Steve Bannon in the Flesh Upends the Media’s Damning Caricature of Him

Steve Bannon in the Flesh Upends the Media’s Damning Caricature of Him, by Nicholas Phillips.

If you consume prestige media, then it is likely that you believe a number of things about Steve Bannon on faith. For instance, you might believe that Steve Bannon is a white nationalist and an Islamophobe. And you may well believe that he’s a fascist—perhaps even a Nazi. …

So when Bannon spoke at the Oxford Union recently:

Media Bannon is a white nationalist. But Oxford Bannon said that “ethno-nationalism is a dead-end, and it’s for losers…economic and civic nationalisms bind you together, as citizens, regardless of your race, regardless of your ethnicity.” …

Media Bannon is an Islamophobe. Oxford Bannon noted that, when he was a part of the Trump administration, “we went to Riyadh before Jerusalem, and before Rome, to send a message to the Islamic community: we are there for you and we’re your allies.”

Media Bannon is a fascist. Oxford Bannon argued that “fascism is the worship of the state…it’s the combination of state crony capitalism and big government. It’s exactly what we’re trying to fight.” …

The trouble is that Bannon wanted to discuss ideas, but his audience could only understand him as a caricature. When Oxford Bannon arrived, the audience decided to instead debate a Media Bannon who wasn’t actually there. They weren’t having the same conversation.

Bannon confounds the Left because his economic populism turns out to be pretty progressive—if you’re a Bernie Sanders fan, Bannon seems to “get it.” But that can’t be right—Media Bannon couldn’t possibly be worth listening to. So, when Bannon opens his Oxford speech by lamenting that none of the bankers that caused the Great Recession were prosecuted, and explains how he fought for increasing the tax rate on top earners to 44 percent, and expresses outrage that the middle class hasn’t had a wage increase in 35 years and that 50 percent of Americans can’t scrape together $400 in an emergency, this constitutes a giant inconvenience. The Left quickly gathered that it would have better luck debating Media Bannon.

Bear in mind that Trump was a Democrat for much of his life. Trump’s 2016 platform is roughly that of the early 1990s center-left, like Bill Clinton’s. But that time was before the great realignment, which saw the new left drop the working class and adopt identity politics instead. The new left is an electoral coalition of the rich, welfare recipients, and identity groups against white men, topped up by votes from third world immigrants.