Bannon doesn’t have any way of targeting potential impeachment votes directly. But Republican senators who don’t want to purge McConnell or eliminate the filibuster are a pretty decent proxy. These senators are the institutionalists, the ones least likely to blindly support Trump. In any impeachment scenario, the Republican base is likely to be whipped up into a pro-Trump frenzy. Which senators are most likely to stand up to the base? Probably the same ones who would oppose angry demands for McConnell’s head on a pike. It is a crude but potentially effective heuristic for identifying secret enemies — a bit like the way the Khmer Rouge executed people merely for having eyeglasses, since glasses indicated they might be an intellectual.
If this is indeed Bannon’s strategy — there’s no way to know — the most telling detail is Senator Rand Paul’s omission from his target list. Paul played a decisive role in the defeat of the last Obamacare-repeal bill. While Paul does not face reelection until 2022, he’s the only one of the three Republican senators who opposed the last repeal bill who is vulnerable to a conservative primary challenge. (Susan Collins can run as an independent, and John McCain is battling cancer and retiring.) And yet Paul has managed to cozy up to the president, and rather than facing any punishment for his decisive no vote, was invited to the White House to endorse Trump’s executive actions to weaken Obamacare.