He has been one of the most controversial names in modern politics. Labeled by the left as a racist, homophobe, misogynist, fearmonger, and white nationalist, former White House Chief Strategist, Stephen Bannon, has made a lot of enemies.
The news broke on Friday that Bannon has resigned from his position as a close advisor in the White House, one which has sparked controversy all throughout the Trump administration. Though CNN originally reported that Bannon was fired, it has now been confirmed that his resignation, though likely encouraged, preceded any sort of official firing.
Regardless, the Trump administration must now proceed without the voice which provided them with a true agenda. Bannon, who ran the right-wing news organization known as Breitbart, saw Trump as a potential leader of an anti-establishment, capitalist/nationalist movement.
As the results from November 8th confirm, Bannon was not alone. The problem is, without the 63-year-old and Breitbart’s influence, Trump really didn’t have an agenda. He has admitted that prior to his presidential run, he was virtually apolitical. Trump donated to left-wing politicians including Chuck Schumer and, ironically, Hillary Clinton during their Senate runs. While this support was clearly not driven by ideology, it does confirm that Trump hasn’t always been a champion for the middle class and social conservatives.
Bannon and Breitbart provided a platform on which Trump could build a movement. Formerly unofficially backing the Ted Cruz campaign, the network is responsible for much of the rhetoric which won Trump the presidency. Now, the voice and face of the network’s direct influence have been removed from the White House.
Some will argue that this move serves as an attempt to rescue the president’s first term following his lack of response to the Charlottesville riots which drew heavy criticism. Others will link the resignation to Trump’s instability and tendency to fire anyone who stands in the way of his objectives. This argument comes in the wake of Bannon contradicting Trump on the strategy to oppose North Korea.
Regardless, saving Trump’s presidency is going to be hard to do after alienating his base. It was the Breitbart readers who elected him, not followers of mainstream media. And while releasing Bannon may put Trump in the slightest of better graces with America’s left, it certainly won’t get anybody to vote for a re-election campaign.
But the ramifications of Bannon’s exit go even further than 2018 and 2020 election seasons. The fact that Bannon, a self-made man independent of the political elite had the ear of the president, assisted in holding the White House accountable. Without him, there’s no telling whether or not Trump is going to follow through on the promises he made to the American people. Even if he has the intentions to do just that, the accountability is lacking.
The hope is that other conservatives with the president’s ear, such as KellyAnne Conway, will encourage the president to keep his promises. On top of that, it would be nice if the Republicans in the legislative branch would help out once in a while beyond giving their practically useless two cents on Russia or racism.
Either way, conservatives have lost respect for their president. Much is now in doubt without Bannon, the man who helped shape the Trump agenda. Whether it’s economic nationalists who advocate for capitalism, social conservatives pushing to end abortion and preserve marriage, or everyday Americans who want their second amendment rights protected and a secure border, Breitbart was the voice of the “America first” mentality.
Trump was supposed to be the “America first” president. But is that really Trump, or merely his base of Breitbart readers? Time without Bannon will tell.