Once we had the Donald Trump of the Republican primaries. Campaign manager Corey Lendowski more or less just let Trump be Trump. When he became the presumptive nominee and the Republican establishment got nervous about whether he was up to a general election campaign, they kept trying to rein him in, get him to stay on message, and make him seem more presidential.
In came new campaign chief Pual Manafort, and out went Lewandowski. Manafort made the effort but eventually just gave up trying to change Trump. It was so obvious that Trump just didn't want to change, didn't want to be anything but who he is. As one CNN commentor (whose name I didn't get) called it: "like trying to teach a pit bull to waltz." It just didn't work.
So yesterday a second campaign shake-up was announced. A new campaign chairman, Steve Bannon, and a new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, were announced. What to expect? Plenty.
First, expect Trump to be Trump again . . . only moreso. Bannon is the head of the news department and the defining voice of the website Breitbart News. According to a press release, his focus will be primarily messaging. He has no experience in managing a political campaign, but he does know how to raise a ruckus and hurl accusations. Expect him to take the reins off and to encourage Trump to let fly with accusations and conspiracy theory attacks on Hillary Clinton. That's what Breitbart News is known for.
Kellyanne Conway is an experienced political pollster and campaign manager type who has worked for Mike Pence among other Republicans. She may be very competent; but when I have seen her as a Trump surrogate on MSNBC presenting his point of view, I personally experienced her as gratingly offensive, something akin to fingernails on blackboard. Now, admittedly, being irritating to people like me may be exactly what they're looking for -- or it may just be an irrelevant factor. Truth be told, I can think of at least four other Trump spokespersons who affect me the same way. So maybe I just don't like him.
The one bright spot: It will all be over in 84 days. Any thoughts that Trump might quit just went out the window. He's at least going to make one last, yuuuuge attempt. And he's going to do it Trump's way. Trump's way, doubled down and augmented by Bannon's feeding him even more outrageous, false tales to tell.
PS: More about Steve Bannon. Last year, Bloomberg Politics called him "the most dangerous political operative in America." He peddles conspiracy theories and false stories about the Clintons, including "trading cash for favors," involving foreign contributors to the Clinton Foundation supposedly getting quid quo pro assistance from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There is no evidence for any of that, by the way. The Clinton campaign responded by calling Breitbart News under Bannon: "a so-called news site that peddles divisive, at times, racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, conspiracy theories. . . . The merging of the vast right wing conspiracy and the train-wreck that is Trump is now complete."