Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Steven Bannon is perhaps one of the most influential right-wing socio-political figures in the United States, having served in both politics and journalism. Having been cornered into resigning by the likes of Democratic figures Nancy Pelosi, Bannon is not happy with the current American political paradigm and is on a mission to clear the Republican Party of neoconservatives and RINOs.
Republican incumbents who are not willing to gather behind Trump’s administration and agenda are being identified by Bannon, who is opting to support more nationalist strands of Republican politicians to succeed the following senators in the upcoming United States senate elections in 2018.
1. Senator Bob Corker (Tennessee)
On September 26, 2017, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2018. This announcement was produced one day after Breitbart uncovered Corker’s “deal investment in a Mobile, Alabama retail center arranged by a law firm that donated $28,000 to Luther Strange’s Senate campaign. In that deal, Corker is expected to receive more than $3 million in sales tax payments made by Alabama consumers to the City of Mobile over the next twenty years as part of a sales tax rebate incentive to a development company in which Corker has a 13 percent ownership interest.”
Corker was one of several Republican senators who advised Trump to endorse Luther Strange, whom Corker had financial investments with. Corker’s long history of financial improperties has not gone unaddressed, though he has elected to not comment on the subject.
2. Senator Jeff Flake (Arizona)
On August 1, 2017, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) stated that he would proudly define himself as a “globalist,” stating in his book, Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle,
“… In this country, we are less than 5 percent of the world’s population. We are 20 percent of the world’s economic output. And if we don’t trade, we don’t grow. Given the alternatives, I’ll take the globalist moniker, thank you.”
Flake has also been openly critical of both President Trump and conservative news outlets such as Breitbart, stating that
“We now have a far-right press that too often deals in unreality and a White House that has brought the values of Robert Welch into the West Wing. As a certain kind of extremism is again ascendant in our ranks, we could do well to take a lesson from that earlier time. We must not condone it. We must not use it to frighten and exploit the base. We must condemn it, in no uncertain terms.”
Since Flake’s comments, he has been performing fairly poorly in his 2018 re-election campaign. In an interview with Breitbart News hosts Steve Bannon and Raheem Kassam, Dr. Kelli Ward, a Republican politician who is running for Flake’s position in 2018, stated that, “He’s an open borders, amnesty globalist. He is a self-professed globalist. He much prefers the global community to putting America first. And that is unacceptable in Arizona, and it’s unacceptable in this country.”
Flake has been underwater during the election cycle, with only 21 percent of Arizona Republicans supporting Flake’s election and 47 percent supporting Ward.
3. Senator Roger Wicker (Mississippi)
Wicker’s political situation is a little trickier to navigate, and it is a little difficult to understand why Wicker is allegedly on Bannon’s Republican hit-list; however, according to USA Today, Bannon is looking to promote anti-establishment Republicans to assume positions on the U.S. Senate. Wicker has the support of various establishment Republicans and RINOs, such as President George W. Bush. Wicker’s consistent alignment with neo-conservatism could be a reason for Bannon turning his scopes on him.
4. Senator Debra Fischer (Nebraska)
On October 9, 2016, Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) joined junior Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and about two dozen other GOP members of Congress over the weekend to denounce her party’s presidential nominee and call for Trump to step aside after the release of an old audio recording regarding a rather lewd topic.
There is no current Republican candidate running against Fischer, though it has been made clear that Bannon is intent on recruiting a primary challenge against her.
5. Senator Dean Heller (Nevada)
Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) pledged to “protect Planned Parenthood” during a town hall meeting. According to Life News, Heller stated, “I have no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood.” But when he was asked explicitly if he’d commit to protecting the organization’s funding at the federal level he responded: ‘We’ll continue to look at this issue.’ The crowd broke into loud boos and chants of ‘no’.”
In early September, Bannon held a meeting with attorney and politician Danny Tarkanian, who announced on August 8, 2017 that he would be running against Heller. The meeting was held at the Capitol Hill townhouse that serves as a base of operations for Breitbart News.
6. Senator Ted Cruz (Texas)
Breitbart’s relationship with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been a long and tedious one. One of the first strikes occurred when Bannon discovered that Cruz had donated only a small fraction of his income to his church, not enough to fulfill his tithing duties of 10 percent. The information was intended to be used to dissuade the evangelical vote and engineer more support for Trump’s candidacy.
Initially, however, Breitbart had supported Cruz’s candidacy and Bannon’s opinion of the Texan politician had historically been overwhelmingly positive. However, when Cruz joined Glenn Beck with a trip to the American-Mexican border for a humanitarian mission to provide supplies for needy families, Bannon interpreted the situation as Cruz expressing a weak point on illegal immigration. The result was a Breitbart story titled, “Ted Cruz Joins Glenn Beck for ‘Soccer Balls and Teddy Bears’ Event.”
In a sort of aggressive act of ultimate rejection of President Trump, Cruz gave a speech at the Republican National Convention that got him booed from the stage. Despite his refusal to support Trump, and thereby distancing himself from Bannon’s cause, a source closes to Bannon has disclosed that Breitbart “believes he could still come around and do the right thing” and that “he could still have a future.”
There are a few Republican candidates running against Cruz in the upcoming Texan senatorial election, including self-described pragmatist and attorney Stefano de Stefano, Dan McQueen (who was the mayor of Corpus Christi, TX for 37 days before resigning via Facebook), and former national spokesperson for President Trump, Katrina Pierson. It is likely that Bannon will rally behind Pierson, as she has loyally been one of Trump’s staunchest defenders amidst controversial comments.
7. Senator John Barrasso (Wyoming)
Sen. Jon Barrasso (R-WY) is a Yale-educated orthopedist who has enjoyed his office for approximately a decade (having assumed his position in 2007). Barrasso has openly questioned whether Trump’s “tone” and demeanor accurately reflect American Republican values, and has provoked Trump supporters in the past by being overly critical of the way that Trump states information. Yes, Barrasso is one of the many Republicans who has been influenced by the liberal cancer of political correctness.
There are no candidates running against Barrasso.
8. Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has been the President pro tempore of the United States Senate since January 2015 and is the second highest ranking official in the American Senate. When asked on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria, Hatch stated, “I think we can, but we will need to have some Democrat help. I think we got to put aside the differences and start working together.”
Hatch’s Twitter was immediately outspoken about Charlottesville in September, stating that, “by hate, & have no place in civil society,” and that “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”
Hatch has also extended multicultural influences to President Trump, inviting the commander-in-chief to a Diwali celebration that President emeritus Obama had attended in 2009. Diwali, of course, is a Hindu festival of lights.
“The Hindu and Indian American community is not only critical to the future of the Republican Party, it is also representative of all that is right and good in the American immigrant experience,” wrote Hatch in the letter, adding: “This emerging minority group continues to distinguish itself by embracing the best of our nation’s values.”
There are a multitude of competitors for Hatch’s office, and Bannon has many candidates to rally behind to oppose Hatch.