Ron Radosh says Steve Bannon Is Winning With the Old Communist Party Playbook

Historians in the News
tags: Ron Radosh, Steve Bannon



The victory of Bible-thumping, gun-pulling, and law-defying extremist Judge Roy Moore over Luther Strange in the Alabama Senate primary is a victory for the self-proclaimed true Trumpists, led by Steven Bannon, who went with the true insurgent over the incumbent the president reluctantly endorsed.

Moore’s triumph is the latest example of the strategy Bannon has used since he was coordinating the East Coast’s Tea Parties—running anti-establishment candidates against mainstream Republican conservatives to push the party in a populist-nationalist direction. It reflects his self-proclaimed Leninist tactic of working every way possible to destroy both the Republican and Democratic establishments. Now, he aims to protect the agenda of Trump, Bannon’s agent of destruction, from the corrupting influence of the establishment inside his own administration.

As Bannon, who see himself as a student of history, may know, his tactics mirror those that gave hope to American Communists in the 1940s, but finally fell short. The CPUSA had established a third party, the Progressive Party, which ran Henry A. Wallace for president in 1948. Their hope was that the unions and others on the left would actually put Wallace in the White House, since Truman was running against Republican Thomas Dewey and racist Southern Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond.

That February, a special election was held to fill a vacancy in New York City’s 24th Congressional District. Four candidates ran: a Democrat, a Republican, a member of the Liberal Party, and a pro-Communist supporter of the Wallace third party, Leo Isacson, who ran on the ticket of the Communist-led American Labor Party. Unexpectedly, and to the great shock of the political establishment, Isacson won.

Isacson’s victory, said Wallace—sounding something like Bannon now—proved that his “so-called third party would be the first party in 1948.” National Democrats panicked, thinking that this race showed Wallace’s strength. They were all wrong. The local victory had no national implications, and was not repeated anywhere else. Wallace was defeated overwhelmingly in November, without winning even one electoral vote.

Likewise, Judge Moore’s victory in Alabama’s very peculiar and particular race this week does not mean Bannon can repeat his success in other states in 2018. As they say, all politics is local. ...




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