Politico: Bannon Wanted Palin for President in 2011
According to a new feature story in Politico, Stephen Bannon, the brains behind Donald Trump’s general election campaign (and new White House chief strategist), originally wanted to back another outsider candidate for president: Sarah Palin.
Bannon was an emerging filmmaker in 2011 when Breitbart writer Rebecca Mansour asked him to film a few short videos for Palin’s possible presidential campaign. Bannon went a step further, producing a full documentary around the former Alaska governor called The Undefeated. In it, he sought to cast Palin in a new light, stripping through the mainstream media mockery that had come to define the way many Americans thought of her.
“Palin electrified the conservative grassroots during the 2008 campaign, and she really helped John McCain with that,” Mansour told Politico.
From the article:
Appearing on The Palin Update, a radio show hosted by Sarah Palin obsessive Kevin Scholla on Scholla’s independent network Mama Grizzly Radio, in September 2011, Bannon remarked, “I couldn’t make this film about any other political leader in the country.” He added, “I love all things Palin…Whether she becomes a candidate or not for the presidency, I think these big broad themes of her life and her political life are going to play out on the national level over the next couple of years.”
As it turned out, Palin chose to sit out the 2012 race and focus on her private media ventures. When Bannon went to Breitbart, he hired Palin to write a regular column and she ultimately came to have a significant presence at the site. When Trump threw his hat into the 2016 ring, both Bannon and Palin praised his approach to politics and ultimately endorsed him for president. Bannon, of course, went a step further and actively helped the New York billionaire become the president of the United States.
Both liberals and conservatives have detected a correlation between Palin and Trump and their similar ability to connect with Americans who feel left behind by Washington politics. One writer snarkily referred to Palin as Trump’s “John the Baptist.” Maybe that’s not too far off the mark. Trump was able to pick up where Palin left off, marry her populist conservatism to his astounding business background, and take that message all the way to the White House.
How much credit does Bannon deserve? He deserves his due for one thing, at least: While the liberal world was mocking Trump and Palin, Bannon was watching the supporters. The reactions. The devotion. He took these two insurgent Republicans seriously. For that, he deserves all the credit in the world.