Bannon’s White House ouster may not be as dramatic as it seems

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Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart who salvaged Donald Trump’s flailing presidential campaign, is out of his White House post.

Steve Bannon is out at the White House. For weeks, politicians and pundits have called on Trump to fire the man who made him president, and today it was confirmed Bannon is moving out. While this could hardly be seen as bad news – and after this week, anyone who feels like taking a moment to celebrate probably should – it’s not quite the earth-shattering event that the headlines it’s generated make it seem.

For one thing, it’s not totally clear what Bannon’s formal power was. As the Chief Strategist he was certainly influential, but he was chiefly an advisor to Trump – a role he can continue to play. Bannon himself predicted he’d be in the job only eight months. In that time he was able to begin his goal of “deconstructing the administrative state” by helping Trump appoint cabinet heads who were brazenly hostile to the mission of public service. So his departure may, indeed, have been planned well in advance, and had nothing to do with the political pressure on Trump.

It doesn’t do much to change the crypto-white nationalist composition of Trump’s White House, either. There is still Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Miller, and Jeff Sessions, for starters, not to mention Trump himself. Trump insists there were “very fine people” carrying torches for the Confederate statues in Charlottesville. He first came to national attention in the 1970s over housing discrimination and he rode the birther lie to political prominence in 2011 and 2012. He doesn’t need anyone whispering in his ear to be racist; it comes from within.

What is interesting is to note just how embattled this presidency now is. Republican Congressmen are starting to trickle away here and there. Some establishment Republican pundits have turned away. Even some elements of Big Business, the primary movers and shakers of the GOP, want to distance themselves. Now some of the alt-right, which was always more loyal to Bannon than to Trump, may ponder jumping ship as well – a senior Breitbart writer has already warned that Trump may be “Schwarzenegger 2.0” and many of the reader comments convey a sense of panic and betrayal.

This may cause a fissure for some of Trump’s base, but not much of one. The proudly deplorable racists of the alt-right, who dress like Trump and wear his hats, won’t give up hope. And Trump will still enjoy the support of tens of millions of Americans who simply don’t care one way or the other about race issues, who aren’t that well-informed, or who only want their taxes cut and they don’t care who does it.

And Bannon isn’t going to just disappear gently into the good night, either. His allies are warning that “Bannon the Barbarian” is now unleashed. He already pulled Breitbart from its dark corner on the fringe-right web into being the de facto propaganda network of the US presidency. With the influence he’s amassed in his White House run, Bannon could potentially do far more damage outside the government, as a propagandist and organizer, than he ever could within.

America’s new battle with Nazism is only beginning

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Self-described “identitarian” Peter Cvjetanovic denies being a racist. His face went viral as he marched alongside torch-bearing neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the alt-right – call them what you will, this group of angry, white men had a busy weekend. Hundreds of them descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, for a Unite the Right rally. Demonstrators began a torchlit march on Friday night and by Saturday had turned the city into a warzone, culminating in an act of right-wing terror that caused one death and injured 19 others. In response, President Trump couldn’t bring himself to denounce one side more than any other. Continue reading

Trump’s stock market enthusiasm shows how out of touch he is

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Trump’s unpredictability initially caused the market to worry, but since his election stock prices have soared.

President Trump held a pep rally for himself on Twitter earlier this week, touting his base as “bigger and stronger than ever before” despite all the “fake news” – into which category he put virtually every media source except his dedicated propaganda networks, Breitbart and FOX. Trump then listed some of his successes so far, including economic enthusiasm, the stock market, jobs, and deregulation. As usual with Trump, he is wrong in more ways than are easily counted. Continue reading

The simple reason Republicans can’t reform healthcare

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Disabled protesters outside Senator Mitch McConnell’s office are removed from their wheelchairs and kicked off the premises for voicing their opposition to Trumpcare.

Millions of Americans celebrated last week when Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act seemingly hit a brick wall. After weeks of backroom deal-making, renegotiations, and demonstrations by committed healthcare activists, three Republican senators defected from their party and pushed the latest vote to 51-49 against repeal. President Trump is already working with some senators to revive the effort, but there is a simple reason Republican healthcare reform hasn’t gone well: it has nothing to do with healthcare. Continue reading