Why Republicans Should Be Worried About Steve Bannon

Anyone reading the news today is going to learn more about the man Donald Trump just named as his chief strategist and counselor – Steve Bannon. Much of what is being talked about is Bannon’s work as executive chairman of Brietbart News, which, as Sarah Posner reported, became the media platform for the alt right (i.e., white nationalists). Already we’ve seen statements from the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemning this appointment. Harry Reid plans to give a speech about it tomorrow. Here is one of the people I admire most – Bryan Stevenson – talking about the global implications:

To the extent that Republicans failed to be alarmed at the prospect of a white nationalist in the White House, perhaps they should pay attention to Bannon’s less publicized venture, the Global Accountability Institute (GAI). We all just witnessed how Bannon used this entity to weaponize the story about the Clinton Foundation with publication of the book, Clinton Cash (which became the primary basis for an FBI investigation). According to what Joshua Green reported a year ago, the next subject was going to be Jeb Bush. Given how poorly he did in the presidential primary and the results of last week’s election, that might change. As Green reported:

…he [Bannon] sits at the nexus of what Hillary Clinton once dubbed “the vast right-wing conspiracy,” where he and his network have done more than anyone else to complicate her presidential ambitions—and they plan to do more. But this “conspiracy,” at least under Bannon, has mutated into something different from what Clinton described: It’s as eager to go after establishment Republicans such as Boehner or Jeb Bush as Democrats like Clinton.

With both Boehner and Bush out of the way (thanks in large part to Bannon’s efforts, including at Breitbart News), it will be interesting to see where Bannon takes this “movement:”

…Bannon said, “Regardless of the outcome, there has been a sea change in American politics. This movement, as I keep saying, is just at the top of the first inning.”

Bannon’s use of the word “movement” is revealing. He’s one of the few genuine ideologues in the Trump circle. He has a very clear and coherent idea of what Trumpism is, perhaps more so than the candidate himself. For Bannon, “the movement” isn’t just about electing one man, but a worldwide revolt of different nationalist groups opposing a globalist elite.

That’s what makes this tweet in the aftermath of the presidential election from Marion Le Pen, granddaughter of Front national founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, and niece of current FN president Marine Le Pen, so alarming.

Steve Bannon knows exactly where he wants to take the Republican Party. Unless the GOP is prepared to become the U.S. version of a white nationalist party, they’d better speak up soon about giving someone like Bannon such a prominent seat at their table. He’s demonstrated the ability to “burn it all down” in order to get what he wants.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .