Campaign

Bannon seeks to boost Republican turnout in midterms with new film

Former senior White House adviser Steve Bannon is hoping to rev up President Trump's base ahead of the midterms with a new documentary film slated to air on One America News Network Wednesday evening.

The movie, entitled "Trump @War," highlights Trump's work on foreign policy, trade and immigration while cautioning viewers that Democrats will likely attempt to impale his agenda and potentially impeach the president if they take back the House in November.

The pro-Trump film- which features commentary from former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former senior White House aide Sebastian Gorka, Fox News' Pete Hegseth and The Hill's Joe Concha - uses imagery of Trump supporters being physically and verbally attacked.

It also gives a scathing depiction of the mainstream media and the left, using clips of pundits and Democratic lawmakers speaking out against the president.

Bannon, who formerly served as Trump's campaign chief executive and left the White House after the publication of Michael Wolff's book about the administration, said he also plans to target vulnerable GOP districts by getting grassroots groups to show the movie at venues like churches and union halls.

 

His goal is to generate the enthusiasm generated during the peak of the Tea Party movement in 2010.

"There's probably 20 districts that have to be held to hold the majority, and we're doing the compilation with Citizens of the American Public, an analysis with Pat Caddell and John McLaughlin and all the pollsters to target specifically what districts and then basically carpet bomb this thing into those districts," he told The Hill in an interview.

 

He added he thinks a win for Republicans would be a net loss of no more than 20 House seats, short of the 23 seats Democrats would need to flip the House.

"On the left, you have the Times Up movement, you have the resistance, you have Tom Styers Next Generation, you have an entire Netroots Nation - you know, independent expenditure groups that are out there doing a great job," he said.

 

"They're highly motivated and let's call it like it is - they hate Trump, he's triggered them. I don't agree with it, but I understand what they're doing and we've got to counter that."

While Bannon expressed optimism Republicans can retain the majority if they're able to spark enough enthusiasm, he acknowledged they face a number of challenges.

 

He noted the president's polling numbers dipped, especially with independents, following The New York Times' publication of an anonymous op-ed written by a senior administration official stating efforts by Trump's staff to undermine his agenda.

 

Bannon argued Republicans are going to need to rally voters from all factions of the party and independents if they're going to be successful in November.

 

"For us to win, we have to turn out the deplorable base plus the Reagan Democrats," he said in the interview. "You do have to get a certain portion of establishment Republicans in order to do this."

 

"The other side of the coin is you must get Trump deplorables to vote for RINOs (Republicans in name only)," he also said.

 

Bannon cited Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) as an example of a member who isn't necessarily popular with the Trump base, but whose district they are looking to target in hopes of energizing voters.

"You have to not just vote for Pete Sessions, part of our film is that to motivate people. You're going to have to walk a precinct for Pete Session and ring a doorbell and get other people to come out - that's what this is all about," he said.

"The time to debate and argue about RINOs, that was in the primaries. It didn't happen, it is what it is, and any vote that's not for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker is for the Trump program."

Bannon said the president realizes the importance midterms will have in carrying out his agenda and expects he will be in full campaign mode before the end of the month.

 

According to Bannon, the election is a referendum on Trump and is looking to ensure the messaging they used in 2016 will continue to be communicated this time around.

"November 6 is not a midterm - the intensity going up to this thing, it's his first re-elect and he's going to treat it like a re-elect," he said.

"I think by the time we get to late-September, early-October the intensity of a presidential campaign will be here," he added.

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