[Ed. – — – oh, never mind.]
The day after Christmas last year, New York Times sportswriter Marc Tracy by chance spotted Steve Bannon in the Atlanta airport and struck up a chat. Tracy noticed a little virtue-signaling from the incoming White House “chief strategist.” Bannon was carrying David Halberstam’s famous history of the hubris that led three presidents to disaster in Vietnam, “The Best and the Brightest.” “It’s great,” Bannon told him, “for seeing how little mistakes early on can lead to big ones later.”
In a White House fond of superlatives, it would be insulting to call any of its mistakes “little.” Bannon’s mistakes were huge, and they not only led to his ouster, but also the collapse of his grandiose dream: a realigned American political map centered on economic populism.
Days after Trump’s election, a giddy Bannon told the Hollywood Reporter that he was an “economic nationalist,” and then went on to explain what he meant:
“The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia … If we deliver … we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years … Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement. It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan … It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.”
Nothing of this vision came to pass.