I have a Bacon number of 3. This means I worked on a movie with a girl who acted in a film with a guy who appeared in “Footloose” with Kevin Bacon. It’s frankly ridiculous how happy this makes me.
Anyone can find a connection to almost anyone on the globe in just a few short steps. These connections more often reflect happenstance acquaintance than intimate friendship, but the connection exists nonetheless. And humans thrive on even minor ties.
For instance, I’ve (briefly) met sports legends Tony Hawk, Luc Robitaille, and Bill Walton. Even though my interactions with each were momentary and insignificant — they certainly wouldn’t remember me — I’ve felt a personal connection to them ever since. Whether it be Robitaille’s cameo in “D2: The Mighty Ducks” or Hawk’s appearance on an episode of “Last Man Standing,” I always experience the rush of that “I know him!” kind of feeling. It makes you feel like you’re connected to that movie or T.V. show too. You might even say it breeds a type of loyalty.
Bonds like these can establish loyalty in all spheres, and in politics especially, that can be hazardous if not treated with caution. So if somebody seems to have particular difficulty in distancing themselves from an obviously unacceptable group or ideology, you might want to ask yourself, “What’s the connection?”
You probably already know what I’m talking about: Donald Trump’s failure to call out white supremacists, the KKK, and (most importantly, I think) the Alt-Right by name in his statement on Charlottesville on Saturday. The remarks we so vague that The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, posted shortly afterward: “He loves us all. … No condemnation at all. … God bless him.”
On Monday, Trump finally decried “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups” as “repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” This is a start, but there’s one group noticeably absent from his denouncement: the Alt-Right, major players in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. The Alt-Right has nothing to do with conservatism, contrary to many news reports, but is a disgusting, racist, and evil organization built on the pillars of fascistic white supremacy. So why can’t Trump condemn it? Because he’s too close to it.
Trump has an Alt-Right number of 1.
What’s the connection? White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon. Bannon is the CEO of Breibart News, the outlet he dubbed “the platform for the Alt-Right.” Ben Shapiro has stated, “I have no evidence that Bannon’s a racist or that he’s an anti-Semite. … With that said, as I wrote at The Washington Post in August, Bannon has openly embraced the racist and anti-Semitic alt-right,” which Shapiro equates to “appeasement of anti-Semitism” at the very least.
In short, Bannon’s no good, and Trump knows it. But he still won’t do anything about it — or even say anything about it, which is normally all does anyway.
For months, Trump has refused to confirm whether he still has confidence in his strategist, yet Bannon stays. Trump now reportedly suspects Bannon of releasing the infamous White House leaks, and although legendary former Communications Director Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci has reassured us that Trump “knows what he’s going to do with Steve Bannon,” there’s been no news of shaken relations or even Trump’s tweet-typical criticism. The Mooch further attributed Trump’s lackluster Charlottesville statement to Bannon’s influence: “You also got this sort of Bannon-bart influence in there, which I think is a snag on the president.”
That snag on the president remains, and it doesn’t appears to be going anywhere. To be clear, that doesn’t mean that Trump supports the Alt-Right or believes in its cause. But a condemnation of the Alt-Right would constitute a de facto denouncement of the man who gave it a voice. For whatever reason, Trump doesn’t seem willing to do that; his connection and apparent loyalty to Bannon are too strong.
For now, Steve Bannon appears untouchable. And unfortunately, ipso facto, the same goes for the Alt-Right.
Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.