More bad news for the Republican Party
Be wary of anyone who purports to understand the deep meaning of President Trump’s decision to side with the Democrats on short-term budget issues. Nobody knows what he’s up to, and this probably includes Trump himself.
Nonetheless, his recent foray into bipartisanship provides the occasion to explore the path he chose not to take at the beginning of his administration. He had the opportunity to put Democrats in a tight spot. Instead, he has spent his energies since Jan. 20 strengthening the hand of his opponents and weakening his own party.
Former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon is planning to escalate his war with the GOP establishment, by promoting primary challengers who will run against GOP incumbents on a platform that is fully faithful to Trumpism, multiple news organizations are reporting today.
This is a good raw political development for Democrats in advance of the 2018 elections, as NBC’s First Read crew notes, because it could deepen divisions among Republicans and potentially replace incumbents with weaker GOP candidates in general elections.
Republicans already have plenty of disadvantages heading into the 2018 midterms — history (the party controlling the White House typically fares poorly), President Trump’s approval rating (which sits between 35 and 40 percent) and the start of some key retirements (like what we saw last week).
And now you can potentially add another disadvantage for the GOP: Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who’s now back at Breitbart News, is plotting primaries against as many as four Senate Republican incumbents
Spoiler alert: they aren’t going to listen
sucks for them because GOP leaders made a huge wager — and they’re losing
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) promised Obamacare repeal, funding for the wall and tax reform, all by the end of August. For the GOP, it is now September, both literally and metaphorically.
In the spring of their hopes, Republican leaders placed a bet — which seemed reasonable at the time — that they could contain President Trump and pass legislation despite him. This required looking away from the uglier aspects of Trump’s appeal — his Twitter transgressions, his appallingly frenzied rallies, his rule by ridicule. All this was worth swallowing because Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would pass their conservative agenda.
The wager was large and lost.
In the process, Republican leaders have been made to look hapless and pathetic, not least because Trump has taken to taunting them.
In addition, Rs keep announcing that they won’t seek reelection, which is hurting their chances of keeping the house. For example:
Michigan Rep. Dave Trott said Monday that he would not seek reelection, making him the third Republican incumbent in the last week to vacate a potential battleground district ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
Trott’s decision — along with retirements by Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent and Washington Rep. Dave Reichert last week — opens another competitive House seat, as the House GOP tries to hold on to its 24-seat majority. President Donald Trump carried Trott’s seat in suburban Detroit by just under 5 points in 2016.