Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said this week that Breitbart News Executive Chairman and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is “taking over the role of the Republican Party” as he looks to support conservative challengers to establishment lawmakers in 2018.
“I think what Bannon is doing is slowly but surely taking over the role of the Republican Party, and people joining Bannon are [doing the same],” he said Wednesday. “The Republican Party is obviously not with [President] Trump on balance — you have some in the House who are — but the Republican Party on balance is not with Trump.”
Bannon was one of the main populist/nationalist voices in the Trump White House, fighting to keep Trump true to the “America First” platform which catapulted him into the Oval Office. Since Bannon’s departure, Trump appears to have been tempted by the establishment siren song coming from the donor class, GOP congressional leaders, and the “West Wing Democrats” on a number of issues, including DACA and Afghanistan.
But the establishment was dealt a serious blow last month when Judge Roy Moore beat the establishment-backed Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in the Alabama Senate primary, despite Strange outspending Moore by as much as 10-1. This has led to widespread speculation in the media that Bannon-backed conservative candidates could pose a serious threat to establishment candidates in 2018.
Limbaugh argued that this development comes as the Republican elite has cozied up with donors and Democrats while ignoring the voices of the people who voted them into office:
Some people make an argument that there really isn’t a Republican Party left. I mean, there are people who call themselves that and they go out and raise money and they raise a lot. But whereas the party used to be known for one, two, or three very serious things, they’re not anymore. When the Republican Party joins the Democratic Party on things like amnesty for illegal immigrants — that’s not the Republican Party. The Republican Party ceases to exist in the area of immigration, for example.
Limbaugh went on to argue that Bannon and his allies are trying to keep the identity of the Republican Party alive as the Republicans in Congress are joining Democrats on “issue after issue.”
“The Republican party is the fundraising arm of the House and the Senate and their lobbyist buddies — that’s who Bannon is running against,” he said. “They’re running against the Republican establishment is what’s going on and, in the process, becoming the Republican Party.”