When Democrats look at Trump’s immigration ban, they see chaos, cruelty, carnage, confusion and controversy. Not to mention a lack of planning, a lack of coordination and even cause for impeachment.
Steve Bannon sees things working out just like he planned.
Bannon is Trump’s brain. Where Trump is impulsive, Bannon is strategic. Where Trump reacts to the last thing he saw on TV, Bannon has a master plan for the first 100 days. Where Trump doesn’t read books, Bannon reads a lot.
Bannon has an expansive world view that drives how he uses his power and position in the White House. It’s illuminated in a transcript of his Skyped remarks to a conference held at the Vatican in the summer of 2014, obtained by Buzzfeed.
It’s a long read, but it reveals the brain that feeds Trump.
Bannon’s remarks made clear the motive behind the immigration ban.
“…(W)e are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism. And this war is, I think, metastasizing far quicker than governments can handle it….I believe you should take a very, very, very aggressive stance against radical Islam….”
He made clear why the inaugural speech he wrote for Trump takes on all Washington politicians:
“The tea party in the United States’ biggest fight is with the Republican establishment, which is really a collection of crony capitalists….”
Bannon says “there is a global tea party movement” driven by “a crisis both of capitalism but really of the underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian West in our beliefs… a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism.”
He bemoaned the “immense secularization of the West.” He defined Breitbart News and the Tea Party as “the voice of the anti-abortion movement, the voice of the traditional marriage movement….”
At times, Bannon sounded like Bernie Sanders:
“The 2008 crisis, I think the financial crisis — which, by the way, I don’t think we’ve come through — is really driven I believe by the greed, much of it driven by the greed of the investment banks.
“…(N)ot one criminal charge has ever been brought to any bank executive associated with 2008 crisis. And in fact, it gets worse. No bonuses and none of their equity was taken. So part of the prime drivers of the wealth that they took in the 15 years leading up to the crisis was not hit at all, and I think that’s one of the fuels of this populist revolt….”
He had this assessment of Vladimir Putin:
“I’m not justifying Vladimir Putin and the kleptocracy that he represents….However, we the Judeo-Christian West really have to look at what he’s talking about as far as traditionalism goes — particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism — and I happen to think that the individual sovereignty of a country is a good thing and a strong thing. I think strong countries and strong nationalist movements in countries make strong neighbors, and that is really the building blocks that built Western Europe and the United States, and I think it’s what can see us forward.”
All this brings to mind previous political operatives who saw themselves as big, global, civilization-transforming thinkers. See Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove.
Nevertheless, Democrats underestimated Bannon once. When he took the helm of Trump’s campaign last summer, nobody thought they could win.
Democrats need to do more than fuss and fume. They need to figure out how to beat Bannon.