“…Unmarried, straight white dudes who couldn’t get laid.”

Published on: November 28th, 2019

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There it is. The admission of guilt, in print. The architect of the Trumpian era, Steve Bannon, knew exactly what he was doing all along. Bannon reached into the deep, dark fears of the weak-minded, white, male, incel psyche, and twisted it with the help of Cambridge Analytica and a library’s-worth of false conspiracies and racist rhetoric, according to a Newsweek article published on Oct. 29, 2019. Reporter Tareq Haddad interviewed Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who revealed the details of Bannon’s strategy leading up to Trump’s election in 2016 in his book, Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America (Random House, Oct. 2019).

It really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to most of us. Anyone with even a cursory understanding of 20th Century history could see the strings Bannon was pulling as he drove Trump into an Electoral College win over a popular vote landslide loss. It was a steady drumbeat of xenophobia, racism, and unbridled nationalism — with just enough evangelical Christianity mixed with a subtle undercurrent of anti-semitism — to put the Malignant Narcissist In Chief into the most powerful office in the world. The playbook he used is one we’ve all seen before.

And yet, we know this admission won’t matter to his rabid, foaming-at-the mouth base — even people who might otherwise demonstrate a reasonable amount of logic and intelligence — because, to them, Trump has become a foundational identity. To part ways with him would require too much self-awareness. It would require a sense of empathy they do not possess. It would require the ability to admit they hitched their wagons to the most racist, hateful train this nation’s seen in the Oval Office in our lifetimes.

Meanwhile, Bannon’s “success” didn’t stop at the steps of the White House. A sinister domino effect rippled throughout the darkest recesses of identity cults in white America. And the result manifest itself in blood.

From San Diego, to El Paso, to Charlottesville, to Pittsburgh, to Parkland, the white-right has become the most prolific perpetrator of extremist terrorism on U.S. soil — eclipsing Jihadi acts on an exponential scale. To quote the Nov. 7, 2018 report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Rise of Far-Right Extremism in the United States, “The number of terrorist attacks by far-right perpetrators rose over the past decade, more than quadrupling between 2016 and 2017” (emphasis mine).

In short, Trump didn’t need to set the National Guard loose on U.S. citizens, or employ the efforts of some new, underground, dark-of-night secretive branch of the military. In this case, the disenfranchised, involuntarily celibate, white, male, lone gunman, has become Trump’s own, autonomously operating Schutzstaffel.

Bannon may have been cut loose by this administration more than a year ago, but the damage is done. We remain in a cold civil war, and the current impeachment process is fanning the flames. The closer we get to holding this administration accountable for its criminal actions, the more the Trump faithful see it as an attack on their very identity. And, emboldened by a figurehead whose entire administration has been a case study of lawlessness and corruption, our populace is imperiled in a way we haven’t witnessed in a generation at least.

Our very union is being torn asunder from within. And all it took was one man’s clever manipulation of the most suggestible among us — and one sideshow barker with a knack for self-promotion to capitalize on it. When the dust finally settles, the question remains: Just how fragile were we all along?

I only hope there’s a future where this question is answered and prevented from being exploited again. 

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