He’ll return to Trump’s, and populists’, good graces eventually. But with numbers like these, probably not soon enough to have avoided hurting Breitbart’s bottom line, had they kept him on. So they didn’t.
Bannon thought he was Michael Corleone when really he was Sal Tessio. I can imagine him whimpering to Rebekah Mercer, “Can you get me off the hook? For old times’ sake?”
Can’t do it, Stevie:
The fact that his popularity dipped so sharply after he was fired from the White House, despite leaving on more or less amicable terms, should have been his first clue as to how much his standing on the right depended upon Trump’s favor. When Republicans were asked whom they find more trustworthy, Bannon or Trump, the president leads … 70/5. The same poll, by the way, has Mitt Romney’s favorable rating among GOPers at a healthy 57/32. Romney is +25 in favorability; the mastermind of Breitbart, “the platform for the alt-right” in Bannon’s words, is -40. For a NeverTrumper, that’s as close as polls get to pornography.
Morning Consult also polled Bannon’s favorability:
He’s at 19/46 among Republicans, in line with YouGov’s data above. How bad is 19/46? His nemesis, Anthony Scaramucci, pulls a 54/32 rating. Bob Mueller — yes, that Bob Mueller — notches a 21/41 result. Bob Mueller is more popular among Republicans right now than Steve Bannon is. Someone should take that number to POTUS. He’d never stop laughing.
“I’ve never seen a self-immolation like this,” said a Trump friend to New York magazine about Bannon. Trump himself made the humiliation complete by dispatching Stephen Miller, the one guy left in the White House with enough populist cred to sting Bannon among his own base, to administer the coup de grace this past Sunday:
When the president saw Stephen Miller, his senior policy adviser and a longtime ally of Bannon’s, at Camp David over the weekend, he suggested to him that he appear on the Sunday-morning talk-show circuit, according to a senior White House official, and Miller, who’s always eager to be on television, agreed. According to the official, on a phone call to discuss talking points for Miller’s appearances, Miller said he didn’t need any help preparing. “He doesn’t have any reluctance about attacking Bannon,” the senior White House official told me, adding that what Miller said “reflects what people here think.”…
It was only a few months ago, in late October, that Bannon introduced Miller to the crowd at a Breitbart Embassy cocktail party as “the last man behind enemy lines.” But when Miller, twitching but steely eyed, said Bannon was an “angry, vindictive person” on CNN Sunday Morning, it was clear those lines had been redrawn around a new enemy. Bannon regarded Miller as something of a protégé, and he proudly took credit for his success; but Miller has acclimated to the ways of Washington, and easily assumed the role of Cronus, who in Greek mythology is the power-hungry son who castrates his father, Uranus, and tosses his balls into the sea.
Bannon’s former patrons, the Mercers, have been scrambling to distance themselves but their logic for doing so has been slippery. This made me laugh yesterday:
Two sources close to Mercers say they felt Bannon had damaged Breitbart brand by doing so much politics and launching crusade against McConnell and Trump
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) January 9, 2018
After years of Bannon flogging the GOP establishment to stunning political success, building huge traffic for Breitbart and helping to catapult Trump to the presidency, the Mercers suddenly decided the site was too focused on electoral politics, huh? Good lord. To the extent there’s truth to that, the NYT supplies it: Supposedly Rebekah Mercer “feared that some of the website’s cheerleading coverage of populist conservative campaigns — like the Senate race in Alabama — could be construed as corporate contributions to those candidates, which are barred under federal election law.” Surely, though, Trump’s rupture with Bannon and the stench of bad publicity for the Mercer family from Bannon’s cultivation of Milo Yiannopoulos and his white-nationalist pals were bigger factors. In the end, Mercer and Larry Solov came to the conclusion that Breitbart could function just as well, if not better, without Bannon’s baggage weighing it down. Look back at those polling numbers above. Who could disagree?