TTP: Reaching Across Time: Four Thoughts on Steve Bannon and Duff Green

Permit me a few additional remarks on the commonalities between Donald Trump (the second Jackson) and Steve Bannon in 2108 and Andrew Jackson (the first Trump) and Duff Green in 1831. As you’ll know from my recent posts, I regard Green as Bannon-like. Green was the moving force behind the United States Telegraph, a new kind of political newspaper in the 1820s and 1830s, one that featured scandal, raw sensationalism, and took careful aim on those it regarded as “establishment”-types. It was also, for a time, a virulent defender of all things Jackson.

Four points resonate with me on the joining of Bannon and Green. First, the role of new, or new-ish, media is critical. Both Bannon and Green take much of their status from that. They revel in that apparent power, crafting it as their own version of the outsider status associated with Jackson and Trump, respectively. Second, both Bannon and Green plant their new media platforms directly in the audiences of new political groups and the attitudes these groups possess. Furthermore along this line, they see themselves as bridges between the president and the newly-rising groups. In the fashion of pre-social medial trolls from long-ago, they guard the bridge with zeal and vigor. Third, the dispute between media outlets and the president identified with those outlets, while personal and petty, also has connections to much bigger issues. Fourth, the split comes early on, before any re-election campaign. Naturally, many important differences exist between Bannon in 2018 and Green in 1831. For me, the truly startling thing is how many similarities there are in spite of the differences.

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