It’s time to look past the doomed candidacy of Donald Trump and start considering the impact it’s had on America’s future. Yesterday Trump made it clear that’s what he’s doing.
As he continues to careen his campaign over a cliff through the never-ending embarrassment of his personal excesses, vulgar chest-beating and overbearing lack of dignity and self-discipline, he’s now shifted gear into full Breitbart overdrive, eyes fixed on cementing his legacy now that he knows he will never be President.
From within an impenetrable fog of paranoia he himself has conjured, Trump blames anyone and everyone for his own glaring faults and failures, even going so far yesterday as to threaten retribution against his followers in Florida if he loses there (“I’m going to be very angry,” he snarled darkly).
Instead of taking the Presidential high road of accepting responsibility for his own words and actions and promising to make amends, Trump chooses to portray his unforced self-immolation as the work of a vast global conspiracy to extinguish the noble hopes and dreams of the good, honest hardworking American patriots for whom he’s so heroically sacrificing himself. It’s pure self-serving narcissistic BS but they’re buying the Kool-Aid and guzzling it like there’s no tomorrow, as they’ve done with everything he says.
The language of Trump’s tirades is now almost pure Steve Bannon. Trump’s the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. Bannon’s the evil mastermind who puts the words in Trump’s mouth, to the extent anyone can. Bannon’s been lurking backstage at the Trump campaign for a lot longer than most people realize. And it’s beginning to appear that all along he’s had a Plan A (Trump wins the election and Bannon’s white power revolution begins) and a Plan B (Trump loses and Bannon’s white power revolution begins).
Trump’s been the perfect tool for Bannon’s ambition. What better golem for a nobody with fascist dreams than a rich, pampered TV celebrity who can be effortlessly manipulated through his astoundingly weak ego? Trump came ready-made with deep pockets, an eagerness to show off like a carnival sideshow barker, an insatiable appetite for fawning sycophancy, and a vast audience grown accustomed to a steady diet of right wing red meat and gullible enough to buy into the ridiculous fictional caricature Trump portrays in his reality TV shows and public appearances.
Bannon and his bomb-throwing minions at Breitbart and throughout the alt-right aim to accomplish exactly what Lenin and the Bolsheviks did a century ago – burn down the existing power structure and replace it with their own. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss, only worse.
A year ago their chances were nonexistent. Since then Trump has, by his estimate, spent $100 million of his own money raising an army of disgruntled peasants for Steve Bannon’s cause. But instead of carrying torches and pitchforks, this mob’s been frenziedly stockpiling AR-15s and 9mm Glocks for decades.
They’re the real threat in this scary debacle, not Trump. To slightly paraphrase Pete Townsend, “They’ll be fighting in the streets with their children at their feet, and the morals that we worship will be gone. And the men who spur them on will sit in judgment of all wrong. They’ll decide and let the shotguns sing the song.” While right wing America obsesses over their fear of foreign terrorism, the seeds of a far more potent and destructive domestic jihad are growing at their feet. Indeed, they’re the very soil in which those seeds are being planted.
A year from now Trump will likely be bogged down defending himself in criminal court, civil court, divorce court and bankruptcy court. Two years from now he may well be flat broke and living in public housing for convicted perverts, if you follow my drift. No matter. He’s served the alt-right’s purpose and may now be safely discarded.
Forget Trump. He’s not important. He’s the tip of the tip of the iceberg. It’s the homegrown tin-pot despots hiding behind him we need to be concerned with now. If we’re going to defend this Republic against the very tangible existential threat to American constitutional democracy that Trumpism represents, Bannon and his alt-right provocateurs – and whoever’s manipulating them – are the guys we need to expose.