By Matt Taibbi and cross-posted from Rolling Stone
Decades from now, if the planet is even inhabited by then, we will look back at one 72-hour period as the most crucial in the history of America’s last president, Donald John Trump. Between the days of April 5th and 7th, 2017, the Washington political establishment tried to reform our madman president and instead only made him infinitely more dangerous, pushing us closer to doomsday than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis.
Welcome to the Trump era, the flushing-toilet-bowl stage of America’s history, where every move any of us makes is part of a great swirling synergy sucking us with ever-greater alacrity down the hole of failure and destruction. Good news, bad news, it all heads in the same direction soon enough, after a spin or two around the bowl.
Wednesday, April 5th, began with what seemed like the greatest of news. Former Breitbart chief Steve Bannon, the Trump whisperer who had publicly pledged to destroy government from within, was on the outs for, among other things, calling the president’s son-in-law a naughty word. A deluge of gleeful media leaks from the leakiest White House of all time exulted: The witch was dead, Bannon was sidelined, and an “axis of adults” had finally taken over as the key voices behind the president. We were saved!
A few spins of the bowl later, even the sidelining of Bannon turned into bad news. Bannon may currently be America’s most infamous racial reactionary, but in the panoply of racist archetypes, he isn’t easy to characterize. He’s not a gun-toting, moonshine-swilling backwoods Klansman, which is at least a lifestyle one can sort of be born into. His background instead is as an effete suburbanite who went to Virginia Tech, Harvard and the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, made a small fortune in banking and entertainment (he worked for Goldman Sachs and, according to legend, owns a piece of Seinfeld), and only later made promoting ethno-nationalism as an intellectual choice his life mission. If you’re sending a child away to college, Bannon is pretty much the worst-case scenario of what might come back – someone who will spend a lifetime inspired by literature to get more in touch with his inner troglodyte…