Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh believes former White House strategist Steve Bannon is “taking over the role of the Republican Party.” The remarks come as Bannon vamps up a full-frontal assault against GOP lawmakers in preparation for the 2018 midterm elections.
“I think what Bannon is doing is slowly but surely taking over the role of the Republican Party, and people joining Bannon [are doing the same],” the radio host said last Wednesday. “The Republican Party is obviously not with [President] Trump on balance. You have some in the House who are, but the Republican Party on balance is not with Trump.”
Both the Republican and Democratic Parties are undergoing existential crises over what their identities should be amid a changed political landscape upended by populism, rapid shifts in media, and global networks. Whereas Democrats are torn between establishment candidates and the progressive wing of the party, the GOP has erupted into an all-out war between Trumpians and moderate Republicans.
“Some people make an argument that there really isn’t a Republican Party left,” Limbaugh continued. “But whereas the party used to be known for one, two, or three very serious things, they’re not anymore. When the Republican Party joins the Democratic Party on things like amnesty for illegal immigrants — that’s not the Republican Party. The Republican Party ceases to exist in the area of immigration, for example.”
Like Fox News, The Rush Limbaugh Show has long been a bridge connecting the GOP establishment with its base. With Trump’s election, and Bannon’s war against longstanding conservative lawmakers, figures like Limbaugh are caught in a game of tug-of-war between two different Republicans fighting for the voice of the party.