What's unfolding in Alabama with Roy Moore's Senate campaign is a pivotal and potentially defining moment for Brand Bannon.
Moore's decisive primary win
over Sen. Luther Strange was the opening salvo of the Bannon election cycle.
Moore's win delivered Bannon a much-needed victory after being chased out of the West Wing. Even more meaningful, it was a win without Trump -- against him, in fact
. Something that could distinguish Bannon as more than a one-hit wonder.
Moore became the poster child for Bannon's "League of Extraordinary Candidates
" -- a "movement" to defeat the Republican establishment in Republican primaries throughout the country in 2018.
In Moore, Bannon showed that a racist, homophobic, xenophobic old, white guy could contend for a United States Senate seat, bolstered by the Breitbart audience that contains more than its share of, you guessed it, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, old, white guys.
Does anybody think accusations of sexual abuse and pursuit of young girls
were going to give Bannon pause about supporting Moore?
Bannon's ambitions for the 2018 midterms were dependent on momentum for Roy Moore
and illustrating that he could find and recruit candidates that would avoid the
Todd Akin, Sharon Angle and Christine O'Donnell traps from years past. Now, that rationale has been obliterated. Bannon is already set up to be the fall guy whether Moore wins or loses.
Quite frankly, Moore could still win
(which tells me I wish we could swap Alabama for Puerto Rico as a state but I digress).
In spite of this, Politico reports that sources
familiar with Bannon's thinking say, "It is 100% fake news that Steve Bannon would abandon Judge Moore" and that "he is standing with Judge Moore through thick and through thin."
Sounds like the same Steve Bannon who used "Billy Bush Weekend" as a litmus test for Chris Christie
The only thing I think that could convince Bannon to retreat, is if his financial benefactors
, the Mercers, order him to disavow Moore. Even after they abandoned Milo Yiannopoulos, it makes you wonder how comfortable they are with their front man being so closely associated with an alleged sexual predator.
Bannon isn't just standing by Roy Moore, he's running interference for him -- reportedly going so far
as to intervene with Sean Hannity to convince him to abandon his announced intentions to dump Moore.
I know from experience that Steve loves a fight, especially one where everyone tells him he can't win.
However, his refusal to retreat from this battle could cost him the war he plans on waging in 2018.
The damage to Brand Bannon is done and is devastating.
Going forward, Bannon should worry that if he isn't careful, his endorsement may someday carry a stigma, not totally unlike the kind of baggage you would get from accepting the support of ex-KKK Leader David Duke or fellow racist Richard Spencer.
When Duke and Spencer openly support a candidate, that campaign gets besieged with questions about whether they support a racist agenda and are called upon to speak out and condemn them.
That's what the future holds for any political candidate who solicits or receives Steve Bannon's public support.
Those campaigns need to ask themselves, "Do we really want the public support of a guy who stood by a guy like Roy Moore