Donald Trump shocked the media and American people just two months ago when he made major changes to his campaign leadership, as he brought in Paul Manafort to run the campaign and removed Corey Lewandowski from his position as Campaign Manager. Earlier this week, Trump made even larger changes to his campaign team, as he announced the addition of two new officials to his leadership staff. With less than three months to go before Election Day, these changes indicate that Trump is growing wary of his lagging poll numbers and is trying to make a major move to defeat Hillary Clinton.
With Manafort drowning in a scandal linking him to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, Trump has brought in Steve Bannon, Executive Chairman of Breitbart News, to be the Chief Executive of the campaign. He also brought in Kellyanne Conway, a leading pollster, to be his campaign manager – a position that has not been filled since Lewandowski’s exit. While Manafort has not technically been ousted for his controversy, “sources close to the campaign told CNN that while Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates will remain on staff, they will return to their Washington, D.C. base largely sidelined.”
Let’s now take a look at what Bannon and Conway will bring to the Trump team. While Manafort attempted to professionalize Trump and make him a more traditional presidential candidate, Bannon will allow Trump to do as he pleases. "I am who I am. It's me. I don't want to change. Everyone talks about, 'Oh are you going to pivot?' I don't want to pivot. You have to be you. If you start pivoting you are not being honest with people," Trump said in a recent interview. The Breitbart executive believes that Trump’s outsider credentials allowed him to secure the Republican nomination and will be equally valuable come November. It has also been reported that he and Trump align neatly on several crucial campaign issues, such as Trump’s position on illegal immigration and American global hegemony.
In an interview with PBS last night, Conway explained that her expertise in the polling industry will lend itself well to Trump’s campaign. She noted that the new staff plan to run a “less partisan” campaign in order to pick up moderate voters that are disenfranchised with Washington’s elite.
As Trump’s poll numbers show him far behind in crucial swing states and at the national level, this move will be crucial for the campaign. With this, Establishment Republicans have already criticized the shake-up, one famed GOP strategist saying that “both [Trump and Bannon] play to the lowest common denominator of people’s fears. It’s a match made in heaven.” A key Romney advisor said that “this is Trump going back to the nativism and nationalism that fueled his rise in the primary, but it’s very dangerous to the future of the party because it only further narrows the appeal of a party whose appeal was already narrow going into this cycle.”
What do you think about this campaign shake-up? Will it help Trump?