Who is Steve Bannon and why is he so dangerous to American democracy?

For those who are not political junkies like myself, you may be only vaguely familiar with the name Stephen Bannon. Let me bring you up to speed.  

He helped found and then led Breitbart News, an extremist, right wing, fearmongering website full of anti-American liberal haters and conspiracy theorists. He ran Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. In his role as vice president of Cambridge Analytica, a data firm owned by conservative multi-millionaires, Bannon allegedly undertook an aggressive disinformation campaign that cultivated more votes for Trump while depressing votes for Hillary Clinton. (And let us not forget that Clinton did in fact win the popular vote by 3 million votes.)

And now, he’s the guy whom Congress held in contempt for failing to cooperate with the committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. 

Currently Bannon broadcasts a daily podcast appropriately named ‘The War Room’ where he has been calling for Trump supporters to fill the ranks of poll workers, poll watchers, precinct captains and the entire election apparatus in order to assure votes are counted and certified favorably to Republican candidates.   

On his show, Bannon recently discussed the notion of a national divorce between red and blue states with whackadoodle U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Green, who was all in on the idea. (I confess the idea is not unappealing.) But Bannon threw cold water on such a prospect. And why wouldn’t he? A peaceful separation between the states, as practical as it may sound, would be extremely difficult to work out logistically and equitably. And why separate when Republican extremists can steal the whole ball of wax by taking over the entire election process? 

Bannon has a very significant following. Ideologically speaking, long before Trump came on the scene, there was Steve Bannon. Bannon is not a vessel for Trumpism. Trump is the vessel for Bannonism. He’s malevolent and quite intelligent, possessing a Harvard degree. He knows just what buttons to push to keep his minions foaming at the mouth.  

He’s smart and dangerous and as one of the main architects of the attempted coup of the 2020 election, he should be charged as harshly as anyone complicit in those treasonous events. We underestimate him at our own peril.

Jeff Taylor is a vendor with Street Sense Media.

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