This week, amidst numerous revelations into the make-up of President-elect Trump’s administration, news hit of Trump’s pick for Chief White House Strategist. Steve Bannon of Breitbart will be the man in charge of assiting the new POTUS in all areas of his job.
Unlike more structured White House positions like chief of staff or secretary of state, the role of strategist or adviser to the president isn’t exactly defined. The role is relatively new in the White House. The position likely dates back to President Franklin Roosevelt’s aide Louis Howe, and was only implemented more officially by President Richard Nixon and his longtime advisors H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.
The best-known example of the presidential counselor in recent history is Bush’s strategist Karl Rove, while President Barack Obama has relied on David Axelrod, David Plouffe and Dan Pfeiffer as his senior advisers. How these people have functioned in the role has depended largely on who’s occupying the Oval Office, and even where the president is within their term.
While presidential strategists typically wield a lot of power regarding daily decisions, they also take a longer look at what effects these daily decisions will have down the line and think strategically about the president’s entire tenure, rather than what immediately lies ahead. The reliance on these sorts of advisers in recent years is reflective of “the whole idea of the permanent campaign,” with presidents now having to worry about lengthier campaigns and appealing to voters outside of election years.
That being said, our predictions for how Steve Bannon will serve the new president can best be made by looking into his past statements on hot-button issues which are easily the most important and pressing issues facing our nation today.
In regards to racism within the Alt-Right portion of Washington politicians, Bannon made it clear that though they exist, he simply doesn’t care:
“Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe. Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobes, right? But that’s just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements.”
As well, in a 2011 radio interview Bannon told Political Vindication Radio that this is how he sees the progressive argument in the areas of race, gender, and orientation:
“The progressive narrative and that is all about victimhood. They’re either a victim of race. They’re victim of their sexual preference. They’re a victim of gender. All about victimhood and the United States is the great oppressor, not the great liberator.”
Later in the same interview, Bannon had a hypothesis about why progressive women vilify prominent conservative women like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin:
“That’s why there are some unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement. That, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England. That drives the left insane and that’s why they hate these women.”
A favorite of many was one simple quote that sums up Steve Bannon’s beliefs about race in our nation:
“I do not believe we have a major race problem in this country. I just don’t.”
On birth control, although the following quote was made by Milo Yiannopoulos, it was within an article posted on Breitbart after having been approved by Bannon himself:
“Your birth control injection will add on pounds that will prevent the injection you really want of man meat.”
From race to gender equality and equity, Steve Bannon has shown his opinions to align far away from those of the progressive and liberal voters. This disconnect leads most people to feel as if this first clear and present appointment by President-elect Trump is a sign of what’s to come. White Nationalism is obviously something this nation does not need to revisit anytime soon. However, with each passing day, Washington has shown us that without constant vigilance and proper representation for women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, it is likely the needs of these people will be ignored.