08 October 2017 | Jake Johnson| Common Dreams
“Encouraged by former White House chief strategist and current executive chairman of Breitbart Steve Bannon, Blackwater founder and “notorious mercenary” Erik Prince is reportedly considering a 2018 Senate run in Wyoming against incumbent Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).
Prince’s plan was first reported by the New York Times on Sunday. Though Prince has few personal or political ties to Wyoming, the Times notes that the state is “attractive” to him “because it has none of the personal political entanglements he would face in his home state of Michigan.”
The Times continued:
Over the weekend, Mr. Prince traveled to Wyoming with his family to explore ways to establish residency there, said one person who had spoken to him.
If he runs, Mr. Prince would face formidable obstacles in seeking to unseat Mr. Barrasso, a popular and genial but low-profile senator who will have the full backing of Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and the well-funded political committees loyal to him. Mr. Prince, who has never run for public office, has been a controversial figure for years, as Blackwater faced a welter of ethical and legal problems over its work for the military in places like Iraq, including an episode in 2007 in which its employees killed 17 civilians in Baghdad.
Prince, who is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is just one of many noxious figures Bannon is currently backing for political office.
Last month, Bannon celebrated the victory of religious fundamentalist and “lawless bigot” Roy Moore in Alabama’s special election primary. The Times notes that Bannon is also hoping to persuade Ann LePage, the wife of Maine Gov. Paul LePage to challenge Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) in 2018.
As Common Dreams has reported, Bannon worked hard to promote Prince’s much-publicized plan to privatize the war in Afghanistan while he was still in his position in the White House.
Prince has also been on something of a promotional tour himself, appearing on television and in the pages of newspapers like the Times to peddle his “strategy” for winning the war in Afghanistan—which, unsurprisingly, proposes the use of private mercenaries and contractors. In a recent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Prince proposed placing Afghanistan under the rule of a “viceroy.”
Critics reacted with a mixture of dismay and alarm that someone with Prince’s record could be in a position to gain political power.