In all the media analysis since last Saturday about President Donald Trump’s defense of and false equivalence between Neo-Confederate and Neo-Nazi white supremacists — a key constituency of Trump supporters — and the counter-protestors who were the victims of their hatred in Charlottesville, Virginia, the focus has been on when GOP politicians will finally disassociate themselves from Trump and disown him as their standard-bearer. It is indefensible for Republicans to stick with Trump.
But what is missing from this analysis is that Trump is a demagogue who hijacked the GOP for his own purposes, and the GOP made a Faustian bargain with the devil believing that they in turn could use him for their own purposes.
Trump’s supporters are a cult of personality who worship at the feet of this dangerous demagogue. Trump was quite literally correct when he said that “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” among his supporters. They are unquestioning devoted to him.
The GOP can disown Trump, and Trump in turn will disown the GOP, forming his own Trump-centric political party, and taking his cult followers with him. I fully expect to see this happen before 2020.
As the New York Times reported last week, they are only interested in building a movement around their “Dear Leader.” They’re Building a Trump-Centric Movement. But Don’t Call It Trumpism.:
[For] this small group of renegade thinkers on the right, President Trump represents the foundation of what they hope will be a new conservative movement premised on the inward-looking, America-centric approach his administration is pursuing.
Just don’t call it Trumpism.
Building on Mr. Trump’s populist appeal, they are attempting what many of their fellow conservatives have told them is an impossible, even foolish undertaking. They are making the intellectual case for a man who is the ultimate anti-intellectual.
“It took a Trump, of all people, to allow for a certain level of intellectual ferment to take place,” said Ben Boychuk, the managing editor of American Greatness, a new political journal based here in Southern California.
In its inaugural issue last summer, the journal published “Our Declaration of Independence From the Conservative Movement,” which argued that what worked for Ronald Reagan could no longer define the movement.
In their view, Trump is not so much a movement leader as he is a vessel. [In other words, they see him as a “useful idiot,” just like Vladimir Putin does.] “We see a lot of potential here with this particular administration,” Mr. Boychuk said, “but we’re not going to live or die by him.” [No, “we’re going to use him.”]
Until now, this brand of conservatism thrived mostly at the periphery of the movement.
The brand’s admirers include the likes of Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist; Stephen Miller, a senior White House aide involved in immigration policy; and Peter A. Thiel, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has embraced Mr. Trump as someone who could pull the Republican Party away from what he called “the dogmas of Reaganism.”
Steve Bannon is Trump’s chief political strategist — some say the real power behind the throne — and the former editor of Breitbart News, “the platform for the alt-right,” boasted Bannon. How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists.
Point of interest: Bannon contacted Robert Kuttner at the progressive American Prospect out of the blue yesterday to give him this interview, Steve Bannon, Unrepentant (excerpt):
More puzzling is the fact that Bannon would phone a writer and editor of a progressive publication (the cover lines on whose first two issues after Trump’s election were “Resisting Trump” and “Containing Trump”) and assume that a possible convergence of views on China trade might somehow paper over the political and moral chasm on white nationalism.
The question of whether the phone call was on or off the record never came up. This is also puzzling, since Steve Bannon is not exactly Bambi when it comes to dealing with the press. He’s probably the most media-savvy person in America.
I asked Bannon about the connection between his program of economic nationalism and the ugly white nationalism epitomized by the racist violence in Charlottesville and Trump’s reluctance to condemn it. Bannon, after all, was the architect of the strategy of using Breitbart to heat up white nationalism and then rely on the radical right as Trump’s base.
He dismissed the far-right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: “Ethno-nationalism—it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.”
“These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added.
From his lips to Trump’s ear.
“The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
So it appears that this new right-wing “movement” is using Donald Trump and the alt-right white nationalists who are fans of Breitbart as well. This begs the question, who is the real power behind the throne?
Breitbart News is owned and funded by billionaire Robert Mercer, who also owns Cambridge Analytica LLC, the data mining company under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Trump-Putin campaign investigation. Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media.
Robert Mercer is also the Billionaire Breitbart sugar daddy spending $300,000 toward unseating Republican Sen. Jeff Flake:
The billionaire funder of Trump’s campaign, of Breitbart, and of the growing racist alt-right movement is now aiming his checkbook at Trump’s newest enemy—fellow Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
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The Mercer family wants America to be more like Breitbart, and are willing to pony up the dough to make that happen. It looks like that currently means getting rid of the Republicans who, however flaccidly, object.”
This new right-wing “movement” will turn on Republicans who oppose them as well.
Maybe it’s time that the media start exposing Robert Mercer and his like-minded cohorts to public scrutiny as to what they believe and what they are after.
Back to the Times report:
“No think tank has tied this together as an intellectual construct — this populist, nationalist movement,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview, noting how dismissive and often hostile Washington’s conservative ideas machine was to Mr. Trump. “There is still a massive void.”
Today the work of these outsider conservatives is closely read at the White House. The publisher of American Greatness was part of a group of conservative journalists who recently met with the president.
West Wing aides speak their lingo. They were delighted this year to hear Mr. Bannon call for the dismantling of “the administrative state.”
We have too many right-wing billionaires like Robert Mercer, Dick and Betsy DeVos, the Koch brothers, etc. who are using their wealth in our money-driven political system to gain power — but to what purpose? What is their ultimate objective? We need answers to these questions.