out that the guy died back in 2010.

    That letter was hilarious. It was on a Nigerian spam level of believability.

  56. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist: You know, I already found that letter hard to believe, but had only really focused on the “astonishingly excellent” type language in it.

    This analysis of that letter is enlightening. Clearly Trump is hiding a major medical condition of some sort, because why not just go to your doctor (you know, a live one*) and get a real report? It’s not hard.

    Ah, just noted: Dr. Jacob is the one who died in 2010, Dr. Harold–the son–is the one who allegedly “signed” this letter.

  57. Mikey says:

    Hahahahahaha!

    Trump’s campaign has now entered the Hospice Phase. He knows he’s dying and wants to surround himself with his loved ones. #BreitbartCEO

    https://mobile.twitter.com/SykesCharlie/status/765886348049977345

  58. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Trump TV’s advertisers would be, who, exactly? Fox gets advertising because it still has the faint patina of a news organization, and it has the heft of NewsCorp and cultural weight of 21st Century Fox, etc…. But Trump TV would have to compete for the same handful of marginal advertisers that keep Limbaugh afloat – legal loan sharks, financial scams, books by crazy people.

    I read something recently — probably Friedersdorf — that argued that this has been a big part of why the conservative movement has gone off the rails. Once mainstream sponsors pulled their support from Limbaugh et al., they had to go even crazier to cater to the advertisers who would go with them.

    This Trump campaign is going to get worse. It’s going to get a lot worse. By October, we’ll be looking back on when Trump attacked the family of a dead soldier as a time when we were innocent and optimistic.

  59. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Pearce: Current TV worked pretty for Gore’s personal finances…didn’t he sell it to al-Jazira for a pile of money?

  60. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Pearce: I see Scott beat me to the punch. See your point though and that’s why I limited my observation to personal finance issues. He knew when he could sell instead of fold–the no-prize behind door number two.

  61. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @CSK:

    Whatever, they probably won’t be buying books.

    Seems reasonable. People who don’t read generally don’t buy books either,

  62. Monalae says:

    @grumpy realist: No, the doctor’s dad died in 2010. The issue is, his name is on the letterhead. Since it’s unlikely they’d keep the dead doc’s name on the letterhead six years later, it’s one more piece of evidence (along with the non-medical, hyperbolic commentary) that this letter is a forgery.

  63. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “There are opportunities for a newly-invigorated conservative media (The Federalist might count, I guess) but the vulgar Trumpism is going to be a phase all these righties are going to be embarrassed by in a couple years.”

    I disagree. Look at the Tea Party movement. Losses are energizing.

  64. Pete S says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    People who don’t read generally don’t buy books either,

    He could always just give the books to people who make contributions and call it a sale, I think that happens a lot with Republican “authors”. Then the Trump fans can use the books under uneven table legs, because what else would you do with it?

  65. Jen says:

    The master deal maker can’t find a single taker to occupy the restaurant space in his DC hotel.

  66. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    Well, he seems to have gotten the BLT Prime to take over one of the two spaces. What a culinary triumph.

    BLT Prime? That’s just the Golden Corral with pretensions, isn’t it?

    And Trump had to make concessions to them. Loser!

  67. Mikey says:

    @Jen: @CSK: Cucked by restaurateurs? SAD!

  68. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @CSK: I looked them up on the interwebs, and I think Golden Corral is the wrong direction–think Denny’s with pretensions and you’d be closer. From what I could tell, most of their places were in Trump-owned establishments, and they apparently feature Trump steaks. SOOOOOO…