This isn’t a time for messing around.
With Trump the president comes the normalization of hate. Steve Bannon – an antisemitic hack who has manipulated racist vitriol by expanding the faux-news rag Breitbart.com since its eponymous founder’s death – will be Trump’s chief strategist.
This is, to put it simply, horrifying. Sure, the bland establishment-oriented Reince Priebus has has been anointed chief of staff, but the presence of white nationalists in the White House is a dark omen of life under Trump’s presidency. It’s also a mark of shame for those establishment conservatives giving credence to this farce.
While the Breitbart.com’s out-of-touch readership has been busy Googling “Obama murdered Andrew Breitbart” (who, for the recorded, died young after a life of drug and alcohol abuse in 2012), Bannon helped transform the site into a bastion of alt-right hate and misinformation. His penchant for outlandish headlines has captured the devotion of the site’s angry, racist fanbase.
Bannon has helped fund a number of spectacularly unsuccessful and half-hearted pieces of agitprop, including the Sarah Palin movie The Undefeated. But while we can laugh at a two-bit Sarah Palin documentary, this man who peddles in falsehoods is now in an incredible seat of power.
Following the election, many analysts have correctly pointed out flaws in the Democrats’ campaign approach. Hillary Clinton’s message didn’t resonate, and the party failed to truly understand the scope of what they were dealing with. Recent happenings in the party’s organization, however, indicate that some lessons may have been learned.
Senate heavyweights Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer (the outgoing and forthcoming Senate minority leader, respectively) have endorsed US Representative Keith Ellison to head the Democratic National Committee. Progressive champions Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have also thrown their votes behind the Minnesota congressman.
Ellison is – beyond being a competent leader for progressive values – a perfect symbol for the opposition to Trump’s dystopic, divisive political vision. He is the first Muslim representative (indeed, the first Muslim congressman) ever elected, and has a proven track record of fighting for the American principle of equality.
Drawing clear distinctions between a positive political vision that celebrates and thrives on diversity and the negative, hateful one currently slated to occupy the White House is paramount. Getting an early start making the differences known will only embolden the chances of fixing this alt-right nightmare through the electoral process in the coming cycles.