Maybe Trump's Not Trying to Win the White House — He's Trying to Start Trump TV

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Photo: Flickr/ Michael Vadon
Media Outlet: Los Angeles Times

Levi Tillemann and Julian Zelizer wrote for the Los Angeles Times about Donald Trump after the election: 

Donald Trump's recent decision to overhaul his campaign staff suggests that the Republican Party's nominee is already looking past November. But his target might well be a job in the media, not the White House.
Wednesday morning, the candidate confirmed that he was hiring Breitbart News’ combative, far-right Chief Executive Steven Bannon to run his campaign. Word also spread that Roger Ailes, recently ousted from Fox News for serial sexual harassment complaints,  was advising Trump ahead of the presidential debates. Meanwhile, Paul Manafort, the controversial political consultant, was demoted.
From the standpoint of someone who is hoping to win an election, this reshuffling doesn’t make sense. Bannon and Ailes have deep knowledge of conservative media, and are perfectly calibrated to appeal to Trump’s red-meat base. But they won’t be much help winning over swing voters, and simply don’t have the experience necessary to run a U.S. presidential campaign in 2016. (Ailes counseled Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, but the game has changed significantly since then.) They don’t know how to mobilize voters and they don’t know how to do the grunt work of making sure that a campaign organization is up and running in all the key states.


Julian Zelizer is a fellow in New America's Political Reform program. He is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and writes a weekly column for

Levi Tillemann was a New America fellow, and the author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future.