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trump remodel: Even more conspiracy theory, fewer facts

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Wednesday Aug 17, 2016 · 7:32 AM MDT

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Though the media is talking about the changes to Trump’s campaign staff as a shake-up, it’s actually a doubling-down. Donald Trump has determined what his campaign really needs is more conspiracy theories, more insanity, more hate.

Stephen Bannon, a former banker who runs the influential conservative outlet Breitbart News and is known for his fiercely anti-establishment politics, has been named the Trump campaign’s chief executive. Kellyanne Conway, a veteran Republican pollster who has been close to Trump for years, will assume the role of campaign manager.

“Fiercely anti-establishment “ might be one way of putting it. Bannon is best known for having an antagonistic relationship with the truth and being willing to fake any video, fabricate any number, generate any lie, ruin any life, so long as it serves to feed headlines. A former Goldman-Sachs banker, Bannon championed Sarah Palin before moving to Team Trump. If there’s a Hillary Clinton conspiracy circulating, Bannon created it, funded it, or promoted it.

Kellyanne Conway is a right-wing pollster, former adviser to Newt Gingrich, and last year headed up a Ted Cruz super-PAC. She’s a specialist on testing how ideas and language work within a campaign, a frequent TV talking head, and a free-roaming conservative meme generator.

Trump’s Putin-entangled current campaign manager, Paul Manafort, will stay on, but it seems clear his position will be diminished.

For anyone expecting Trump to tone down his rhetoric on the home stretch, this move signals absolutely the opposite approach. Bannon is the origin of many of the conspiracies that eventually emerge from Trump’s lips—for example the idea that Hillary Clinton is somehow medically incapable of being president is a conspiracy theory that Bannon’s site has been hammering for weeks and which Trump has began to slide into his speeches.

Donald Trump already had an astounding record of putting forward groundless assertions, enough to earn him an unmatched 70 percent untruthful rate at Politifact. This move is designed to erase that last 30 percent.

And for every Republican operative—every RNC official, every candidate down ticket—out there hoping that Trump would put in the work to turn his Punch and Punch Show into a serious campaign, this is the final warning: That’s not going to happen.

Trump’s stunning decision effectively ended the months-long push by campaign chairman Paul Manafort to moderate Trump’s presentation and pitch for the general election. And it sent a signal, perhaps more clearly than ever, that the real-estate magnate intends to finish this race on his own terms, with friends who share his instincts at his side.

The Trump campaign will run for the end-zone powered by a pure willingness to say anything to wound, twist, and cripple not just their opponents, but the election. For anyone standing too close, there is going to be cross-fire.


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