Republicans say Donald Trump needs to make the election more of a referendum on Hillary Clinton to win the White House.
Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, used her party's national convention to cast the election as a referendum on Trump. In the weeks since, her campaign has continued to run television ads underlining the argument that Trump does not have the temperament and judgment to be president. And Trump, the Republican nominee, has played into Clinton’s hands with some recent controversies.
Republicans are hoping that will change in the coming weeks.
“If Trump is going to win, this campaign cannot be about his personality and fitness to be president,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell, a veteran of Arizona Sen. John McCain’s 2008 campaign.
“It has to be a referendum on Clinton specifically being a continuation of the failed [President] Obama record and Clinton’s list of scandals.”
O’Connell sees Bannon’s role as twofold: to keep up the excitement among Trump’s working-class base and to “go after Hillary Clinton in a far more strategic way” than before.
“You can’t just comment on the news as it comes down the pipe or on the scandal of the day, you have to create a long-arc narrative, and I think that’s something Steve Bannon might focus on in an intense way,” he said.
“You may have to throw the kitchen sink at the wall, and some people may just have to bite their tongue along the way.”