“Steve Bannon, the ousted White House chief strategist, is reportedly considering starting a television network which would allow him to “go nuclear” as he settles vendettas with moderate advisers in the White House and pressures President Donald Trump to pursue a populist agenda of economic nationalism.
Allies of Mr Bannon compared him to a “tiger freed from his cage,” suggesting things would get “ugly” as he targets the Republican establishment and what he calls “West Wing Democrats”. (source Daily Telegraph 20 August 2017)
I don’t know what this feels like in the USA, but for those of us on the European side of the ‘pond’, with memory and some history education, this all sounds horribly familiar and quite scary. Bannon’s CV is not so dissimilar to that of Josef Goebbels in pre-war Germany. Like Goebbels, Bannon understands the power of the media, and his ‘Breitbart’ website looks set to spawn a TV channel. Like Goebbels, he plays on the disappointment of a marginalised electorate. By ‘firing’ Bannon, I suspect Trump is really unleashing him to stir up the so-called ‘Alt-Right’, because he is continually baulked by more moderate forces. It is all frighteningly reminiscent of the creation of the Black Shirts, and later the SS, taking politics out of the debating chamber and into the street, with violence. Unlike pre-war Germany, the populace in the US has the constitutional right to bear arms, and don’t they know it: already turning out to rallies in paramilitary gear and carrying automatic weapons. 10 years before the outbreak of WW2, Goebbels couldn’t get elected to save his life. In 1923 Hitler was in prison and on trial for Treason. You all know what happened after that. Trump may be a bufoon, or he may not. Either way his backers, and populist supporters, are dangerous. If Trump becomes a liability, I don’t think the likes of Bannon will think twice about moving him out of the way. .