Steve Bannon is right when he says the Trump presidency is unchangeable.

“We still have a huge (alt-right) movement, and we will make something of this Trump,” Bannon told The Weekly Standard just before he lost his job as Trump’s political strategist. “But that presidency is over.”

Bannon understands that Trump is essentially unteachable, and that his presidency is not going to change.

In contrast, the prevailing wisdom wrongly assumes that the president either can change or can be forced to.

Steve Bannon figured out that being inside the White House didn’t mean that he could wield influence over Donald Trump.

Michael Vadon/

So let Steve Bannon be your Trump guide.

You have trouble thinking about Bannon as your mentor? Understood. So just consider him as a canary in a coal mine full of dangerous misunderstandings about the president.

And speaking of mentoring, you can see the difference between the True Trump and the Prevailing Wisdom Trump by looking at Bannon’s career as the president’s strategic advisor.

But first take a closer look at the false prevailing understanding of Trump: the myth of change and the myth of control.

The change myth has two variations: the office will change Trump as he learns the ropes, or he has finally done something so over the line that there will be a significant backlash that will force him to change.

How many times have you said, with both disgust and hope, “Trump really did it this time. People are finally going to see the light.”

You have been right exactly never.

President Trump has minimal interest in broader ideological movement-building of any kind whatsoever. He has little interest in getting ideas from any sources other than himself.

The control myth assumes that the president’s behavior can be altered with the right combination of savvy staffers — Gen. Kelly, his new chief of staff, being the latest hope and dream.

Both myths assume somehow that Trump will either see the light or succumb to the consequences.

Charlottesville is one of the latest examples of common mythical analysis. Post-Charlottesville, one writer said that Trump suffered a “fierce national backlash.”

Really? How many times have we heard that before?

Post-Charlottesville it has also become fashionable to repeat the hoary notion that there are two Trumps: scripted and unscripted.

One writer recently called this Trumpian toggling between the two “disorienting.” Well, it is only disorienting if you succumb to the Two-Trumps mythology.

It’s plenty orienting if you take a broader one-Trump perspective. His flip-flops are simply bumps on the trend line that always moves toward the essential, unscripted, unwavering Trump.

His scripted stuff is merely listless, reluctant teleprompter orations like it’s a mandatory speech class assignment.

Only Trump controls Trump. Always has, always will. Or as Kelly puts it: I control the staff. I do not control the president.

We’re wrong to think that any combination of circumstances could lead this man to change his ways.

Flickr: Gage Skidmore

To see how the control and change myths limit our understanding, consider the relationship between the president and Steve Bannon himself.

Let me put you in the right frame of mind. Try to imagine — come on, even you Trump supporters — what it would be like to be Donald Trump’s tutor.

Which Bannon hoped to be. Bannon is an idea guy — a communicator with a strong (but wrong) intellectual capacity, a full vision and a clear alt-right agenda.

Many people, gazing through the control/change conceptual looking glass, simply assumed that he would have the president’s ear. Bannon would be the powerful Breitbart guy with the wherewithal to be Trump’s Svengali.

As evidence of this, people often pointed to Bannon’s famous White House white board, which was full of notes about action plans and timetables purportedly teaching the president the ins and outs of a populist alt-right agenda.

The white board as totem; the political advisor as an alt-right medicine man instructing the eager neophyte about cures for the sickness of the deep state.

Enough with the influence of the white board already. Never happened.

Bannon’s white board had the same impact as a Power Point presentation in a mandatory sexual harassment workshop.

Bannon found out the hard way that this agenda-building, mentoring process was a political fantasy because the president is not a learner.

He has minimal interest in broader ideological movement-building of any kind whatsoever. He has little interest in getting ideas from any sources other than himself.

Why is Steve Bannon ahead of the curve? Why do the prevailing myths keep getting repeated?

The most obvious reason is that Republicans continue to perpetuate them. A recent survey showed that about 60 percent of Trump voters can’t imagine anything he would do that would change their mind about him.

Much media coverage implicitly assumes that chaos will harm the president and control will win the day.

Most GOP big-shots from state party leaders to members of Congress either refuse to criticize the president or do so in gentle optimistic ways that imply the president is educable.

Paul Ryan described Trump’s Charlottesville behavior as “messed up,” as if Trump is a pizza guy who delivered a veggie when you ordered the Carnivore Supreme.

Media coverage has played a large role. Typically, analysts have misunderstood and underestimated Trump from the start. Most of them thought that unless Trump changed, he would lose the election. They could never quite believe that such an unconventional candidate could get away with it.

That legacy continues. Much coverage implicitly assumes that chaos will harm the president and control will win the day.

That’s typically true with conventional politicians. It’s not true with Trump.

Finally, Trump resisters themselves perpetuate the two Trump myths by letting their indignation affect their understanding.

Trump critics habitually think that what he does is so offensive — “pussy” tapes, Trump Hotel, the Russian investigation, Charlottesville, Phoenix, Joe Arpaio and now his initial narcissistic comments about Hurricane Harvey — that he has finally gone too far and will be compelled to change.

“This time he’s going to get it for sure.” Wanna bet? I’ll bet against that every time.

Many of you are probably happy that the alt-right provocateur Steve Bannon failed.

You should be far less happy that he probably has a much better understanding of the president than you do.

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