26 September 2017

Keep an eye on Bannon

No More Mister Nice Blog observes that Steve Bannon has been maintaining a pretty high media profile lately, and speculates that this might foreshadow a run for political office.  It's a possibility we need to consider carefully.

On fringe-right websites, I've already seen a few Trumpanzees (among those disappointed in Trump's capitulations on issues like DACA) talking about Bannon as a 2020 Presidential candidate.  Such talk probably isn't widespread on the far right.....yet.  But as Trump continues to compromise and be generally ineffectual, Bannon may well be able to position himself as a new rallying point.

If so, we can't rule out him getting nominated.  2016 exposed the Republican establishment as utter dithering cowards when tasked with stopping a determined demagogue.  And the party will enter 2020 either with a pitifully-failed Trump still at its head, or with Pence as President and the party disastrously divided in the aftermath of impeachment.  Either case would create an opening for someone like Bannon.  He could sell himself to the Trumpanzees as the true believer, the embodiment of the Trumpism which Trump himself failed to uphold when the chips were down.

If you're thinking that someone as extreme and obnoxious as Bannon could never be a plausible Presidential candidate, think again.  Trump is even more personally obnoxious and identified himself with comparably extreme positions during the primaries.  Bannon has never held elective office, but his stint in Trump's administration and the fact that he served for seven years as a US Navy officer are better qualifications than Trump could claim in 2016.  On election day in 2020 he'll be 66, slightly younger than both candidates in 2016.  His position at Breitbart will allow him to stay in the limelight, at least among the kind of people who support Trump today.

If nominated, could he win?  I think it's unlikely.  Trump's "victory" was a fluke dependent on the coming together of three factors -- vote-suppression laws (it's now virtually certain that this cost Hillary Wisconsin at least), Russian interference, and the distorting effect of the Electoral College (never forget, Hillary got three million more actual votes).  Absent any one of these factors, Hillary would be in the White House today.

Whether vote-suppression laws will still be as big a factor in 2020 depends on whether Democrats can regain control of some swing-state legislatures in 2018.  That's hard to predict at this point.  Putin is unlikely to want a fervent nationalist like Bannon in office unless he gives clear signals of willingness to cater to Russian interests -- and it's remotely possible that by 2020 US authorities will have done something about the vulnerability of our election systems to hacking (don't laugh, it's possible).  The Electoral College will still be in place, but there is a way of neutralizing that problem without a Constitutional amendment if enough state legislatures get on board.  To understand the importance of the latter point, remember that the Democrat won the popular vote for President in every election since 1992, with the sole exception of 2004 (which was a Republican incumbent running for re-election in wartime, and still a very narrow win).  If the President were chosen by popular vote, Republicans would be practically shut out.

But if 2016 taught us one thing, it's the danger of complacency.  Everyone, including me, thought Trump couldn't possibly win.  President Bannon would be essentially President Trump with brains and a real ideological commitment.  It's hard to imagine a more dangerous combination.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That thought crossed my mind this morning while listening to Morning Edition. Hopefully, he'll meet with an unfortunate incident.

26 September, 2017 13:01  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

For myself I don't wish him any harm, but I don't want him anywhere near the levers of power.

26 September, 2017 15:58  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

A few years ago I would have thought the idea that Bannon could be elected POTUS was as crazy as believing that leftist extremist, Abbie Hoffman, could have been elected POTUS back in the late '60x. But then last night right wing extreme extremist Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore beat a right-wing extremist for a runn-off Senate seat in Alabama -- a loss for Trump, who backed Luther Strange, and a win for bigotry. Or as Trump would say, "a very nice person won."

27 September, 2017 05:23  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I never even thought of someone like Bannon running for President, so it's an interesting thought ... maybe? What I know about Bannon, I wouldnt want him as a President or even a VP for that matter. My political views I guess are are kind of messed up, I have no idea who will run or not, I hope for things that dont happen politically etc ... I'm better at analyzing some scam in the markets or whatever, politics, not too much. I actually thought that Clinton was going to win by a landslide for example ... I guess I got sidetracked by mainstream media or polls or whatever. I also talk to several folks locally that are Bernie supporters, telling me they hope he will run in 2020 ... I guess it's possible ... but as I tell folks ... I wouldnt even ask Bernie to run for President again ... geeezz, the poor guy is 76 now, what ... ask the man to run again with that campaign tour at 79? Dont get me wrong, I love Bernie and support the guy 110%, and am not against older folks working, I just am grateful having him as a strong Senator at this point. I actually didnt expect for Trump to turn out like this at all ... I'm not against the man having his opinion ... but when you represent a country as diversified as this and are so prominent in the global arena as well, there is much more that you need to consider. He is not working out well for the interests of even our people in this country. I guess I didnt expect this, because Trump was popular and even had close associates who were more liberal (even noted politicians), he was said to be very popular in mainstream tele with that show he had, beauty pageants, etc. When I listen to what he is pushing now, 9 months into office ... I just did not expect. I also dont like so many of his appointments, there need to be a more diversified lineup. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of establishment democrats either or Hillary Clinton ... I feel that a Clinton administration would have been a Hell of alot better compared to what we have now. I'm not the biggest fan of ACA/ ObamaCare either (I'm definitely for at least a partial single payer type tryout), but what the GOP is trying to do is outrageous ... I feel that we can make improvements to the existing ACA for the time being, if we could just do a little something about the skyrockets health care costs and the growing sort of monopoly, long story though ... I'm outta here.

27 September, 2017 07:09  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

A significant proportion of the electorate is betting increasingly unhinged, that's for sure. Voting for Trump or Moore suggests simple nihilism.

It was fairly predictable how Trump would work out. Lots of people called that one right. Where we all failed was in thinking his chance of winning was negligible.

29 September, 2017 08:50  

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