The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Tell me more about Steve Bannon’s genius

Stephen K. Bannon went all in on Alabama's Roy Moore and lost. The Fix's Callum Borchers breaks down what the defeat could mean for his sway on President Trump. (Video: Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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Uncle Henry, you’ve been telling me for months that Steve Bannon was a strategic genius. Can you remind me again why?

Oh, yes, he is, absolutely. The man gets results. He has 2040 vision. Not bad vision — I realize that sounds like bad vision — but I mean it in the sense that he is thinking 23 years down the road, to the year 2040.


He has thrown away the chessboard and is playing the whole game using only his mind! Which is sharp as a Bic pen.

Is that, like, very sharp?

He went to Harvard! As he is continually reminding people, the way a smart man who people can tell immediately is smart is forced to do, just constantly name-drop all the places he went to school.

Peter King has said he “looks like a disheveled drunk who wandered onto the political stage.”

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That’s all noise.

So what happened in Alabama?

Well, he picked a candidate who was a true conservative, Judge Roy Moore, to run against Luther Strange, Jeff Sessions’s hand-picked successor.


Yes, that was the name of the man he ran against.

Post columnist Jonathan Capehart says the world is breathing a sigh relief after Democrat Doug Jones's surprise victory in the Alabama Senate race. (Video: Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Is Judge Roy Moore a real judge?

Well, he used to be before they removed him twice for being a true conservative.

Conservative how?

Well, he [starts winking a lot] believed America was greatest in the past.

That’s — is that what a conservative does now … ?

Yes, the past [wink wink] was where it was at.

This doesn’t seem like a good way of appealing to voters from a historically disadvantaged demographic.

It seems to work on white women just fine.

But are there not also black women in Alabama?

Let’s table that for now. Anyway, Steve Bannon, in his wisdom, selected Judge Roy Moore, a man who believed America was greatest in the 1790s, when there were no malls to ban you, and everyone was trying to court 14-year-olds before dying from the complications of a surgery performed with no anesthesia or sterilization whatsoever, and also slavery.

Wait, are these good things or bad things about Moore?

I am just telling you the genius of Steve Bannon’s strategy.

Well, was Moore a good candidate?

Before the race ended, he was credibly accused of molesting teenage girls.

And how did Steve Bannon respond?

He kept him in the race and tried to discredit his accusers using the website

I see.

This was his brilliant strategy.

Did it work?

It almost did, is the thing. 

I assume people denounced Roy Moore and said they did not want to be associated with him?

Well, that is complicated. They did at first, but then it looked like he was going to win, and then they came back and said, “Oh, never mind, we’ve evolved on this whole ‘maybe don’t go after children’ issue.” President Trump supported him.

It seems like it would be a serious problem for the party to do something like that.

You might think so.

Does Steve Bannon think so?

Steve Bannon has a plan that is bigger than any one of us.

Was it Steve Bannon’s plan that Roy Moore ride to the polls on a horse but, like, very badly?

That horse did look very uncomfortable.

If I had to carry a man credibly accused of preying on teenagers to the polls on my back, I would look uncomfortable, too.

We are getting derailed here from Steve Bannon’s genius.

He is one?

Oh yes, if you ignore all evidence to the contrary.

There is a lot of evidence to the contrary. And now the Republican Party will have a margin in the Senate of … one vote?

Look, what would you rather believe: that you were snookered into rebuilding your whole party by a man much dumber and more evil than you realized, or that there are levels at play here we cannot possibly comprehend? I know which I’d prefer.

Read more about this topic:

Alyssa Rosenberg: From Donald Trump to Roy Moore, the difference #MeToo and a year makes

David Von Drehle: Doug Jones’s victory should make Trump nervous

Marc A. Thiessen: Congratulations, Steve Bannon, you just elected a Democrat in Alabama

Erik Wemple: When Breitbart isn’t enough