David French is thrilled with Donald Trump’s decision to cut ties with Steve Bannon:
“First, Bannon is the public figure who has done more than any other person to introduce the evil alt-right into mainstream American life. He bragged about turning Breitbart into the “platform” of that movement, backed one of its most prominent politicians in Paul Nehlen, and relentlessly promoted its foremost apologist, the noxious Milo Yiannopoulos. He was also reportedly one of the driving forces behind perhaps the worst moment of Trump’s term so far: the president’s decision to equivocate following the alt-right rally and terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Va.
Second, Bannon is the primary pseudo-intellectual advocate of the incoherent, destructive nationalist–populist ideology that he tried to transform into “Trumpism.” His isolationism would harm American national security, his protectionism would harm the American economy, and his populism veers dangerously into the realm of white-identity politics. If his influence over the president is truly at an end, the GOP will have a real chance to restore itself as a party of conservative ideas.
Third, Bannon’s fall gives space for better men and women to rise. There are good and decent people who work in this White House, people who haven’t merely latched on to Trump to leech off his fame and climb to power. There are conservatives who seek to use this historical moment to advance the common good, and there are pragmatists who understand that divisiveness is not in the nation’s — or Trump’s — best interests. There is never any guarantee that virtue and good policy will prevail, but decisively breaking with a man so vile is unquestionably a positive step….”
Richard Spencer and Andrew Anglin have sided with Trump on this. I’m not really on either side. I think Bannon is trying to distance himself from this impending trainwreck. We’ve got the Mueller probe with Kushner, China and NAFTA renegotiation, the border wall, DACA, Iran and entitlements on the horizon. Breitbart has been a cheerleader for both tax reform and Iran intervention.
Is it in Bannon’s long term political interest to be tied to Trump? Even by the standards of the MAGA agenda, which we came off the sidelines to support, the Trump presidency is a failure. There is nothing “America First” or “populist-nationalist” about this administration. As Trump has reverted to mainstream conservatism, it has stretched Bannon’s plausibility to a breaking point.
Consider David French’s conservative positions: lionizing Antifa, neocon interventionism, free trade, embracing political correctness and multiculturalism, etc. If the GOP restored itself as “a party of conservative ideas” under Trump, would it become more or less popular? The healthcare bill was wildly unpopular. The tax reform bill was wildly unpopular. Is entitlements next?
Look, I didn’t even want to be associated with that, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Bannon was having similar thoughts about the Trump administration. The only reason why I was ever supportive of Donald Trump in the first place was because of his policy agenda. If he has shelved the “America First” agenda because of Kushner’s vulnerability to the Mueller probe, what is there left to support? Without that agenda, Donald Trump is just the guy from Celebrity Apprentice with Marco Rubio’s policies.