If Trump quit or was impeached, Bannon told friends, it would eliminate the first great champion of Trumpism—but it wouldn’t be a negative judgment on the politics that had swept him into office. In such a scenario, who better to succeed Trump than the man who got him elected? Bannon shared his interest in running for president with only a few close friends, and even they were never quite sure how seriously to take these flights of fancy.
But Bannon had thought hard enough about a path to the White House that he’d even toyed with starting a new political party and settled on a name: the National Union Party. That was the temporary name that Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party had adopted in 1864 to attract War Democrats and Unionists. In Bannon’s vision, it would now unite disaffected populists on both ends of the political spectrum.