“I knew that she couldn’t close,” Steve Bannon tells The Hollywood Reporter‘s Michael Wolff, referring to Hillary Clinton. “They out-spent us 10 to one, had 10 times more people and had all the media with them, but I kept saying it doesn’t matter, they got it all wrong, we’ve got this locked.”
Because, as Bannon explains, Donald Trump connected big-time with “people without a college education…high school people…that’s how you win elections.” As in: The under-educated none-too-brights, the ADD crowd, the xenophobes, the macaroni-and-cheese eaters. Look at jowly, unshaven, pot-bellied Bannon — yes, a brilliant, highly-educated Machiavellian schemer par excellence (albeit from Hades), but he looks like an alcoholic who manages an East Tampa trailer park.
With a straight face Bannon describes Donald Trump as “the greatest orator since William Jennings Bryan, coupled with an economic populist message and two political parties that are so owned by the donors that they don’t speak to their audience. But he speaks in a non-political vernacular, he communicates with these people in a very visceral way. Nobody in the Democratic party listened to his speeches, so they had no idea he was delivering such a compelling and powerful economic message. He shows up 3.5 hours late in Michigan at 1 in the morning and has 35,000 people waiting in the cold. When they got [Clinton] off the donor circuit she went to Temple University and they drew 300 or 400 kids.”
Perhaps the key image or metaphor of Trump’s message to the portly masses was that moment in Richard Donner‘s Superman (’78) when Chris Reeve‘s Man of Steel, howling with grief over the death of Margot Kidder‘s Lois Lane, zooms into orbit and reverses the west-to-east spinning of the globe and in so doing reverses time itself, and this allowing him to save Lane while still alive.
Wolff: “Bannon now becomes part of a two-headed White House political structure, with Reince Priebus — in and out of Bannon’s office as we talk — as chief of staff, in charge of making the trains run on time” — an allusion to the order and efficiency that came into Italy under Mussolini in the 1930s — “reporting to the president, and Bannon as chief strategist, in charge of vision, goals, narrative and plan of attack, reporting to the president too.
“Add to this the ambitions and whims of the president himself, and the novel circumstance of one who has never held elective office, the agenda of his highly influential family and the end-runs of a party significant parts of which were opposed to him, and you have quite a complex court that Bannon will have to finesse to realize his reign of the working man and a trillion dollars in new spending.
“I am,” Bannon tells Wolff, with relish, “Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors.”