In a disturbing post by Axios' Mike Allen, the first week of the Trump Disaster suddenly comes into focus:
White House and Hill GOP leaders are astonished by the unambiguous, far-reaching power of Steve Bannon and policy guru Stephen Miller over, well, just about everything.
They wrote the Inaugural speech and set in fast motion a series of moves to cement Trump as an America-first Nationalist.
They maneuvered to get more key allies inside the White House and positioned for top agency jobs.
They wrote many of the executive orders, sometimes with little input from others helping with the transition.
They egged on Trump to take a combative approach with the media, China, Mexico and critics.
Assuming all of this is true, and there's no reason to suspect it is not, the United States is now being run by white nationalists. Our "president" really is a puppet and the next best thing to Nazis are pulling his strings. Republicans assumed they would be the ones pulling the strings with Reince Preibus as Chief of Staff but, so far, they've been badly outmaneuvered.
This isn't the first time a Republican president has been a figurehead. Dick Cheney infamously ran the country for several years until George W. Bush decided he'd try being president for a while. Bush was not a very good president, but he at least understood how the job was done and was capable of doing the work. Trump, on the other hand, lacks the intelligence, experience and discipline to even successfully pretend to be president. He's just smart enough to know that he'd rather watch TV and let everyone else do all the work.
That means that the direction of our country is in the hands of virulent bigots that despise America. In 2013, Bannon admitted as much:
Then we had a long talk about his approach to politics. He never called himself a “populist” or an “American nationalist,” as so many think of him today. “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.
Shocked, I asked him what he meant.
“Lenin,” he answered, “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.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.
Bannon's choice of weapon for this destruction is white nationalism, an easy-to-manipulate movement predicated of hate and rage. You have to look no further than Breitbart.com to see Bannon's vision of America, one in which white Christian heterosexual men have total control and minorities are second class citizens. And that's assuming minorities will even be allowed to live in the newly-bleached America. The comment section of Breitbart, which Bannon is quite proud of, is a toxic mix of hate and promised genocide.
It's tempting to dismiss the rantings of internet basement dwellers as irrelevant but Bannon is their leader and he's in control of Donald Trump. The last week has seen concrete movement on Bannon's white nationalist agenda; the first baby steps of fascism based on white supremacy, if you will. And while it's possible that Bannon's goal is simply the collapse of American society, what, exactly, do you think he plans to replace it with if not the very Nazi ideology so many of his followers openly praise?
In the coming weeks, Republicans are going to have to make a choice: Do they acquiesce to Bannon's rule by proxy or do they remove him from power? Right now, Republicans are getting everything they want so they have every incentive to play along. But Bannon and Trump have no loyalty to them whatsoever and Trump's erratic behavior is going to start hurting them more than Bannon's agenda helps them. The question then becomes whether or not the Republicans will be able to stop him or if too much of the party apparatus will have been taken over by Trump loyalists the way we saw in Ohio.
Inevitably, the White House is going to turn into a modern day House of Borgia, with infighting, scandal and backstabbing becoming the norm after 8 years of No Drama Obama. This explains the unprecedented number of damaging leaks from a White House that TPM's Josh Marshall describes as less like a sieve than "a bucket with no bottom." Everyone is jockeying for power like the cheap reality TV show Trump has turned the Executive Branch into. Drain the swamp indeed.
All of this means that we're in a time of unprecedented danger as a country. The Republican Party is an immoral gathering of greed and hunger for power but their goal is not to destroy the country, just to sell it off to the highest bidder. Bannon makes no secret of his desire for what amounts to a Fourth Reich. If Republicans take too long to tame the tiger they're clinging to, their going to get mauled along with the rest of us.
Meanwhile, "President" Trump will continue to rubber stamp whatever is put in front of him and anesthetize himself with television, Twitter, rallies and praise from his followers. It's all he's good for.
- This article kills fascists
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