What Trump and Bannon Are Displaying at CPAC is Not About Ideals But Skin Color

Despite some evidence yesterday that CPAC wants to distance itself from the so-called “alt-right,” what the rest of us call Nazism – for example, witness ACU’s Dan Schneider speech, “The Alt-Right Ain’t Right at All” and the fact that they kicked out Nazi Richard Spencer – it also invited alt-right champion, Steve Bannon, to speak.

And then there is the not so small detail of Schneider’s ridiculous lie that the alt-right is left-wing fascism. Left wing fascism is an oxymoron, given fascism being an early 20th-century right-wing response to Communism.

As the Nazi site Daily Stormer complains, Schneider presented the alt-right as “counterfeit conservatism” when it is anything but.

Paradoxically, that would make Bannon and his boss – and hero of CPAC – Trump both leftists. In fact, Schneider wants it both ways, and he can’t have that: Bannon spouted the usual Trump complaints, full of Hitlerian (and therefore right-wing) anti-Semitic overtones, against the “corporatist globalist media” and with echoes of Hitler told the crowd that,

“If you think they’re going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”

Today, Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin told CNN’s New Day’s panel that,

“When Bannon says it’s going to be a fight every day I think he’s right about that and he’s not just fighting the corporate globalist media…but who he’s fighting are all these forces in his own party, in Congress, the institutions, he wants to deconstruct the administrative state, that’s a big project, okay? And it’s not going to be easy but that’s what he’s trying to do.”

Watch courtesy of CNN’s New Day:

Rogin explained that there are two competing views about what it means to be an American:

“We’re unified by our values, principles, democracy, freedom, human rights, the lifting of people out of bad situations all over the world, free market capitalism. And the other is that we have a sort of an ethno-culture that makes up the people in our country and that’s what we should define ourselves as. And Steve Bannon and coincidentally Richard Spencer happen to believe in that latter theory…it just means the way they define America and the frame they use to make policy within that definition is a radical alteration from what we’ve seen in past presidencies. It explains a lot of what they’re doing and it helps us understand why they’re doing it.”

This ethno-culture, is, of course, identified with white culture, and what Bannon wants to fight to take back is that rapidly disappearing America defined by its whiteness.

Rogin seems to be right about where resistance to Bannon’s agenda is coming from and it is not entirely from the left. According to reports, not all ACU members were happy about Bannon’s inclusion.

We could argue, cynically, that this opposition is merely a result of the white nationalism they have long espoused getting far too much publicity now for comfort.

However, there is no evidence of complaints about the inclusion of Donald Trump, who throughout his campaign was more than willing to cater to the same white nationalists Bannon claimed to champion while at Breitbart.

And when Trump spoke at CPAC today he shared Bannon’s attacks on the press as the opposition. There is no visible difference between the two men. If you oppose Bannon, logic dictates you oppose Trump.

Once again, conservatives seem blind to the fact that they themselves created the atmosphere and even the language that allowed Donald Trump to push this racist, anti-Semitic agenda, or that Trump himself by embracing Bannon, embraces it as well.

They may want to blame Bannon now, but this is the same CPAC that has for years pushed this very same worldview and they’ve always cheered. It wasn’t American then and it is not American now.

This is the very same mode of thought President Obama battled against for eight years. As he repeatedly told us, we’re better than that. Sadly, the news has apparently not caught up to the folks at CPAC, who cheer Bannon and Trump’s “economic nationalist agenda,” which sounds a lot more like Adolf Hitler than anything our Founding Fathers ever said.

At CPAC, Bannon put Trump’s ethnonationalism on full display and if ever there was a chance for conservatives to disavow the exclusivist thinking of the new administration, it is now. That won’t happen of course.

This is the new America, the America conservatives have so long wanted, and now that they have a president who seems willing to give them what they so long desired, they’re not about to abandon him. If the battle lines were not clearly enough drawn before, there is no hiding them now.

Photo: Screen grab The Guardian