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The Van Jones Case Provides a Usable Template to Force Stephen Bannon Out

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | November 14, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | November 14, 2016 |

Most of you probably don’t know this, but Van Jones — the CNN pundit who made headlines throughout the election season by arguing forcefully against Donald Trump and his surrogates — was once a White House appointee who was forced to resign as special adviser on green jobs under the Obama administration after coming under attack from Republicans.

It wasn’t a high profile appointment, but Jones’ resignation did come in 2009, when Obama and the Democrats not only had control of the House and the Senate, they did so by much larger margins than the Republicans do now (and Obama won the 2008 election handily). That year, about eight months after Obama was sworn in as President, the Republicans began fiercely criticizing Van Jones, accusing him of being a Communist, having ties to a truther organization, and highlighting a video from an old lecture of his where Jones called Republicans “assholes.”

After days of pressure, Jones resigned from his appointment, which like Bannon’s does not require Senate approval. He was not fired. He bowed out over public pressure.

That was 2009, and this is 2016, and obviously things have changed dramatically. Calling Republicans assholes in an old lecture probably wouldn’t even register today, but the point still stands: Jones was such a distraction for the Obama administration that Jones had to resign so that Obama could move ahead on the matters of his administration.

Likewise, this is the only way to force white supremacist Stephen Bannon out. He does not require Senate confirmation, either, so it will have to be through public pressure. The media must not normalize him. The electorate must be reminded of his views and that of the media organization he runs, Breitbart News, and Democrats and others must brand him with the domestic violence charges leveled against him. The oppo file on this guy must be 10-feet thick. It must all come out, slowly in dribs and drabs.

Trump and his administration team is going to ignore it, but hopefully as the chorus grows louder, and as some reasonable Republicans (hopefully) join in, Trump will realize what a distraction Bannon is, and how little he is going to be able to accomplish as long as Bannon remains the center of conversation. Anything that takes the focus off of Trump is going to upset Trump, and he is not trepidatious when it comes to letting people go.

Often the only way to save a Democracy is by grinding the gears of Democracy to a halt.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.