Opinion: the Bannon Effect

NOTICE: The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of LA Mundi News

Since mid-2016, the world has been experiencing a far-right political trend. First Brexit, then the election of Donald J. Trump as US President, and then numerous other internationally covered elections, among them Marine Le Pen’s advancement into the second round of French presidential elections, the Italian electoral shift which culminated in a win for far-right and anti-immigrant political parties, and Jair Bolsonaro‘s election as Brazil’s President. But while most attribute the global trend to fake news and xenophobia, the blame should be accurately placed where it’s supposed to be: squarely on Steve Bannon, founder of Breitbart News, a right-wing news outlet.

Our story starts with the first name mentioned above, Donald Trump, the now infamous US President who is both revered and ridiculed all around the world, from the streets of London, England to a small housing unit situated in the boating community of Bangkok, Thailand.

Trump had toyed with the idea of running for President various times, among them during the infamous 2000 election and more notably later on in 2012 after being humiliated by his rival, former President Barack Obama, during the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. However, he only really threw his ring in the hat for the 2016 election cycle, which he obviously won.

While Trump’s campaign managers Paul Manafort and Kellyanne Conway are both featured daily on television news, his campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, was the real mastermind behind his successful Presidential campaign and indeed, the worldwide right-wing revolution.

In an excerpt from Team of Vipers (pages 20-21), a book written by former Presidential aide Cliff Sims (who founded Yellowhammer News in Alabama), Bannon tells the incoming communications staffer “The f—ing Yellowhammer is here?! The Hammer?! Epic. I know Yellowhammer. I followed it. I want you weaponizing everything. We’re not being aggressive enough. F— anyone who tells you not do something. Let’s start wrecking some s—, okay? Good. Go.”

Later on in the book, Bannon is portrayed as being “anti-globalist”. According to Sims, Bannon believes free trade is anti-American, contrary to his former colleagues in the White House like Ivanka Trump (President Trump’s daughter) and Jared Kushner (President Trump’s son-in-law). Bannon later left the White House after another book, Fire and Fury, reported Bannon’s critical comments of President Trump.

After Bannon left the White House, he declared that he desired to become “the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement”. Bannon, a former Naval officer, also advocates nationalism, and has supported numerous political parties and movements, including but not limited to: the United Kingdom Independence Party (responsible for Brexit); the National Front in France (founded by Marine Le Pen’s father); the Italian League and the Five Star Movement (both formed by anti-immigrant and far-right Italian politicians who ultimately won on Election Day); and finally (and most recently) Jair Bolsonaro’s presidential campaign in Brazil.

In addition to all of the above, Bannon founded a school in Europe to teach populism and populist tactics on the grounds of a medieval monastery.

The danger in all of this is that Bannon wants to breed a global mood that reflects fear of progress and of the unknown and hate of all those that are different.

The question is, will Steven Bannon succeed in his goal or will he fail against the sheer force of popular thinking?

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