In his fateful interview with Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect, Steve Bannon’s remarks about taking a tougher stand on trade with China, battling his enemies within the administration, and the futility of military action against North Korea generated the most headlines. But it was a widely overlooked comment about identity politics that offers the most important insight into the brilliant and cynical political mind of President Donald Trump’s now-departed counsellor and former campaign CEO.
The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ‘em,’ Bannon gloated to Kuttner. ‘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.
Rare does a political strategist so explicitly reveal his game plan. Rarer do his opponents utterly fail to recalibrate their tactics in response.