Editor’s Note: I don’t know what “Far Right” even means. I think it means being White and being with fine with that and White solidarity over individualism.
Donald Trump is done.
Steve Bannon was done years ago and had been reduced to hosting a now defunct YouTube show while serving as Miles Guo’s butler. The Alt-Right splintered almost four years ago and even some of the people who were most heavily involved in it like this website have recognized its flaws, continued to evolve and moved on from it over the course of the Trump presidency. Far from being a “white supremacist” riot, the Capitol Siege was a conspiratard goon march by Donald Trump’s most dead end and delusional followers. It was the apocalyptic fulfillment of Q’s prophecy that “The Storm Is Coming.”
“In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, Steve Bannon was widely credited as the “mastermind” behind Donald Trump’s win. Glowing profiles in mainstream outlets followed — a fact that was apparently on Trump’s mind when he removed the Breitbart propagandist from his White House perch as chief strategist. It was perhaps not surprising that a man as fundamentally driven by vainglory and lucre as Trump would eventually come to cross-purposes with Bannon, who, for all his credentials as a showbiz pundit, often aspired to be something like the intellectual (indeed, spiritual) sage of right-wing populism.
This remarkable tension between hyperreal sensationalism and spiritualist sensationalism are brought to the fore in Benjamin Teitelbaum’s excellent new book War for Eternity: Inside Bannon’s Far-Right Circle of Global Power Brokers. Part ethnography, part biography of Bannon, and part political analysis, War for Eternity draws on extensive interviews with Bannon and other intellectual scions on the far right to unpack the “ultraconservative ideology” of traditionalism that animates their transnational efforts. …
What makes the clowns all part of the same circus is less their shared commitments than their mutual bêtes noires — namely, modernity. All believe that with the advent of modern liberalism — and its permissiveness, pluralism, and materialism — something fundamental was lost. More secular variants of traditionalism tend to emphasize a sense of community, belonging, and national purpose. More New Agey and mystical brands insist on abandoning materialism and returning to a more spiritually disciplined existence. As Teitelbaum puts it …
The right-wing populism of figures like Steve Bannon, for instance, excludes huge swaths of workers, despite his claims of championing a working-class politics. Compare that to democratic socialism, which offers all workers not just better material conditions, but empowerment — extending basic economic and political rights that neoliberalism has allowed to wither away.
Unfortunately, the allure of traditionalism remains relatively strong, as people grope for a sense of meaning and community beyond the atomization and one-dimensionality of contemporary capitalism. But Medicare for All and democracy on the job are much more meaningful than mystical rhetoric about a transcendent source of insight only a few reactionary intellectuals are allowed to possess.”
It was a bizarre experience for us to watch on television.
I never signed up for or had anything to do with that version of rightwing populism. I had supported Donald Trump in 2016 because the MAGA agenda was an improvement over mainstream conservatism, not to join a personality cult and live through a reality television presidency.
In spite of all these huge flaws, it is worth remembering that Trump won the 2016 election. He also won over 10 million more votes in the 2020 election. He only lost the election to Joe Biden by a thousand votes in a handful of swing states and that is because Right Indies and Moderates who are populist voters didn’t show up for him because he neglected his mandate. What if Trump hadn’t bungled his response to COVID-19? What if he had sent in the military to crush the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots? What if Jared Kushner hadn’t been in charge of alienating his base and running his campaign into the ground?
Contrast Donald Trump who won more votes in 2020 with Bernie Sanders. Bernie ran in 2016 and lost to Hillary Clinton. He ran again in 2020 only to get smoked by Joe Biden and lost more states than he did in 2016. It appears that much of Bernie Sanders’ support in 2016 wasn’t a vote for “democratic socialism” so much as it was a vote by White men against Hillary Clinton. Bernie went from winning 23 states to winning only 9 states. Woke Bernie’s campaign was more of a disaster than Trump’s campaign. Jared Kushner did a better job than whoever was running Bernie’s 2020 campaign.
Why did Joe Biden win the Democratic nomination? Why did Trump win over 10 million more voters than last time? Why Bernie Sanders support actually drop over the 2016 election? Why did Elizabeth Warren’s campaign go down in flames? Why aren’t folks buying what they are selling? Florida voters approved a $15 minimum wage. 63% of voters support universal health care. 45% of voters last fall supported Universal Basic Income. 65% of Americans now support monthly $2,000 checks. 2/3rds of Americans support raising taxes on the wealthy. 60% of voters support cancelling $50,000 of student loan debt. And yet, the popularity of the product doesn’t translate into political support for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. There is something fatally flawed about socialism and progressivism.
What is that flaw? Why does a super majority of the public say in polls that they support ending overseas wars, support taxing the wealthy, support a massive investment in our infrastructure, support $2,000 checks, support student loan debt forgiveness, support universal health care, but nowhere even close to a majority supports Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? The answer is that the American public and even Democrats refuse to support the radical Modernism that defines the Far Left.
What is Modernism? It is cultural liberation and cultural egalitarianism. It is anti-traditionalism. The most extreme and resented form of it is Social Justice ideology, political correctness or now wokeness. This is what repulses the Right and alienates moderates in the Center. The most extreme form of it was on display in the George Floyd riots over the summer when mobs of Left-Modernists burned down businesses and tore down historic monuments. These people were so extreme that they drove Hispanics all over the country to vote for Donald Trump. They are why Joe Biden defeated Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary because even Democrats don’t want to empower those people.
As Jacobin often likes to point out, rightwing populists have a knack for using the culture war rhetoric to win over White working class voters and Trump showed that he could even make inroads among non-White working class voters. They can also strategically adopt progressive issues like $2,000 checks or how Trump in 2016 against NAFTA and globalism. In the end though, this doesn’t amount to much for working class voters because it is largely optical. Trump railed against China, but relented and agreed to sell them more soybeans. Trump railed against NAFTA to replace it with USMCA. He railed against Wall Street in the 2016 campaign only to transform into a Wall Street cheerleader in office. It is very easy for the populist Right to steal these issues because moderate voters like the product, but not the Democratic brand which is associated with extreme Modernism and political correctness.
Currently, the debate in the mainstream Right is about whether there is a future for “Trumpism without Trump” in the Republican Party. This website is pushing for a revival of Longism in the “Far Right.” From Trumpism, we should salvage immigration restriction, protectionism/developmental capitalism, isolationism, social conservatism and opposition to political correctness. From Longism, we should take the stillborn “Share Our Wealth” program. We should embrace wealth redistribution. In such a way, we could create a more potent populist movement that divides the Democrats between the Democratic Independent Liberal Elite (DILEs) wing and the Democratic Leaning Working Class (DLWCs) wing. We know that the extreme Modernism of the Far Left is unpopular even within the Democratic Party and the solution to it is to isolate those people by giving the redistributionist wing what it wants.
The obvious compromise that would depolarize our politics is give the vast majority of voters on both sides what they want more than anything else: wealth redistribution for ending the culture war. The Republican elite will scream “SOCIALISM” in terror. The Democratic elite will scream “RACISM” in terror. Neither wing of our neoliberal ruling class is really opposed to each other on what matters most to them. They would have rather put up with Trump for another four years than something like this. Far from being a terrifying “fascist,” Trump cut their taxes and normalized LGBTQ rights.
What do you think? Is this a rotten deal for workers or one that the overwhelming majority of working class people would support? The thought of all the wealth of the oligarchs who have been buying our elections for my entire lifetime slipping away while being slowly crushed to death by a wealth cap that lowers each year brings a smile to my face. Having to live off only $15 million is like reducing these people to poverty. They hated Huey Long so much that he was killed for suggesting it.
Can we find a candidate in time for 2024 who can run against political correctness/wokeness and extreme income inequality? Not another fake Bannonite populist like Trump? Someone with the demagogue skills of Trump and the ideology and work ethic of Huey Long who can BTFO all the enemies of ordinary people to build political support? Huey Long 2.0 would win in a landslide.