Trump Team Starting to Take Shape, Includes alt-Right Link

Via NPR:  Trump Taps Reince Priebus As Chief Of Staff, Steve Bannon As Chief Strategist

The president-elect announced Sunday that he has selected Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to serve as chief of staff in his incoming administration.

In the same announcement, Priebus’ appointment shared top billing with the news that Trump campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon will serve as chief strategist and senior counselor to the president.

The Priebus hire is a clear attempt to tap into the institutional party and it is Preibus’s reward, I suppose, for his obvious nose-holding over Trump’s nomination.  It also shows that yes:  Trump is the leader of the Republicans. It is his party now.

Bannon’s position is extremely concerning.  At best, Bannon is a propagandist (Breitbart under his leadership can hardly be called news) and at worst he is directly allied with the alt-right.  This is a troubling, but not unexpected, development.

Here’s a piece from the Daily Beast (linked in the NPR piece) from when Bannon was added to the campaign:   Alt Right Rejoices at Donald Trump’s Steve Bannon Hire:

“Latterly, Breitbart emerged as a nationalist site and done great stuff on immigration in particular,” VDARE.com editor Peter Brimelow told The Daily Beast.

VDare is a white supremacist site. It’s named after Virginia Dare, the first white child born to British colonists in North America. Brimelow said he and Bannon met briefly last month and exchanged pleasantries about each other’s work.

“It’s irritating because VDARE.com is not used to competition,” Brimelow added. “I presume that is due to Bannon, so his appointment is great news.”

Brimelow isn’t the only prominent white nationalist to praise the Bannon hire. Richard Spencer, who heads the white supremacist think tank National Policy Institute, said he was also pleased. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart has given favorable coverage to the white supremacist Alt Right movement. And Spencer loves it.

[…]

Spencer said Breitbart and Bannon have helped Alt Right ideas gain legitimacy—and, more importantly, exponentially expand their audiences.

From another Daily Beast piece:

Bannon’s support for European far-right parties runs far deeper than his interest in Marion Maréchal-Le Pen or the National Front. He brags about his international Breitbart operation as “the platform” for the American alt-right, and has for years been thinking globally, with an affinity for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Alternative for Germany (AfD), and the Freedom Party in the Netherlands (PVV), all of which have earned glowing coverage on the pages of Breitbart.

These kinds of choices, with sinister potentiality (and no, that is not hyperbole), are why so many people are dismayed and upset by Trump’s victory.  Yes, no one likes their side to lose, but who the winner is matters.  And Trump, for whatever reason, allied himself with Bannon and his brand of white nationalism and media exploitation.  This is not the kind of person one wants in a position of national power.

More to come, unfortunately.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    Concur all around. My general position is that for pure White House staffers with no portfolio, I ultimately hold the president fully accountable. I don’t really care who the Chief of Staff or domestic advisor or whatever is; I just care what the president says and does. Agency heads are much more powerful and independent actors.




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  2. James Joyner says:

    I have to say, I haven’t paid much attention to Breitbart since its namesake died and didn’t realize what it had become. Under Andrew, it struck me as a sillier, more ribald version of Rush Limbaugh-Glenn Beck style conservatism. It’s clearly more sinister than that now.




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  3. An Interested Party says:

    Elections certainly have consequences, don’t they? The question is, who will be paying for this election…




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  4. Kylopod says:

    @James Joyner:

    Under Andrew, it struck me as a sillier, more ribald version of Rush Limbaugh-Glenn Beck style conservatism. It’s clearly more sinister than that now.

    It cannot be forgotten that Andrew died while he was still involved in the lawsuit over misleadingly editing a video to make a black woman seem anti-white.

    The Limbaugh/Beck variety of conservatism was never benign when it came to race.




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  5. Davebo says:

    @James Joyner:

    That’s a mighty white opinion of Breitbart James. And this coming from a 52 year old white guy.

    It does however go a long way towards explaining your “shock” at what the GOP has become.




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  6. CSK says:

    Trump has to reward the alt-right; they’re his biggest boosters. Bannon’s been shilling for him for well over a year.

    He’ll appoint the people who fawn over him the most.




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  7. Rafer Janders says:

    @Davebo:

    It does however go a long way towards explaining your “shock” at what the GOP has become.

    Give James a break, it’s not like he runs a blog focused on American politi….oh.




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  8. Gustopher says:

    The Republicans are clearly a big tent party at this point. From the moderate censervative habitual Republican voters, to the Evangelicals, to the Tea Party, to the White Supremacists, to the conspiracy theorists — they are just missing the Birchers and the whole lizard people thing.

    How they hold their coalition when governing, I have no idea. Easy enough to unite in opposition, but getting consensus to do something is (hopefully) impossible.

    Assuming we survive Trump (no nuclear war, and global warming turns out to not be an extinction level event at the 4 degree mark*), I don’t see the Republican Party functioning after this. Circular firing squads and all that.

    (* we don’t understand the systems well enough to say whether there is or isn’t a tipping point, but that much is likely to change ocean currents, and weather systems)




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  9. Senyordave says:

    I have to say, I haven’t paid much attention to Breitbart since its namesake died and didn’t realize what it had become.
    My wife isn’t very political and she knew of the alt-right/Trump connection as soon as Bannon was made campaign CEO. Our president-elect has a white supremacist as one of his chief advisers.
    I knew its not much, but I sent an email to the clergy at my synagogue asking if the national organization of my denomination (Reconstructionist Judaism) would consider taking a position and opposing his appointment. This isn’t political, its moral. People should also remember that multiple sources including his ex-wife have claimed that Bannon has made anti-Semitic statements over the years.




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  10. I don´t think that´s so simple. Controlling it´s internal cycle of advisers is the main challenge of any President. Kennedy had McNamara, Reagan had Oliver North and Poindexter. Eisenhower is probably the most respected President of the Post War Era, in part because he was the f* Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, and no f* adviser would say any b* to him.

    Trump has the same experience with elected office as me. His advisers and his internal cycle of people matters a lot.




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  11. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    I think Lyndon Johnson had something to say about this sort of thing, involving J. Edgar Hoover and tents…




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  12. Mikey says:

    Alternative for Germany (AfD)

    NSDAP in all but name.




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  13. SKI says:

    Tangential question for James, Steven and Doug: have you guys had any recent conversations about what goes in the “main article” sections vs. the “other items of interest”? Doug posts almost exclusively to the main section and Steven primarily, though less predominantly, to the minor section suggesting that guidance/agreement isn’t shared.

    It strikes me that this article is a much bigger deal than the Dylan Roof one yet their respective locations would suggest the reverse.




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  14. @SKI: I make the choice, usually, based on length and the amount of original content.

    Plus, we always need a photo for the main stories and I was in a hurry to post and didn’t have time to pick one out (a boring but true answer).




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  15. @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    Trump has the same experience with elected office as me. His advisers and his internal cycle of people matters a lot.

    Indeed.




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  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party:

    The question is, who will be paying for this election…

    All of us.




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  17. Scott says:

    @An Interested Party: I think the average Trump voter will be paying. Kind of need a running “Trump Voter Fleece Watch” column.




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  18. Stormy Dragon says:

    From a few months ago:

    @Stormy Dragon :

    Well, in a few months when the people are calling you and James and Doug alt-right, perhaps it will be clear where I was coming from.

    Right on schedule:

    @Davebo:

    That’s a mighty white opinion of Breitbart James.




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  19. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Dude, you have serious reading comprehension problems.




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  20. S. Fields says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    Trump has the same experience with elected office as me. His advisers and his internal cycle of people matters a lot.

    This cannot be stressed enough. In fact, I’m fairly certain Trump has NEVER held a job where he wasn’t the boss or the boss’ kid. That means Trump has as much experience not getting his way as a two year has.




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  21. Tangential question for James, Steven and Doug: have you guys had any recent conversations about what goes in the “main article” sections vs. the “other items of interest”?

    Partly that’s because I’ve been limiting most of my posts to major news stories and topics that generally demand a longish-post. More recently I’ve been putting some shorter articles in the main section based on whether or not they seem to be important, or whether I think they’re likely to garner a lot of comments.

    That’s a long winded way of saying “It depends..




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  22. Kari Q says:

    @Scott:

    Oh, I think that a lot of Democratic voters are going to be paying a lot more. Minorities are going to pay more than the white working class. Women will pay more than men.




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  23. SKI says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Plus, we always need a photo for the main stories and I was in a hurry to post and didn’t have time to pick one out (a boring but true answer).

    That thought/reason actually occurred to me – and I completely get it. 🙂




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  24. bookdragon says:

    This is beyond horrifying. I’ve been in a state of shock and depression all week. It’s not because HRC lost. If the Obama had lost to Romney, I’d have been disappointed, and worried about what would happen to my health care, but that’s all.

    Now, for the first time in my life I am genuinely wondering if this country – *my* country – is going to be a safe place for my kids. My husband and children are Jewish and even here in a county that went bigger for HRC than it did for Obama in ’12, there are swastikas turning up on buildings. I’m not on twitter or facebook, but people who are and were critical of Trump, or just identifiable as non-WASP, have been getting messages about lynchings, cattle cars and gas chambers waiting for them.




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  25. Jc says:

    Don’t forget to write about Alex Jones and how Trump called him to thank him – Another Trump “news” source. I don’t think they get any nuttier than that guy




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  26. CSK says:

    @Jc:

    Oh, yeah. Jones is a major Trumpkin. Apparently neither Trump nor his Muslim-hating devotees are aware that Jones believes that The Brothers Tsarnaev were two poor sweet innocents framed by the U.S government as part of a false flag operation to get the country used to living under martial law imposed by Obama.




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  27. Mona Flambe says:

    @An Interested Party: We all will.




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  28. James Joyner says:

    @Kylopod: @Davebo: I didn’t pay all that much attention to Breitbart even in the early days, mostly dismissing it as rather silly. The idiot kids with the misleadingly-edited videos and whatnot.

    @Rafer Janders: One of the longstanding tenets of my blogging has been to avoid posts along the lines of “Known Idiot Says Something Stupid.” I tend to simply ignore sites, whether on the Right or the Left, that don’t engage in honest, reasonable discourse. That leads to blind spots, in that I literally don’t think I’d ever heard of Steve Bannon until well into the Trump campaign.

    @SKI: I tend to do it based on the amount of original content. I typically use the Quick Picks for Instapundit-style posts that essentially link and quote another article without any real analysis. The main exception is links to longform articles I’ve published elsewhere, which I put into the main feed.




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  29. Jc says:

    Ugh, more great choices….

    From WSJ:

    “Aides to President-elect Donald Trump are focusing on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton as the leading candidates to be the next secretary of state, two people familiar with the process said.”




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  30. Kylopod says:

    @James Joyner:

    I didn’t pay all that much attention to Breitbart even in the early days, mostly dismissing it as rather silly. The idiot kids with the misleadingly-edited videos and whatnot.

    The misleading video led to the loss of a woman’s job in the Obama Administration. This wasn’t kids playing with YouTube. It was racial McCarthyism by a 40-something man whose dishonest actions had real influence, as evidenced by what happened.

    There seems to be a concerted effort by anti-Trump conservatives to resurrect Breitbart the man’s reputation to contrast him with what his site has become since his death. For instance, a couple of months ago Megyn Kelly called Andrew “a great man.” He was not a great man. He was a professional smear artist and quite frankly a disgusting human being, and I’m pretty certain that if he’d been alive today he’d be a strong Trump supporter. He was cut from the same cloth.




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  31. @Kylopod: I thought Andrew Breitbart himself was problematic and represented the worst of sensationalized right-wing media. Having said that, I think that the site has gotten much worse since his passing.




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  32. EddieInCA says:

    Trump Team Starting to Take Shape, Includes alt-Right Link

    STOP IT!

    All of you. Stop it. Stop using the term “Alt-Right”. Let’s call them what they are: “Racist White Nationalists”. Don’t normalize what is openly racist behavior, words, attitudes.

    Whenever you hear anyone using the term, “Alt-Right”, correct them to the proper, honest definition: Racist White Nationalists. Or you can use “White Supremacists”.




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  33. @EddieInCA: I can accept an argument that “alt-right” is not sufficiently well known. I do not however consider the use of the term “normalizing” anything. To ignore these associations is to normalize. Heck, the content of the post is meant to underscore what “alt-right” means.

    I use the phrase “white nationalist” in the text, for that matter.

    I agree that ignoring all this could normalize Bannon. But I see nothing in this post, including the usage of “alt-right” that normalizes him.




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  34. Indeed, it is necessary to get the appropriate understanding of what “alt-Right” means–ignoring the term is not helpful, in my opinion.




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  35. EddieInCA says:

    Trump Team Starting to Take Shape, Includes alt-Right Link

    or

    Trump Team Starting to Take Shape, Includes Racist-White Nationalist Link

    Which one is more accurate? Which one gets the point across better?




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  36. EddieInCA says:

    Indeed, alot of people might want to be part of the alt-right, as it’s sometimes referred to. After all, who could be against an alternative right.

    But Racist White Nationalist? That underscores the true message.

    So, yeah, stop with alt-right.




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  37. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You are right. The tendency among Trump fans is to dismiss the term “alt-right” as an invention of the “left-wing media.” The alt-right has been around for a while, but it was first named thus in 2010 by Richard Spencer, who runs an alt-right white nationalist “think” tank. It is a virulently anti-Semitic movement that, while it is pre-eminently white supremacist, tends to regard Jews as the prime instigators of any civil rights effort that would benefit non-whites. It also, by the way, does not regard Jews as “white people.” One of the alt-right proponents, who masquerades on the Internet behind the name of one of the Founders (I forget which), goes so far as to propose that U.S. citizenship be limited to those who can prove that they are of pure Anglo-Saxon or Germanic ancestry.




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  38. @EddieInCA: I understand your position and thanks for the feedback, but I disagree that what I am doing here is normalizing Bannon or his odious views (indeed, I take exception to the notion that I am normalizing any of it at all).

    I think that the term “alt-Right” is out there and needs to be defined. I think it is more effective to try to make clear what it is, since the term is going to be used. Plus, it does refer to a specific phenomenon and therefore is useful in that regard.

    I tried to bring some attention to this here: Some Alt-Right Basics and Reading Recommendation on the Roots of White Nationalism in the Current Debate.




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  39. An Interested Party says:

    I’m not on twitter or facebook, but people who are and were critical of Trump, or just identifiable as non-WASP, have been getting messages about lynchings, cattle cars and gas chambers waiting for them.

    Hopefully these will be the seeds that grow into an anti-Trump movement that will lead to his undoing, either in four years or perhaps even sooner…one hopes that there are enough good people in this country who won’t tolerate this odious filth nor those who enable it…




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  40. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Potato, persimmon.

    Why not just say: Clueless guy that didn’t expect winning scrambles to fill positions with anyone he can from those that helped fuel his base’s anger.

    Yeah.. wordy. We like short attention span things like “alt-right”

    It’s a mixed bag: looking as bad as a poor person’s home when the extended family drops in for thanksgiving. Mismatched table setting, rocking chairs and lawn chairs around the extended table… and crazy uncle Ernie already three-sheets to the wind.

    The Trolls for Trump are the ones that made a difference in the election, fueling the memes that helped trump.

    They will turn on Trump when he doesn’t deliver. Bannon is there to deal with that backlash proactively.

    .

    It didn’t go well for Paul von Hindenburg, either.




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  41. Mikey says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Clueless guy that didn’t expect winning scrambles to fill positions with anyone he can from those that helped fuel his base’s anger.

    Yeah, the short list is pretty much a Who’s Who of incompetent boobs beloved by the right. Gingrich, Giuliani, Bolton, Palin, Christie…what year is it? And how is filling your cabinet with 20+ years worth of DC and political insiders supposed to “drain the swamp?” They ARE the swamp.




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