The media is making much about the so-called “shake-up” in GOP presidential nominee’s Trump’s campaign, smugly noting it’s just the latest in a string of reorganizations since April. More to the point, many are pointing to the candidate himself as the problem, rather than his team or campaign organization.
However, does this really qualify as a “shake-up” or something different? Perhaps you should decide for yourself; I (Michelle Jesse) will offer a few of my own below as well.
As The Wall Street Journal first reported the news:
Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, an outspoken Trump supporter and a former Goldman Sachs banker, will assume the new position of campaign chief executive. At the same time, Mr. Trump also is promoting Kellyanne Conway, a veteran GOP pollster and strategist, to become campaign manager. Ms. Conway has been a campaign adviser for several weeks.
Longtime Republican operative Paul Manafort, who joined the campaign late in the primary season, remains campaign chairman. But the reset is designed to bulk up a structure that many Republicans have complained wasn’t adequate for the rigors of the general-election campaign.
Mr. Trump’s campaign has fallen further behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in most national and battleground-state polls in recent days, and some Republicans had been hoping for a course adjustment before the traditional Labor Day kickoff of the general-election race.
“I want to win,” Mr. Trump said in an interview Tuesday night in which he disclosed his hires. “That’s why I’m bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win.”
The bolstering of Trump’s top campaign structure also comes at a time when his chairman, Manafort, has been dominating headlines with questions about his work he did for a Ukrainian political party with close ties to Russia — never mind Hillary Clinton’s campaign’s ties, of course, which we reported here.
The WSJ reports, Manafort will remain an influential strategist, but the group of top advisers at the campaign widens with the new additions.
Separately, in a campaign meeting on Monday, Mr. Trump, his advisers and family members discussed the need for the candidate and campaign to stay on message to avoid giving foes “ammunition against him,” one person familiar with the situation said. That afternoon, Mr. Trump delivered a speech laying out an antiterrorism strategy in which he largely stuck to his teleprompter script.
It isn’t entirely clear what changes the new management will bring, though they are expected to ramp up digital and advertising efforts.
Mr. Trump said he would begin “substantial advertising” this Friday. “Hillary Clinton has spent $100 million on ads, and I’ve spent nothing,” Mr. Trump said. “But I’ve raised a lot of money and put in my own money, and now I’m going to start ads in three days.”
In addition, the new team is likely to beef up campaign work in polling and analytics, areas of strength for Mr. Bannon and Ms. Conway, advisers said.
The appointment of Mr. Bannon is likely to stir its own controversy. Breitbart News, which he runs, is a freewheeling populist news site that has served as a kind of platform for Trump supporters. He has, among other things, helped produce a movie about the personal wealth of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The NYT calls Bannon a “bare-knuckled fighter.”
Former Trump manager praised the campaign’s hiring of Bannon, telling CNN’s “New Day” it’s a “clear indication” that Trump wants to win, noting that Bannon’s strategy running the conservative site Breitbart was “win at all costs.”
“And I think that really makes some people on the left very afraid because they’re willing to say and do things that others in the mainstream media wouldn’t do,” Lewandowski said.
MSNBC’s headline and subtext encapsulates how many other media outlets are portraying these latest additions to the Trump team
For the third time since April, Donald Trump has overhauled his campaign leadership team. There’s a reason this keeps happening.
And yes, most of us would agree there are times when Trump — in his off-the-cuff style that is partially to credit for his popularity — goes a bit too far in offering up fodder for the opposition.
However — and here’s something you will never hear from the lamestream media — unlike Hillary Clinton, who’s had a veritable machine behind her for decades now, Donald Trump is truly a newcomer to politics. Wouldn’t one expect some evolution of the organization over time in this case? Indeed, in my years in Silicon Valley, this kind of change was just about the only thing we knew to rely on in our organizations.
And maybe “shake-up” isn’t exactly the right word to describe what just happened, as it implies heads have rolled and somebody’s out. In this case, no one is out; it appears it’s more like Trump campaign team 2.0 — the newly-released version that has new features integrated with the existing.
Personally, I think the move is good news for Trump.
But we already know the media, and even conservatives like Bill Kristol, are seizing upon anything and everything they can to fuel their narrative that Trump’s campaign — and his chances at the White House — have all but evaporated suddenly.
I look forward to seeing the fruits of Trump’s newly-bolstered campaign team.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]