The Current

Trump's campaign shuffle is 'crazy pants,' says former GOP strategist

If you thought the U.S. presidential election campaign couldn't get any darker, it just did with the shakeup of Trump's campaign. The appointment of the new Republican presidential campaign's CEO Steve Bannon suggests Trump could be getting meaner.
Many Democrats are pleased with Trump's latest campaign shuffle as they see this move leading to a large Hillary Clinton victory in the fall. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

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As of this week, Steve Bannon is leading Donald Trump's U.S. presidential campaign. It's part of a major, behind-the-scenes shakeup inside the Trump camp, presumably in an attempt to close the wide gap between the Republican candidate and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Bannon has never run a political campaign in his life so starting at the presidential level is a little crazy pants.- Beau Phillips, former Republican campaign strategist 

Bringing in Bannon has been controversial amongst Republicans. After all, he has been dubbed "the most dangerous political operative in America" by Bloomberg news.

Many argue this move leaves little chance for Trump to become the next U.S. president.

According to former Republican campaign strategist Beau Phillips, Trump's "irrational campaign" shuffle is spiralling downwards.

"It seems like yet more turmoil and not exactly the right people to be steading a ship that is already sort of in choppy waters," Phillips tells The Current's host Connie Walker.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump overhauled his campaign on Aug. 17, hiring the combative head of a conservative news website, Stephen Bannon, as chief executive officer and promoting a seasoned political operative, Kellyanne Conway, to a senior role. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

"Bannon has never run a political campaign in his life so starting at the presidential level is a little crazy pants."

Kenneth Baer, a Democrat and former White House official and strategist for the Obama administration, welcomes Trump's campaign shakeup as he believes it will lead to a victory for Clinton.

He tells Walker that Trump's move shows he's "failing the first basic test to be president of the United States and that is to be successfully managed in a presidential campaign and put your message out."

However, Baer confesses that as an American he is very uncomfortable with Trump reaching out to an "odious character" like Bannon.

There are people out there who hear inflammatory rhetoric and act on it.- Kenneth Baer, former Obama White House official

Phillips isn't as convinced as Baer is that hiring Bannon is a guaranteed win for Clinton.

"No campaign has ever been won or lost in the history of this country based on who the campaign manager was and I don't think this is going to be any different."

But he tells Walker that if Bannon allows Trump to continue the type of campaign he's been running — a campaign filled with "petty grievances" — then "he'll lose for sure."

Baer predicts "a doubling down of the worst parts of Donald Trump" as the campaign continues. He feels "it's actually the scariest part of it."

"There are people out there who hear inflammatory rhetoric and act on it."

Baer says he's aware that "anything can happen" and that Trump could still possibly win. But less than the possible end result, he's more concerned with Trump's tactics leading up to it.

"I think how we get to that end result could have big consequences."

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant, Marc Apollonio and Ines Colabrese.