After Roy Moore’s victory over incumbent Senator Luther Strange in Alabama, the former White House strategist and alt-right media mogul was on top of the world. He had just bumped off the establishment pick for the seat of now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and there was talk that Bannon was now the de facto head of the Republican Party. The insurgent strategist announced plans to challenge every sitting Republican senator who came up for re-election in 2018. Luther Strange was to be only his first victim.
Even before the story of Roy Moore’s affinity for underage girls broke, things were starting to crumble for Bannon. In early November, Robert Mercer, a hedge fund billionaire and major conservative donor, announced that he was selling his stake in Breitbart, Bannon’s alt-right website. In his announcement, Mercer cited differences with Bannon and Milo Yiannopoulos, an alt-right firebrand elevated to stardom on Breitbart who was revealed to have links to white nationalists and a soft spot for pedophilia.
The hits seem to just keep on coming for Bannon.
Now Sheldon Adelson, another billionaire conservative donor, has announced that he is breaking ties with Steve Bannon. To add insult to injury, Adelson is making clear that he is not just breaking off relations with Bannon, he is declaring war on the populist wing of the GOP.
“The Adelsons will not be supporting Steve Bannon’s efforts,” Andy Abboud, an Adelson spokesman, told Politico. “They are supporting Mitch McConnell 100 percent. For anyone to infer anything otherwise is wrong.”
Adelson’s break with Bannon comes a day after he addressed the Zionists of America and called on the Jewish group to “work as partners” against the Republican establishment per Haaretz. Adelson, who is Jewish, was originally slated to introduce Bannon at the gala event.
The break between Adelson and Bannon seems to have little to do with Zionism or Bannon’s alleged but unproven anti-Semitism and everything to do with Bannon’s attempted hostile takeover of the Republican Party. With little to show from the Republican control of Washington and retirements mounting from experienced congressional Republicans, last week’s Democrat sweep of the off-year elections and the sudden implosion of Roy Moore’s campaign were apparently the last straw.
Bannon’s problems with Moore and Yiannopoulos were both due to insufficient vetting. Internet sleuths found embarrassing videos of Yiannopoulos while the Washington Post investigated longstanding rumors about Moore. With Bannon openly supporting Kelli Ward in Arizona, a Republican senatorial candidate who once hosted a town hall meeting with chemtrails as the subject, Adelson must have been wondering what other surprises he could expect from Bannon’s handpicked candidates.
Mitch McConnell may not be the most charismatic or conservative of Republicans, but he is a survivor who helped to rebuild the party after the Democrat wave election in 2008. Sheldon Adelson has apparently decided that the Bannon revolution has run its course and decided to choose experience over populist anger.