Steve Bannon Might Be Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

At the moment, everyone is trying to figure out exactly how scared to be of the imminent Donald Trump presidency. In part, this comes down to the question of how seriously to take some of his more radical proposals and rhetoric pertaining to minority groups, as well as his flirtation with anti-Semitic tropes and imagery.

For those hoping for a best-case scenario in which Trump is just another Republican president, here’s a less-than-encouraging data point:

Until he left in August to work for Trump during the campaign’s closing months, Bannon was the executive chairman of the far-right Breitbart News. Over the last couple of years, Breitbart has not only chummed the internet’s waters with endless fodder for racists, but has also explicitly worked to normalize a set of white-nationalist and anti-Semitic ideas.

Perhaps the most infamous example of this came in March, when Milo Yiannopoulos — last seen bathing in pigs’ blood to protest Islam — and Allum Bokhari published “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” an article that went out of its way to soft-peddle a wide range of racist and anti-Semitic figures and ideas, presenting them in an extremely sympathetic light. “The alt-right’s intellectuals would also argue that culture is inseparable from race,” noted Yiannopoulos and Bokhari at one point. “The alt-right believe that some degree of separation between peoples is necessary for a culture to be preserved. A Mosque next to an English street full of houses bearing the flag of St. George, according to alt-righters, is neither an English street nor a Muslim street — separation is necessary for distinctiveness.”

That article earned a rebuke from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which put it in the broader context of Breitbart’s trajectory:

Over the past year the media outlet has been openly promoting the core issues of the Alt-Right, introducing these racist ideas to its readership – much to the delight of many in the white nationalist world who could never dream of reaching such a vast number of people.

Breitbart has always given a platform to parts of the radical right, most notably elements of the organized anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant movements. Breitbart has also organized conferences featuring nativist speakers and published op-eds and interviews with movement leaders. But since 2015, Breitbart began publishing more overtly racist diatribes about Muslims and immigrants.

Again, this publication took its current shape under the man who could be the next White House chief of staff.