Since the election of Donald J. Trump no more than a few weeks ago; He and his transition team have been busy filling 4,000 governmental vacancies and choosing candidates for his cabinet. He made a provocative decision in his selection of Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist for his administration. The cause for the controversy behind this decision is that Steve Bannon is ideologically a part of the “alternative- right”.
The “alternative-right” (Or alt-right) is a disaggregated group of right wingers who reject “establishment” media outlets and generally embrace the ideals of “nativism”, “conservatism”, “American exceptionalism”, “anti-feminism”, and, in some cases, “white ethno-nationalism”.
Steve Bannon has been branded a white supremacist by the progressive media because of his publications, which are inundated with “alt-right” rhetoric. He is also the executive chairman of one of the fastest growing, Internet-based, political media outlets, Breitbart News Network.
Breitbart, and its subscribers, have been extremely supportive of Donald Trump throughout the presidential campaign; due to the complementarity of his ideology to that of the “alt-right”.
On the other hand, during the presidential campaign, mainstream media such as CNN, MSNBC, and even conservative-oriented outlets like FOX News, were slandering Trump because of his mercurial, and perceived megalomaniacal behavior. He seemed to be propagating fascist policies under the slogan: “Make America Great Again”. The media’s depiction of Trump, caused him to become somewhat apprehensive; catalyzing him to accuse the “mainstream media” of being corrupted by “resentful” and influential Republicans, as well as donors and contributors to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Ironically, the perpetual slander of now President-Elect Trump was not enough to impede his momentum, and ultimately seemed to be a large, contributing factor in his victory.
This election proved that the influence of social media “interconnectedness” and the “informational syndication” of the world-wide web was powerful enough that it was able to combat the nearly $700 million raised by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The brilliance of Trump’s strategy was in his realization of both: The challenges of the “mainstream media” (which has a strong influence in manipulating public opinion) as well as the expeditious growth, and influence, of the Internet.
Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News hit 240 million page views (37 million of which were unique) in the last 30 days of the election alone! These statistics show the capability of Breitbart News, and how it can potentially compete with the mainstream conservative media outlet FOX News.
Thinking futuristically once again, Trump chose Steve Bannon to be his campaign manager. Bannon went on to play an undeniable role in Trump’s victory.
Breitbart’s “alternative-right” wing views are akin to Donald Trump’s views; as such, the utilization of this platform will be an easy, more efficient way to promote the Trump brand.
In addition, the growing Breitbart News Network will become Trump’s personalized media outlet, promulgating the “Celebrity in Chief.”
In this case, once again, Donald Trump made a judicious, lucrative, and strategic move that will continue to enhance and propel his relevancy throughout his presidency.
This is an anomalous time in American and world history; it will be interesting to see all this unravel.
Personally, I do not agree with a lot of the ideological framework or perspectives of the “alternative-right” nor the new philosophy of “Trumpism” (which contradicts basic economics and libertarian thought).
However, as American citizens let’s hope for the best; govern ourselves; and do whatever is in our capability to ensure that our rights expand and are not diminished due to government interventionism or neo-fascism.