Democrats May Just Miss Bannon, MINDSETTER™ Fecteau

Monday, August 21, 2017


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Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon

The Democrats might just miss White House Chief Strategist Mr. Steve Bannon. A favorite political target of Democrats, Mr. Bannon was very influential to President Donald Trump’s uber-nationalist agenda. He was also responsible for much of the political incompetence and drama emancipating from the Trump White House, making substantive legislative accomplishments difficult, if not near impossible.


The nationalists within the Trump administration had some small victories such as withdrawing from the transpacific partnership and the Paris Climate Accords, but no real legislative accomplishments (e.g. tax reform, and repeal and replace Obamacare) because of much of the never-ending drama (political capital is fleeting in Washington D.C.). Consequently, we have one of the least productive presidential administrations in contemporary American history – all Democrats should agree that is a good thing.


Mr. Bannon was one crackpot out of many in this convoluted caravan of circus freaks that was banished from the most powerful office in the world. For those of you keeping score, this one of many resignations including Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Chief of Staff Rein Priebus, Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The White House that has gone through many more shake-ups than in contemporary history (makes you wonder if electing a reality television star known for firing people was a good idea?). 


However, Mr. Bannon was in a class all his own.  A self-proclaimed economic nationalist, Mr. Bannon was the chief architect of Breitbart News Network, a news network that catered to the worst in society, the uber-nationalists and white supremacists, and promulgated conspiracy theories. Personally, Mr. Bannon championed an ideological platform that was ultra-protectionist, anti-globalization, and full blown non-interventionist. A man with so much baggage, Mr. Trump spent more time defending him than pushing his alleged America-first agenda.


There were some benefits to a coterie of crazy characters and drama queens such as Mr. Bannon. With all the unrelenting drama and chaos unfolding, the Trump administration had to expend political energy leaping from one self-inflicted political crisis to another, rather than concentrate on a cogent far-right, nationalist agenda that he promised his supporters. Instead, he has to resort to half-measures like executive orders which can easily be revoked or overturned if another administration comes to power. 


Coincidentally, the political players entrenched in this drama were also the ones pushing the nationalist agenda. While the drama may subside, for now, the remaining white, nationalist megalomaniacal loons (e.g. Mr. Stephen Miller) will still be very influential, but without Bannon as an ally, not as influential as in the past.


With their exodus of fervent nationalist Mr. Bannon, Mr. Trump and his administration may pivot towards the center or at least take a more pragmatic approach to governance – something Democrats could come to dread.  There is some comfort knowing Mr. Bannon is no longer working on the White House campus, but with his charismatic, yet outlandish personality, it brought political stagnation and ineptitude; his departure creates a real possibility of a durable presidential reset (but haven’t we heard that before?). 


The Democrats may oddly miss Mr. Bannon presence because it only made Mr. Trump that much weaker as a politician and elected leader, fending off political attacks from the left and moderate right takes a toll. Now, Mr. Trump doesn’t have as large of a target on his back if only he would stay off of Twitter.


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Matt Fecteau

Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is an M.P.A. candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and an Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau 


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