Roger L. Simon

The Man Who Should Replace Steve Bannon and Why

The already-fired Steve Bannon is — let’s assume — finally gone as a close White House adviser. There’s little point in rehashing the pluses and minuses of his influence or the extent thereof. Time to move on.

To aid in doing so, the president should put someone impressive in the conspicuous position of consigliere that Bannon once occupied, at least in the eyes of the press. Fill the vacuum.

That person should be Larry Elder.

Yes, that choice is unabashedly “racist” (“useful idiots” might prefer “multi-cultural” or some such) because Elder is African-American, although the well-known author, lawyer and political commentator could easily stand on his own merits without the slightest hint of affirmative action from any quarter.

Nevertheless, the man is known as “The Sage from South Central” (Los Angeles’ black belt) and that is the point. With Elder’s help, Trump can honor one of his key campaign pledges — to raise the conditions of African-American communities in our country and ultimately even help to expunge that divisive term “African-American” from our lexicon. We are all Americans. Forget the hyphens.

In other words — symbolically, personally and ideologically — Elder could assist in smashing the most reactionary force in our country today: identity politics.

Not that that pledge to better African-American communities has been completely overlooked. Far from it. Significant gains have been occurring under the radar that are now going public.

Unemployment among black workers is at its lowest since at least the early 1970s, when the government began tracking the data. 

The black unemployment rate of 6.8 percent in December was the lowest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking it in 1972, a year in which the rate ranged from 11.2 percent to 9.4 percent. In the 45 years the data has been tracked, the unemployment rate for black or African-American workers aged 16 years and older has never fallen below 7 percent. [bold mine]

How much of this is due to Trump is difficult to ascertain, but he certainly hasn’t hurt and has probably helped to a decent extent. All boats, as they say, have been rising. Even pay levels are finally starting to show growth.

Whatever the case, it is ironic that blacks are suddenly doing better under a Republican administration despite their decades of unremitting fealty to the Democratic Party. (You can be sure the likes of Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee and the Rev. Al will be as quiet as possible about that. It might, we can only hope, finally put them out of business.)

And with a booming stock market, coupled with enriched corporate coffers through the new tax reform law, opportunities to build on this upswing abound. Lots needs to be done. Black homeownership is still very low and their unemployment rate, though improving, is still considerably higher than the white one.

We are well positioned now to put Jack Kemp-style tax incentives in place to encourage corporations bringing their billions back to our shores to invest in disadvantaged communities (not just black, obviously). The impact would be extraordinary if it happened, and really change the atmosphere in our country socially and politically. The Democrats might even have to rise above personal attacks and come up with some actual programs…. Well, maybe not.

Larry Elder is the perfect guy to oversee and cheerlead this new approach, not just because he has been thinking about it for a long time and would know how to do it — utilizing those incentives, which create more permanent change, rather than government spending, which usually disappears into the ether —  but because he is a terrific communicator. The man is warm and funny. (Yes, I know him, so can attest to both, but those traits are apparent daily on radio and television.)

Trump has made a number of superb personnel selections — Gorsuch, Mnuchin, and Nikki Haley (Brava! Brava!) are just a few — others not so good. Bannon may have had his uses at the outset, but they seem to have declined. He did not, as it used to say on our report cards, “work and play well with others.”

Time, I suggest, for Larry Elder.

And, if you need more evidence, he knows how to respond to a troll better than anyone I know.


Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.