2016 Election Blog #24: The Trump Effect: Stephen Bannon and the Alt Right Message

Steven Windmueller, Ph. D.

Posted on August 20, 2016 / 16 Av 5776

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph. D.


Steve Bannon

As this 2016 Presidential campaign struggles to move toward its November resolution, the process seems never to be without certain unexpected twists and turns. Whether it is the on-going saga of Hilary Clinton’s emails or the emergence of the Libertarian Party’s rise to national prominence, now polling near 10% of the American electorate, yet when it is all considered, no other campaign seems to capture on a daily basis more of the media’s heightened attention than the Trump candidacy.

With the announcement this week of yet another shake-up in the operational side of the Trump campaign, one might have simply shrugged it off as just another hick-up along the way of this plague-filled effort. But this is not the case.

As the Daily Beast would report1:

Donald Trump’s Campaign is under new management—and his white nationalist fanboys love it. The campaign’s new chief executive, Stephen Bannon, joins from Breitbart News—where he helped mainstream the ideas of white nationalists and resuscitate the reputations of anti-immigrant fear-mongers. White nationalists today invest a lot of energy worrying about growing Hispanic and Muslim populations in the U.S. Turns out, Breitbart News spends a lot of time worrying about those things, too. And in Bannon, they see a media-friendly, ethno-nationalist fellow traveler.

The formal merging of such political ideologies with the Trump campaign must be seen as dangerous and challenging to minority communities across the nation. The leadership of the Alt Right, embracing groups whose racial and religious politics are threatening to African Americans, Latinos, Jews and others, will be able to use the Bannon role in the 2016 election to advance their ideas.
The Clinton campaign response was particularly telling:

After several failed attempts to pivot into a more serious and presidential mode, Donald Trump has decided to double down on his most small, nasty and divisive instincts by turning his campaign over to someone who’s best known for running a so-called news site that peddles divisive, at times racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

In several earlier blogs, this writer had occasion to reference the rise of the Alt Right2. In what ways will Stephen Bannon’s influence refocus the Trump message?

1 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/17/alt-right-rejoices-at-trump-s-steve-bannon-hire.html

2 http://www.thewindreport.com/2016/02/22/2016-election-blog-11-where-politics-meets-hate-anti-semitism-on-the-2016-campaign-trail/#.V7X2jhR0JFI and

2016 Election Blog #17: Donald Trump and his War with America: The New Political Mindset

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