By erasing Bannon, the elite prognosticators imagine that they have begun the process of erasing the election of Donald Trump from the record books and returning to the political status quo. Such would be easier than dealing with the reality Bannon highlighted: that economic populism and social conservatism combine to make up the majority opinion in the United States, and that the mood of the country is one of complete disgust with the elites in both parties.
But while the defeat of Bannon may give elite Republicans and Democrats a reason to forget their troubles and celebrate for the moment, his demise represents little more than the temporary fall of an individual. Meanwhile, the center-right movement tied together by economic populism and social conservatives, which Bannon spent years building — and did indeed help channel and lead in 2016 — is alive and well, thriving both in the Trump administration, which has made Bannon’s stated goal of deconstructing the administrative state a top priority, and in the minds of the very voters who sent Trump to Washington in the first place.
The reason, of course, is simple: Steve Bannon is the personification of everything the elites hate most about the recent populist surge in American politics. His policy prescriptions, which seek to empower working class Americans over America’s aristocracy, make them nauseous. By defeating and marginalizing Steve Bannon, the elites believe they have defeated and marginalized the entire movement that Bannon channeled and therefore regained the upper hand in American politics. That’s what they’re celebrating. That’s their perceived victory.
The party began in earnest last week when President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE tweeted out Bannon’s new unfortunate moniker, “Sloppy Steve”, and has continued into this week upon news that Breitbart News is cutting ties with its executive chairman.
Frank Cannon (@FrankCannonAPP) is the president of the American Principles Project, a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting conservative policies.
They’re completely wrong, of course, but why take it away from them? They badly need this moment!
That’s what this celebration was really about. 2016 was a shock that completely demoralized America’s elites. Despite their best efforts to destroy Donald Trump, they couldn’t. Despite every attempt to thrust Jeb Bush, or John Kasich, or Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE, or even Evan McMullin upon us, the people loudly and vociferously chose Donald Trump.
Bannon may be out of the spotlight for now. But Bannon’s movement — Trump’s movement — the American people’s movement — is stronger than ever. While Trump may be outwardly feuding with Bannon, he certainly isn’t feuding with Bannon ideologically. Those who come to bury Steve Bannon and bask in his comeuppance should take note: the populist conservative movement they hate isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.