Bannon Declares War on Republican Incumbents

Bannon Declares War on Republican Incumbents October 11, 2017

Ousted Trump adviser and white supremacist Steve Bannon is declaring open war on Republican incumbents in Congress, telling Sean Hannity that he is recruiting primary challengers for every Republican in the Senate other than Ted Cruz.


“There’s a coalition coming together that is going to challenge every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz,” Bannon, chairman of Breitbart News, told host Sean Hannity on Fox News’s “Hannity” on Monday night.

The former White House chief strategist said he plans to recruit candidates who can run against lawmakers who have not faithfully fought to enact Trump’s agenda.

“There’s a basic agenda that Trump ran on and won. He carried states Republicans haven’t carried in living memory — Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. This agenda works. The American people voted for it,” he said in part.

“By the way, [Mitch] McConnell would not be majority leader unless Trump — in North Carolina and Missouri and Wisconsin — was able to carry those senators across the finish line. It’s incumbent upon them to back President Trump’s plan, but you don’t see it,” Bannon continued.

I think it’s important to put this into some historical and ideological context. As I’ve been saying, what we’ve seen since 2009 is the return of the paranoid far right as a political force. It’s essentially the rebirth of the John Birch Society, which was the previous incarnation of what political scientists call paleo-conservatism. Neo-conservatism had held sway on the right since the days of Ronald Reagan, but paleo-cons tend to be isolationists pretty much across the board — trade, immigration, military, foreign policy. They also tend to be highly paranoid and prone to believing in vast conspiracies. 50 years ago it was communists, now it’s “globalists” (whatever that is). They are also highly racist and highly ignorant, as we see in their stance on immigration.

Richard Hofstadter noted a half century ago, as the John Birch Society was just getting started, that we have outbreaks like this on average about every 40-50 years. We were due for another one. The election of a black president seems to have been the trigger for this latest incarnation of know-nothingism. The good news is that this threatens to split the Republican party.

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