‘It will be Stalingrad every day,’ if the Republicans lose the House in November, Steve Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist, told me earlier this month at his house in Washington. But, he adds, ‘I think he’s on fire right now. I think the Kavanaugh thing, ironically, will play against the Democrats.’
‘They’re going to start to turn on each other,’ Bannon says of the Democrats if the Republicans continue to close in the polls. ‘The Clinton Junta has never been held accountable. How do you lose the presidency? She’s never been held accountable for that.’
That, says Bannon, creates the perfect storm for her to run.
‘It’s not that she’s going to run,’ Bannon told me. ‘She is running.’
‘People have to understand. Look her at her Rachel Maddow interview, that half-hour. She lays out the theory of the case against Donald Trump. She iterated at The Atlantic Ideas [Festival]. Hillary Clinton is not being shy that she is a candidate for president.’
‘Now,’ Bannon added. ‘I think she’s going to hold back somewhat, to see how. I don’t think she believes anyone today in this field matches up with her. She’s looking for a rematch.’
But Bannon predicts she’ll be unsuccessful: ‘I don’t think she’ll be the Democratic nominee. I think this will be much like the campaign of 1860. I think that Trump – subject to him getting through November 6 — I think you’ll see him galvanise the Right.’
He adds: ‘I think you’ll have a, you know, a [Sen.] Ben Sasse, and [Sen. Jeff] Flake and [Gov. John] Kasich, but it won’t matter. … Someone like a Kamala Harris, or a Cory Booker, or Elizabeth Warren will galvanise the Left. Because the Democrats are being pushed to the left.’
And Bannon predicts third party efforts: from Michael Bloomberg and / or Mitt Romney.
Of Bloomberg, who has indicated interest in running as a Democrats, Bannon says: ‘I don’t happen to believe he think it’s going to be himself,’ who prevails. ‘I think he sees an intellectual construct of a unity party’ forming as the GOP and the Dems sprint to the hard right and left.
Bannon’s comments come as Politico reports that the former White House chief strategist is egging Clinton on. ‘She’s a lion in winter,’ Bannon told the outlet earlier this week. ‘She should run. In the Democratic Party, the question is can anybody throw a punch or take a punch, and one thing we know about Hillary Clinton is she can take a punch.’
But Bannon’s comments seem to indicate that he views her, in the end, as an ego-driven spoiler.
The budding architect of a populist internationale told me in a previous interview that his recommendation on Bill Maher that Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti should run was somewhat of a troll. Avenatti is a political suicide bomber: ‘He’ll take out five or six,’ of the major Democratic candidates, Bannon says, before flaming out himself.
And with regard to Clinton, it appears Bannon is on to something: a trial balloon has been set free.
Clinton’s former aide and close confidant, the gregarious Philippe Reines (he played Trump for Clinton during 2016 debate prepare), told Politico on the chances of a third White House run for Clinton, in 2020: ‘It’s somewhere between highly unlikely and zero. … But it’s not zero.’