Steve Bannon is out and the republicans have pulled their white sheet over the head of their party. It is a pyrrhic victory at best that leaves the Republicans with stark and unpalatable choices.
Clearly the military junta and the senate and some elements in the house and certainly the Wall Street wing of the Republican Party cannot cohabitate with the fascist wing of the party. The military – Kelly, McMaster and Mattis are in effect running the country but – and this is crucial – they do not want to run the country. But while eliminating Bannon (and in effect isolating Miller and Gorka) resolves the cosmetic dilemma the existential dilemma remains.
This is the trap of history come home to roost. The Republicans are trapped within the trap of capitalism which requires a permanent underclass of wage slaves in order to succeed. If for example, everyone can afford a house then the housing industry cannot be a for profit enterprise. And the housing industry is not just the cost of manual labor, and the cost of transportation, tools, and the shops where the tools are purchased; it is the investment industry that profits from the control of the prices paid for the gas in the trucks that move the wood and cement and the oil that all becomes the cement and the rest of what becomes a home or a building and the insurance to cover the movement of the trucks and so on. This holds true for all manufacturing and all forms of for profit service. The system requires – it demands – a permanent class of wage slaves. A permanent class of wage slaves will breed resentment and resentment will breed fascism and fascism will breed racism. This is a cycle of political life.
In order to defeat the otherwise colossally inept Democrats the rRepublicans need resentment. If they solve the problems of their base they become Democrats because the Republicans – the party of capitalism – has run out of runway; there is no more earth to exploit there is no one left to lie to. If they fix healthcare and tackle the corollary problem of the opioid crisis and they rebuild the infrastructure and they avoid a war and they stabilize wages and solve the housing crisis, they are in effect a hybrid of Hillary and Bernie and thus they become the Democrats. And if they don’t solve those problems and continue to wave the magic wand of the invisible hand of the market they will grow the fascist wing of their party until it cannot be contained.
The environment doesn’t care if you don’t like Jews or gay marriage. The machine that is taking your job doesn’t care if you’re Black or an immigrant. And the Republicans are stuck between their violent racist base and the racist Wall Street base that creates the spark that starts the violence and pours fuel on the tinder of the disenfranchised White ethno-nationalists. The Wall Street wing is racist but is less concerned with ethnicity than it is concerned with money. In other words they’ll do business with Blacks or Muslims or Jews and if that business requires harming people because of their religion or ethnicity so be it but they don’t want it to be the focal point of their actions. The harm is not to spite but is in spite of any other factor.
And so now what? The fascist wing will cry stab in the back – they will point to Jared and the Wall Street Jews around Trump and they will again be cast out. And the generals still have the unresolved problem that Trump is insane. The Wall Street wing has the same problem and their interests overlap with the military junta. One impacts the other as a war with North Korea or any sort of trade war with China will be a disaster. And a failure to tackle trade issues with China will inflame the fascists and send non-racist whites towards the democrats. The strictly political wing of the Republican Party has its own set of dilemmas; Trump is unelectable without the fascists and the fascists make the Wall Street wing unelectable and together they cannot govern. To fall back on the benign financial despotism of the Bushes will no longer work with the fascists – for whom Cheney is no longer fascist enough – and more importantly it will no longer work with the middle of the road republicans who may not be fascist but know that Wall Street will throw them to the wolves because Wall Street needs to raise the value of stock and the value of stock can only rise if there are stable and consistent levels of poverty.
The evolution of the system towards machines replacing people, the move away from manual labor in most areas has created an impossible dilemma for the increasingly antiquated 19th century philosophies of the Republicans. Their only way out is to embrace progressivism which they will do but by dressing it up in the language of free market individualism. But without systemic change to the system – reform of Wall Street, genuine taxation of the 1% and environmental sustainability which requires the transformation of the socio-economic system over which they preside – the Republicans are finished and the only thing that will keep them in power is continued reliance on gerrymandered districts and the fervor of the fascists. In the end those are not winning strategies.
Except for the corruption of gerrymandered districts and their own stupidity the Democrats should by all logic sweep to a crushing victory in the house and at least de facto control of the senate in 2018. With assistance from the intelligence agencies and the military Trump should be finished. But do not ignore the Democrat’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
The greater shadow cast by Bannon is that he was and remains a complete idiot and the nation and the world got lucky that he was stupid enough to think that an unhinged moron like Trump could accomplish his goal of dismantling the administrative state. Had Trump been stable and intelligent then we would be on the fast-track to Putinism. That creatures of the system like Bob Corker are calling Trump insane is both good and bad. It’s good because it signals the Senate performing its constitutionally mandated duty to preserve and protect – to provide checks and balance. It’s clearly bad because had Trump not been insane but a clever enough thug, a just smart enough fascist, Corker would have kept his mouth shut while The New Deal and The Great Society were dismantled brick by legislative brick. Do not forget as the door hits Bannon on his fat ass, that Paul Ryan and Mitch Mcconnell were essentially spineless collaborationist rat fuckers perfectly willing to allow Trump to roam the political landscape like a deranged rutting pig. Just so long as they remained in power and could proceed with their plan to throw the country back into the 19th century and destroy the Bill of Rights they would have said little and done less.
We dodged a bullet. The gun is still loaded and it’s still aimed at the nation’s head. The question remains: who has their finger on the trigger.
As the postmortems come rolling in it is of some interest to consider the details. For example there is this missive from the stately pages of The New Yorker.
Consider the dueling dinners where in one, the arrogant Bannon, the Mouth of Sauron Steven Miller and the mad confederate leprechaun Jeff Beauregard Sessions plot to stop the mass exodus of people from South and Central America which left unchecked spells the demographic death of the republican party and…the other dinner at which Chuck Schumer and Marco Rubio (both from states that are dependent upon labor from South and Central America) offer to blow Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes if they will have Fox Propaganda back off immigration as an issue thus opening the door to a joint Democratic and Republican effort at reform. In other words perfectly stark examples of the utterly feckless situational morality of Schummer (what he would call the guts of what goes into making the sausage) and the baronial power and feckless situational morality of Fox and Murdoch. And the other a perfect illustration of just how stupid Bannon is.
But there is also this:
“He grew up near Richmond, Virginia, in a big Irish Catholic family of Kennedy Democrats. Although he came of age in the late sixties, his high school, a religious military academy where he was taught by monks, kept him away from the mass protests happening in nearby Washington.”
Well yes it did, keep him away from the mass protests…and the music…and the weed…and the ideas…in short everything that might have given him a window into how people actually behave and access to ideas contrary to his own. Instead he was educated by warrior monks who hadn’t had a new idea since the rack was hightech. And can there be any doubt as to the nature of what other ideas were beaten into Bannon? This is not Father Mulcahy chiding Hawkeye, this is Father Touch Me Now you little sinner while I explain how the kikes killed our savior and the Bolsheviks are all the spawn of satan.
And a point must be raised in regards to the “Kennedy Democrats.” The way that is written both in the New Yorker article and everywhere else it is meant to suggest some sort of fall from grace where Bannon migrates from Camelot to Berlin. What isn’t discussed is that JFK was a Cold Warrior and more importantly for an understanding of Bannon’s fascism, voting for Kennedy was not a matter of supporting Civil Rights as it was a matter of voting for a Catholic because it was the tribally correct thing to do. It was the right thing to do because the priests said it was the right thing to do. Bannon was indoctrinated early to follow orders and be a good fascist for Christ.
We are again confronted by two interconnected issues. First the embedded stupidity and ignorance of Bannon who probably has a reading list designed by men in leather who think self flagellation is both a sign of spirituality and has nothing to do with their erections and the refusal of the media to call him out for it as an example of a fraud – a man who is not intelligent, not well read, not well traveled, and fundamentally knows nothing about the world. No doubt some future historian will go to the effort to find a copy of the syllabus from Bannon’s time with the monks and no doubt it will reveal exactly what one would expect: Catholic fascists good, everyone else headed straight to hell.
Lastly, we are reminded of the end of Chinatown. Except Bannon is not Jake while Trump is Noa Cross. And someone, in a charitable mood can say to Steve as he’s led away: Forget it Steve. It’s D.C.
Here at The Ink we are pleased and amused to see the stately London Review of Books weigh in on the impending demise of the Republican Party. Better a little late then not at all.
“The reason that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and other Republicans are worried about Trump isn’t that he threatens American democracy, or that America has ceased to be a serious country in the world; it’s that Trump’s rule may bring about the break-up of the Republican Party.”
Read the entire article here: