Even if you like what President Trump is trying to do, let’s be honest. His first month in office was pretty much a mess. We can attribute much of it to incompetence, and yes, he’s obviously in over his head.
But it’s more than that. There may well be a method to his madness, and the architect of this madness is his White House advisor Steve Bannon.
Bannon, though bright, is a committed ideologue. He believes that we are heading to a clash of civilizations, Christianity vs. Islam. The apocalypse is coming.
He believes, to fight Islam, we must have ethnic purity at home…we must defeat the notion of a multicultural America. This is totally scary, un-American and wrong…and oh, did I say dangerous. Yet, this is Bannon’s belief system. You can hear it in his speeches and interviews over the past several years. He’s a nationalist, and if that invites white supremacists to join him, so be it. Everything he does in his career is toward that goal…defeat Islam…or Muslims will take over the world.
Enter Donald Trump. While Bannon has been spouting this view in speeches and interviews, as well as providing a platform for it while heading up Breitbart News, he’s been looking for someone to carry his message to the seat of power.
He needs, in a sense, an empty vessel, someone devoid of any particular philosophy, a vessel that could now be filled with his ideas. He saw possibilities in Trump, a man who would say anything to get on center stage.So look what’s happened since. Bannon moves in on Trump’s campaign, get’s himself appointed campaign manager, and then, upon election, the President’s chief advisor. But that’s not enough. Now he secures a permanent slot on the National Security Council, while having the head of the Joint Chiefs removed along with the Director of National Intelligence.
He’s gaining the power he needs. But here’s the key. For his plan to work, two things have to be done.
First, he needs to make sure Russia is on America’s side in it’s conflict with Islam. For at least the past half century, Russia has usually taken the opposite side in whatever we’re doing or trying to do in the Middle East. It really is the only power in the world that could complicate Bannon’s efforts. This might be the real reason we’re cozying up to Putin, not Trump’s hotels. Now why would Putin go along with this?
The Russian dictator would love to see America become isolationist. If we withdraw from our alliances, if we stop backing up NATO, etc., then Russia will be able to expand its territory and influence in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. Why wouldn’t he be friendly with Trump?
And the second must-do in Bannon’s master plan is reelect Trump, otherwise everything they do will be undone by the voters rejecting him.
So, here’s his strategy.
One, solidify the base. Give the right-wing, the Tea Party and the Christian Right everything they want including the Supreme Court, the border wall, the immigration ban, voting restrictions, transgender discrimination…do it all, because this guarantees that Trump won’t be challenged by the right wing of his party in the primaries when he runs for re-election. He’s safe forever with his base, and therefore his party. Now admittedly, that’s only 40% of the country. How does he get up to the 50% threshold?
He needs to weaken or delegitimize the only two institutions left in America that can stop him: the free media and the courts.
Regarding the media, he launches an unrelenting assault on our First Amendment protection of a free press, with charges of fake news and bias and lying when it’s obviously Trump and his people doing all the above. He does that so when crimes or corruption or worse are uncovered by the press, he can always say, “Well, you can’t believe what that paper or network says, they’re making it up. They’re the Enemy of the American people.” He basically protects himself from any bad news, because he’s already got a bunch of people ready to disbelieve the reports. That’s the purpose of his attacks. Set the press up as the enemy and then beat it down every day to cast doubts on its credibility. He doesn’t have to win that many new people over to his 40% base to get over the 50% hump for re-election.
And two, in his strategy to get Trump re-elected, he needs to try to, if not actually, delegitimize the courts, at least set them up to be the culprit if Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric results in increased terrorist recruitment and consequentially, another attack in the United States. You see, he can dodge responsibility by saying, “It’s the court’s fault for denying his partial immigration ban, so our blood is on the court’s hands.” In fact, he’s already said that. And, God forbid, if there is another incident, inevitably the nation gathers around it’s leader in a show of patriotism, and that’ll be how he gets the few extra percent of voters he needs to put him over the top.
There you have the grand strategy coming from the White House. To the outside world this all looks like chaos. I’m suggesting it may not be chaos at all. It’s a designed purposeful madness…and, I hope I’m wrong.