This was Bannon putting conservatives on notice about the MAGA movement’s influence over the GOP, a declaration that the far right had arrived as the pre-eminent force in conservative politics — and a warning to establishment Republicans about being loyal to the cause.
Fast-forward to 2024, and Bannon’s season of war appears to be peaking with its biggest casualty yet: Ronna McDaniel’s chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.
Several outlets reported Tuesday that McDaniel is planning to step down after South Carolina’s GOP presidential primary on Feb. 24. MSNBC and NBC News haven’t independently verified the reporting, but it comes after Trump suggested over the weekend that McDaniel should step down.
Bannon then essentially called his shot, saying Monday that he’d like McDaniel gone “today or tomorrow.” He seemed to get his wish the next day.
To mark the occasion, Bannon welcomed right-wing conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell on his podcast for what essentially was a victory lap. Lindell, who last year waged a failed campaign to replace McDaniel as the RNC’s leader, said he would “100%” take the RNC chair job. But he walked back those comments a day later.
As many have noted, McDaniel did just about everything she could to please Trump and the MAGA base, from backing his bigotry to using RNC money to pay for Trump’s legal expenses after he left office. Ironically, this is a pattern of behavior that arguably hampered the GOP’s electoral chances. But the very conservatives she was trying to placate eventually made her a scapegoat for the party’s problems.
But right-wingers were never going to blame Trump for the GOP’s electoral woes: not when they could project their angst onto McDaniel instead. And the fact that Trump has been souring on McDaniel for months seems to have spelled her demise.
NBC News reported Tuesday that Trump’s presidential campaign is planning to take control of the RNC, which would commence Bannon’s grand vision of a GOP truly — and officially — controlled by MAGA acolytes.
Two sources familiar with the planning, including a Trump adviser, told NBC News that Trump’s political organization is considering a plan that would essentially set up two separate organizations: It would leave McDaniel as chairwoman, but she would essentially be a sort of figurehead. Meanwhile staffers closely aligned with Trump would also be installed and have significant power over party operations.
Such a plan would make the Republican Party even more servile to Trump than it already is. To the delight of Trump-loving extremists like Steve Bannon, who has behaved like a rebel general in the GOP’s internal war.