I recently did an email interview with The Daily Beast‘s Gideon Resnik, who seems to have been put on the “Alt Right beat,” about Trump’s recent hiring of Steve Bannon.
A couple lines were quoted in the finished piece. Here’s the full exchancge.
GR: We spoke recently about the Trump-Ryan endorsement and how it was a kind of disingenuous move away from Trump’s central appeal. Do you think Steve Bannon’s presence helps him focus on what made him popular?
RS: I was quite pleased to read the news when I woke up this morning.
Manafort is a political operative, clearly a skilled and well-connected one, but his tendency is to push Trump towards conventional Republicanism. And so we got the Ryan and McCain endorsements, the recent economic speech, which could have been delivered by Ryan or McCain, Mike Pence, and more.
Trump is not going to win as a conventional Republican. Perhaps he could have done so, if he could rewind time and do it all over again. But he has definitively defined himself as a populist-nationalist and anti-Establishmentarian. Trump recognizes that you “double down” on who you are; you don’t run away from it. Do you see Trump putting his name on a greasy-spoon diner? (Not that there’s anything wrong with greasy-spoon diners) He puts his name on golden towers.
My hope is that Bannon will, once again, “Let Trump be Trump.”
GR: In your professional experience, has Breitbart helped elevate your site and/or provided it with traffic? Do you think Bannon has helped mainstream and raise the profile of white nationalists? Has he made the platform bigger?
RS: Breitbart has elective affinities with the Alt Right, and the Alt Right has clearly influenced Breitbart. In this way, Breitbart has acted as a “gateway” to Alt Right ideas and writers. I don’t think it has done this deliberately; again, it’s a matter of elective affinities.
For years, I was skeptical of Breitbart (the man and the website). The man was clearly talented and interesting, but I associated him with a kind of extreme version of American “conservatism” (think Dubya and the neocons et al.), which I’ve always opposed. The fact that Ben Shapiro was a major Breitbart.com writer made me highly suspicious of the website.
But Breitbart (again, the man and website) always had a populist edge. And the anti-White animus, present in almost every major institution, is so obvious that it would be hard not to notice it and write about it. And as is evident with Milo’s piece on the Alt Right, Breitbart has people on board who take us seriously, even if they are not Alt Right themselves.
So, yes, Breitbart has raised our profile; after all, it’s a major news outlet with millions of views. But the story is complicated.
GR: Have you had private conversations with Bannon? What’s he like?
RS: Never met him. But I’ve heard good things about him. He’s clearly a talented guy. I’m excited to see what he does with the campaign.
GR: Do you view this promotion as a success for white nationalists at large?
RS: It’s not really about us. But I think it’s a good thing.