Former White House strategist Steve Bannon sat down with The Guardian, offering his take on everything from Boris Johnson's win the the recent UK election, to why minority support for Trump is on the rise, and finally - why the GOP needs its own version of AOC.
Bannon says that Boris Johnson's sweeping UK victory over Labour's Jeremy Corbyn is a "victory for populism," noting how he was fascinated by focus groups on British TV during the election campaign. "These were Labour voters and they were not going to vote for Labour and the reason was they kept asking, ‘How are these programmes going to be paid for?’ What I was most impressed with was the specificity and the granularity of the questions.."
"People don’t want to be spun any more. They don’t want to be BS’d any more. They want to know what you’re laying out and how you’re going to effectuate it and, most importantly, how you’re going to pay for it and ‘if paying for it means more increased taxes or less opportunities for me, you’re not going to get my vote no matter how good it sounds’."
"I think the Democrats, on whether it’s Green New Deal or healthcare for illegal aliens or whatever, ought to take the lessons of the working class. These are lifetime Labour members that voted for a Tory," Bannon added.
Bannon regards Johnson as neither a nationalist nor a populist and likens the prime minister’s vision of Brexit to “Singapore-on-the-Thames” – very different from the version hoped for by those who voted for him. Even so, Bannon argues that both the Conservatives and Republicans should aim to seize their traditional rivals’ territory by appealing to the working class. -The Guardian
Bannon explains that nationalism is about protecting the working class from both illegal and legal immigration - which disproportionately hurts minorities.
"Look, this is what drives me nuts about the left. All immigration is to flood the zone with cheap labour, and the reason is because the elites don’t give a fuck about African Americans and the Hispanic working class. They don’t care about the white working class either. You’re just a commodity".
"So they have unlimited labour and they’re paying you nine bucks an hour. ‘Let more guys in and, by the way, it’s bigger markets.’ It destroys the working class. That’s what we’ve got to protect. Once we show working-class people of every ethnicity and race that you being a citizen you get a special deal, you get that realignment."
"As soon as we won in London at the end of June, I kept saying this is a lock for Trump, we’ve just got to drive the same topics. That’s why, when I took over the campaign, it was let’s get back to some basics: stop mass illegal immigration, limit legal immigration, protect your workers. Why do you think Trump today is at 34% approval rating in the Emerson polls among blacks and 36% among Hispanics? He’s going to get 20% of the black vote and here’s why: everybody’s working," said Bannon.
Why the GOP needs an AOC, and Trump can thank Bloomberg for impeachment
"We’ve turned the Republican party into a working-class party," said Bannon, adding "Now, interestingly, we don’t have any elected representatives who believe that, but that’s a legacy issue. We’ll get over that. We’ve got to find our AOCs."
In short, while Trump swept into office on an America First policy aimed at supporting the working class - particularly those in flyover states, the Republican party needs "more bartenders."
Bannon says that the Democrats took back the house in 2018 for two reasons; Mike Bloomberg - whose PAC injected $110 million into supporting Democrats in the midterm elections (21 of the 24 candidates he supported won their races), and "better casting."
Ocasio-Cortez, a 30-year-old former bartender from New York, was elected to Congress last year and has built a huge social media following as a member of “the Squad”, a group of four progressive women of colour. Her eagerly sought presidential endorsement went to fellow progressive senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
The Democrats and their supporters have “better casting”, Bannon admitted. “They did an amazing job in 18. I keep saying I admire AOC. I think her ideology’s all fucked up, but I want her. I want to recruit bartenders. I don’t want to recruit any more lawyers. I want bartenders.” -The Guardian
He notes that in addition to AOC and 'the squad,' Democrats had military veterans such as Max Rose of New York and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey. "That’s perfect casting. That’s why we got smoked."
On Bloomberg, Bannon says "people are missing the point."
"Trump wouldn’t be impeached if it were not for Bloomberg. It’s Bloomberg’s hundred million dollars that won the seats … The Democrat party is just like Republicans: a pass through. There’s no actual people to do anything. They’re not out in any state ringing doorbells. Those activist groups are. That’s where Bloomberg put his hundred million dollars."