The relationship between the G.O.P. nominee Donald Trump and Goldman Sachs has been strained this election season, to say the least. He’s been more than a little dismissive of Wall Street—and even worse to Goldman’s candidate-in-law Ted Cruz. One might even get the idea from his supporters that he’s no fan of the bank of which he is a shareholder, an antipathy that Lloyd Blankfein, Gary Cohn, et. al. apparently share in reverse—not that they needed to worry about it. On the other hand, when the Donald surprised everyone including himself by winning the nomination and thus needed to consider having a campaign finance chairman/Treasury Secretary-designate, he turned to the ranks of the Goldman Sachs alumni association.
In case you think that smacks of a little too much professionalism in his campaign, gaze upon the latest Goldman veteran to hop on the Trump train: Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s second new campaign chief. Bannon will be charged with allowing Trump to once again be Trump, because apparently within Trump Tower, there’s a sense that there’s a lot more in the “attack a Gold Star family” and “accuse the president of founding ISIS” tank—and that is how he’s going to turn this thing around. Bannon, of course, is now head of one of the most morally-challenged presences on the internet—an impressive feat—but he’s had quite a life: He accepted a stake in Seinfeld in lieu of an advisory fee before Seinfeld became Seinfeld. He founded an investment bank with the former manager of the Backstreet Boys. He likes cargo shorts. He’s been called—by his own former and late boss and not by a sworn enemy—the “Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement,” exactly the kind of direct Nazi comparison that used to exclude one from things like running a major party's presidential campaign.
But the most important thing to know about Steve Bannon is that he learned everything he knows and will use to put Donald Trump into the Oval Office at Goldman Sachs.
They would heed the lesson Bannon learned at Goldman: specialize. Hillary Clinton’s story, they believed, was too sprawling and familiar to tackle in its entirety. So they'd focus only on the last decade, the least familiar period, and especially on the millions of dollars flowing into the Clinton Foundation. Bannon calls this approach “periodicity….”
While he’d blanch at the comparison, he’s pursuing something like the old Marxist dialectical concept of “heightening the contradictions,” only rather than foment revolution among the proletariat, he’s trying to disillusion Clinton’s and Bush’s natural base of support, recognizing, as Goldman Sachs taught him, that you’re more effective if others lead the way.
This Man Is the Most Dangerous Political Operative in America [Bloomberg Businessweek]
Trump shakes up campaign, demotes top adviser [WaPo]
Trump Campaign CEO’s Résumé Includes Goldman and ‘Seinfeld’ [Bloomberg]
Stephen Bannon, Trump’s New C.E.O., Hints At His Master Plan [Vanity Fair]
Another Goldman Sachs Alum Joins Donald Trump’s Campaign [Fortune]