|Bannon, Sessions and Flynn|
As the last post noted, white rage and racism swept Donald Trump to power and now he is setting about building a team of racists in his administration to deliver on his promises that America will be a whites first nation. Just as they helped normalize the toxicity of Trump's campaign rhetoric and appeals to the ugliest elements in American society, now much of the media is fast at work trying to normalize the team of open racists and misogynists being assembled by Trump to lead his fascist like administration. We are seeing euphemisms like "conservative" and variations thereof as a smoke screen to shield racists, bigots and homophobes that are rapidly gaining Trump's nod with the help of Mike Pence, an alarming extremist himself. A piece in New York Magazine looks at the slate of foul individuals who, if they have their way, will take the nation back decades and erase much societal progress. Here are highlights:
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign bludgeoned modern norms about the acceptability of racism. The candidate proposed a religious test for immigrants, and called a federal judge unfit on the grounds of his heritage. Trump could have decided to put the racial demagoguery of the campaign behind him, and it could have been remembered as a divisive ploy to win that did not define his administration, like George Bush’s manipulation of white racial panic to defeat Michael Dukakis in 1988. But Trump, perhaps predictably, is making a different choice. His early staffing choices are redefining the boundaries of acceptable racial discourse in Republican politics.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s new national security adviser, would be disqualified from a normal administration on multiple grounds. He is paid by authoritarian regimes in Turkey and Russia, as well as Russia’s propaganda apparatus. Multiple figures who worked with him in the military describe him as “unhinged,” a highly negative quality for a primary foreign-policy adviser.
The singular belief that lies at the core of Flynn’s worldview is indiscriminate hatred of Islam. . . . He openly endorses indiscriminate fear of the entire religion . . .
Jeff Sessions, Trump’s new attorney general, originally had the political profile of a white reactionary Alabama politician in the Old South mode. The Senate rejected his bid for a federal judgeship in 1986 over a series of racist remarks he’d made, some of which he confirmed. Sessions called the NAACP “un-American” and accused it of “forcing civil rights down the throats of people,” and he allegedly called a black lawyer “boy” and warned him to be careful how he addressed white people.
Despite his rejection by the Senate, Sessions won election in the state, and his racial repertoire has since expanded beyond the traditional Deep South mode. He has enthusiastically embraced arch-restrictionist stances on immigration. He objected to the National Endowment for the Humanities distributing books about Islam to public libraries. He is obsessed with a shadowy globalist media-business conspiracy in general, and the role of George Soros in particular.
Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, has attracted perhaps the most controversy. That Bannon’s ex-wife has testified to his hatred of Jews has attracted a great deal of attention, but this fact both over- and understates the racial nature of his beliefs. Bannon’s journalistic work is centrally dedicated to the task of refashioning conservatism along white-identity lines. His publication, Breitbart News, has promoted the “alt-right.” Breitbart itself defines the alt-right as a more intelligent version of skinheads. . .
The theme connecting Bannon’s ideology with Flynn and Sessions is an intensified and narrow nationalism. The Bannonites see a “real” America as under threat by demographic transformation, and the waves of immigrants eating away at its culture from below are in alliance with a global and disproportionately Jewish media and business elite from above. Their project is to preserve white Christian American identity, and wage a civilizational war against Islam in alliance with other white Christian powers, especially Russia.
This ideology is often portrayed as a frontal attack on traditional conservatism. It is not quite that. . . [T]he main points of emphasis in traditional conservatism lie elsewhere. It is primarily concerned with opposing redistribution from rich to poor.
Bannon is less obsessed with cutting the top tax rate, deregulating Wall Street, and reducing social spending than the traditional GOP is, but he does not oppose these policies, either. That generalized agreement, or lack of disagreement, is the reason it is possible for white-identity conservatives and libertarian conservatives to work together under unified Republican government. Paul Ryan may not like racism . . . but he is willing to work with racists to gut the welfare and regulatory states.
If Trump had lost, the GOP would probably have reverted to its traditional anti-government identity very quickly. Now Trump is reshaping it before our eyes.
With the holiday season here, if you want to get a gift for your friends and acquaintances who voted for Trump, Klan robes are probably the most appropriate. And be sure to say "Merry Christmas" to them as you hand them their gift.