Donald Trump’s new campaign manager, Stephen Bannon, has been called the “most dangerous political operative in America.” In hiring Bannon to be his third campaign manager in as many months, the Republican presidential nominee has placed at the front of his campaign a wealthy, highly-intelligent man whose brand, Breitbart News, caters to a swath of conservative individuals who normally would have no voice during a presidential election. Trump has found a campaign manager who thinks “Trump being Trump” is the best way to navigate this election season. He won’t push Trump to “be more presidential.” Quite the opposite, actually. He will allow Donald Trump to run his campaign the same way he did during the primaries, poll numbers be damned.
But the hiring of Stephen Bannon comes with great consequence for a Republican Party that has been teetering on the brink of implosion. Donald Trump has effectively handed the keys of the Republican machine to the alt-right, a collective of modern hipster conservatives — predominantly young white males — who flagrantly stand in stark contrast to their suit-wearing counterparts in Washington, middle fingers extended. The alt-right is what happens when 4chan is given access to cable news networks and their modus operandi — a fact-deficient and deliberately inflammatory social media presence — is largely the reason why seemingly rational people all of a sudden think electing a perpetually orange former reality TV show host to the presidency is a wonderful idea.
The alt-right are a cult of bigotry and white nationalism. Stephen Bannon is their Jim Jones. Breitbart is their People’s Temple.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has been keeping track of the surge in white nationalism that has been associated with Donald Trump’s campaign. Inevitably, the SPLC would have had to focus some of its efforts on the folks at Breitbart, notably Bannon. Under Bannon’s tenure as executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, the media outlet, which is one of the most popular sources of political news and information in conservative encampments, has moved further and further right, and notably during the last year or two, has promoted alt-right ideology to its readers, giving white nationalists, racists, anti-Semites, and xenophobes a sanctuary that in turn, gives their messages access to more people than they ever thought possible.
In 2015, Breitbart published an article titled “6 Reasons Pamela Geller’s Cartoon Contest is No Different from Selma,” complete with a picture of her alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., implying that the notoriously anti-Muslim Geller has spiritual kinship to the revered civil rights leader. The article was published after her deliberately inflammatory “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, Texas.
In March, Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari, along with senior editor and Twitter blacklistee Milo Yiannopoulos, published “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” which stated that websites like Alternative Right, VDARE, and American Renaissance weren’t actually promoting racism, but were merely “accused” of it. The article glorified the “dangerously bright” people who ran these websites as “intellectuals” and “an eclectic mix of renegades who objected to the established political consensus.” The article, as well as its authors, provide beautiful insight into what the late writer Andrew Breitbart’s exercise in commitment to the “destruction of the old media guard” has become — a hypocritical, virulent effort in journalism-by-fear, condemning alleged free speech oppression by the left while remaining critical of the bigots — the “worst dregs of human society,” as Breitbart refers to them — that have been infiltrating American conservatism.
This would all be fine and dandy, except these dregs are promoting the very ideas Breitbart is promoting.
Alternative Right, the baby of Richard Spencer, is a white nationalist website, well-known for an article titled “Is Black Genocide Right?“, which stated that black people had contributed almost nothing to human civilization and asked whether black genocide was something worth considering. Alternative Right has also been the subject of criticism from both the political right and the political left, as well as groups like the SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League.
VDARE, founded by paleoconservative writer Peter Brimelow, is classified by the SPLC as a hate group and is well-known for an article by Steve Sailer titled “Racial Reality and the New Orleans Nightmare,” which, among other racist things, criticized the looting in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina by comparing it to the “minimal looting” in Japan following the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Sailer wrote that the difference between the two is “because, when you get down to it, Japanese aren’t blacks.”
American Renaissance and its publisher, New Century Media (both founded by white nationalist Jared Taylor), are also considered hate groups by the SPLC and are well-known for their anti-Semitic and white supremacist rhetoric. They are also known for the book The Color of Crime, which uses flawed analysis to make an argument that white people are overwhelmingly victimized by black people, as well as Taylor’s ties to former Klansmen David Duke and Don Black.
In 2014, Richard Spencer called Martin Luther King, Jr. a “fraud,” a “degenerate,” and “the symbol and cynosure of White Dispossession and the destruction of Occidental civilization,” before adding that white people must “overcome” the mistreatment he believes white people are receiving. Jared Taylor once wrote that “blacks and whites are different” and that “when blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.” These are the kinds of people Breitbart echoes in their writing and the kinds of people who have received their published endorsement. Even though Breitbart experienced a mass exodus of writers not long ago, due to Breitbart’s failure to support journalist Michelle Fields after she was assaulted by former Trump bosom buddy Corey Lewandowski, many writers who hold alt-right attitudes close their hearts still remain, like Katie McHugh, whose Twitter is composed largely of such hits as:
Stephen Bannon has brought these fringe groups ever closer to the mainstream. Donald Trump has given them great seats to the 2016 election.
This is the consequence of Donald Trump’s decision to hire Stephen Bannon as his new campaign manager. He hired a dangerously intelligent man who can bridge the gap between the mainstream and the virulent Anglocentric fringes. Bannon represents the white nationalist wet dream — a means to promote their ideas beyond smoky backwoods bars and websites sequestered to the parts of the Internet people dare not go. Breitbart’s endorsement of groups like Alternative Right, VDARE, and American Renaissance are a golden ticket to attend what is arguably the most controversial presidential election season in memory.
Stephen Bannon is the sociopath fairy godmother to the alt-right’s hate-spewing Cinderella and Donald Trump just willingly gave the Republican brand to him. Donald Trump’s campaign has been a white nationalist godsend already. Imagine how bad it will be with Stephen Bannon’s influence spearheading it.
Featured image via YouTube.
h/t Raw Story