Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.
That was Steve Bannon in 2014 in an interview with Ronald Radosh a Daily Beast writer. It was more of a chit-chat at a book party held at Bannon’s Capital Hill Townhouse.
This same Steve Bannon who wants to destroy all of today’s establishment has been announced as the Chief Strategist for President-elect Donald Trump. Steve Bannon has a history of being a lot of things, and none of them classified as good.
He was the one who ran Breitbart.com and let every Alt-Right wacko write for the blog. He made serious charges against Paul Ryan, John McCain and other Republican Party officials.
He claimed that President Obama had deliberately hired Islamic spies to serve in his administration with the intent of implementing “sharia law” into the United States.
His ex-wife accused him of domestic violence and claimed that he said he did not want his children attending any school that admitted Jews. His publication ran several pieces against women. From one article that claimed birth control made women ugly and crazy to pushing back against women who fight against sexual assault as weak.
John Weaver, a top strategist for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s failed presidential bid, on Sunday tweeted: “Just to be clear news media, the next president named a racist, anti-Semite as the co-equal of the chief of staff.”
Ben Shapiro, the former editor-at-large of Breitbart, has criticized Bannon as opportunistic and sinister. “[Bannon] is a vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies,” Shapiro wrote in the Daily Wire in August.
Breitbart has also had many columns that described African-Americans and immigrants as inherently criminal. Harry Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said Trump’s choice of Bannon “signals that White Supremacists will be represented at the highest levels in Trump’s White House. It is easy to see why the KKK views Trump as their champion.”
To us old people, this sounds an awful lot like H.R. Haldeman who was named as Richard Nixon’s Chief Strategist. It was also announced that Reince Priebus would be Chief of Staff which sounds more like Nixon’s choice of Steve Baker.
Of course the real telling part of the announcement was that Bannon’s name came first. Usually the Chief of Staff is listed as first since that person normally controls who sees the President. The placement of the names suggests that Bannon will have the real power while Priebus is a figure-head to appease the Republican establishment.
Since winning the election last week, Trump has tried to soften his approach. Yesterday on 60 Minutes he even said he was “fine” with same-sex marriage. He said it was settled by the Supreme Court and that it “was the law of the land”.
However, he did not say the same thing about abortion rights. That was settled by the Supreme Court decades before same-sex marriage, so why isn’t that “the law of the land”, too? Instead, he claims he will appoint Supreme Court Justices that will “overturn” Roe v. Wade and send it “back to the states”.
I find that as a somewhat confusing message. How can one issue be the “law of the land” since the Supreme Court ruled on it, and another is not the “law of the land” after the Supreme Court ruled on it?
Trump is still lying and talking out of both sides of his mouth. He is even now claiming that he will deport 2 to 3 million undocumented “criminals” in his first move. Ryan says there will be no deportation force. How do you deport millions of people without a deportation force?
He even claims he “will think about” whether or not he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton. He said during the campaign that he “would put her is jail” if he wins. The one person who is chomping at the bit to be named Attorney General, Rudi Giuliani says he would “definitely” prosecute Hillary Clinton.
It has been said that we would get a “clear” message of what a Trump Presidency would look like once we started seeing who he appoints. This first announcement tells me that we won’t know what his presidency will be like even after he takes office.
The choices he made for Chief of Staff and Chief Strategist are somewhat confusing. One thing we know for sure is that minorities will not get a fair shake with these two running the White House.
If you think Priebus is a “moderate” remember he fully supported Wisconsin’s Voter ID law which was one of the most voter suppressive laws passed. They even cheated during the election by not issuing alternative IDs to people who needed them as the court ordered.
This was no accident either. Many people complained and said the state told them it would take “weeks” to get the proper papers. That meant many people were ineligible to vote just because the state refused to issue them the ID they needed.
There was a lot of talk about the Republican Party suffering through a civil war with Trump’s candidacy. I don’t think that civil war is anywhere close to being finished with his victory. Rather, I think the stakes are being ramped up by Trump and his team.
The consequences of this election are going to shake our country to its core for a long time. I am not convinced that at some point Trump has given up on his authoritarian dreams of setting up a dictatorship in our country. The naming of Bannon as Chief Strategist makes that doubt even more so.
All we can do now is watch and prepare. We need to be ready to fight to hold up Trump’s Supreme Court nominations. We need to be ready to fight to block Trump’s deportation brigade. We need to be ready to fight to stop Trump’s agenda.
With protesters in the streets protesting against the election and hate crimes spiking all across the country, I am not sure if we have gone back to 1932 Germany under the rise of Hitler, or to 1968 America under the rise of Richard Nixon.
In any case, neither is going to be good for America. If we sit back and let either course take place, our future as a country and as a people will be bleak indeed.