Trump, the Republicans, and 2018

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 September 13, 2017|
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President Trump recently shocked the Republican establishment by making a deal with the Democrats over the debt ceiling. The logic behind the move was, if the GOP refused to govern, Trump would go to the Democrats. Trump hoped to set the table for comprehensive tax reform.

Yet, already the Democrats are balking at Trump’s tax reform plans.  The Leftist base cannot countenance their elected leaders reasonably working with Trump or the GOP on real legislation. How could they? The Democrats are convinced that Trump stole the election from Hillary Clinton with Russia’s help.

Working with the Democrats would yield only limited results anyway. The Do-Nothing Republicans, for all their faults, remain preferable to the militant Left that dominates today’s Democratic Party.

During his epic interview with Charlie Rose on “60 Minutes,” former White House adviser Steve Bannon rightly pointed out that Trump is at war with the stilted establishment GOP even more than he is at war with the Democrats. The Republican establishment represents a failed and dying coalition of interests that no longer resonate with the American electorate. Like the titular character in “Weekend at Bernie’s,” the Grand Old Party is propped up by his best buds Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell who, for their own reasons,  refuse to acknowledge that the old coot is dead.

But if Republican congressional leaders are propping up a necrotic party, the Democrats are more like King Kong clutching lustily to an idealized vision of identity politics in the one fist as they smash America apart with the other. Since the election, Trump has been able to keep King Kong caged, guarded, and on display. He’s shown us the creature’s habits and its weaknesses. But, as recent events have shown, the president has not yet tamed Kong. And a caged but untamed beast is far deadlier than a corpse—especially if he escapes.

It’s true that President Trump has faced “stiff” resistance from those trying to prop up the lifeless ideas of the establishment. Some of that resistance is born of antipathy toward the president. But, more of it stems from simple incompetence. And while the effects of incompetence are sometimes indistinguishable from those of ill-will, there may be more hope that an incompetent could learn to be effective than that a malicious opponent would have a change of heart.

The Democrats—being the untamed, enraged, and vicious beast in this story—are the real threat. Looking to the Democrats more often than to the Republicans for deals will not work long-term because the Democrats will remain committed to their ideology.

F.H. Buckley has argued that Trumpism represents a third way in American politics, between the Chuck Schumer Democrats and the Paul Ryan Republicans. Buckley is correct. Unfortunately, our political system, predicated as it is on the bipolar Republican versus Democrat dynamic, will not change before the 2018 midterms.

Traditionally,  voter turnout in midterms is low and tends to bring out people vested in the status quo. The congressional districts, gerrymandered to favor incumbents or—at least—one party over the other, don’t appear ready for a big shake-up. And while Republicans control most state governments and most state governments are charged with determining congressional redistricting, there is no guarantee that the Republicans in charge are Trump Republicans. In many cases, they likely are not.

In other words, much as Trump Republicans would like it to be otherwise, 2018 will be a contest between the entrenched GOPe and the deranged Leftists of the DNC. The longer President Trump remains in power, the harder it will be for the GOPe to ignore the fact that Trumpism is the way forward. But moderated expectations are necessary for the short term. As Steve Bannon outlined in his recent “60 Minutes” interview, this reform agenda will take years to be realized completely.

For now, Trump needs to deal with the GOP rather than falling for the false promises of Chuck Schumer and the Democrats. The Republicans, as difficult as they are, will rally around their man when their hand is forced. How many times has Paul Ryan disowned Trump, and yet continued working with him? We don’t want to push the Republican establishment too hard in 2018 because it might break. What comes after them, I can assure you, is much more terrifying. Don’t worry, the GOPe will go the way of the Whigs on its own. In fact, it’s already on the way out.

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About the Author:

Brandon J. Weichert
Brandon J. Weichert is a contributing editor to American Greatness. A former Republican congressional staffer and national security expert, he also runs "The Weichert Report" (www.theweichertreport.com), an online journal of geopolitics. He holds master's degree in statecraft and national security from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He is also an associate member of New College at Oxford University and holds a B.A. in political science from DePaul University. He is currently completing a book on national security space policy due out next year.
  • Beauceron

    I have supported Trump– and as a resident of NYC, believe me that has not been easy. Most of my family and friends are Democrats.

    But he has just betrayed us on DACA and immigration reform. Forget the debt ceiling. Forget taxes and Obamacare and trade. I am a fairly moderate conservative, but I am an immigration hawk. I believe mass immigration will inevitably lead to a permanent Democratic majority and I think the rapidly changing demographics have fed the flames of the Left’s push into identity politics. It has been terrible for this country.

    I can no longer trust Trump on anything. He has lost my support. I don’t care what he does. I hope he just keeps his mouth shut from here on out. I don’t want to hear from him anymore on any topic. Maybe he will be impeached– we can only hope.
    I am staying home in protest in 2018 and I will not vote for Trump, or any other Republican, in 2018.

    Trump just became the first politician in US history to become a lame duck in his first year in office. What a mistake I made. What a total fool I was. I will not make the same error again.

    • Peter63

      You were not a total fool. You did the one rational thing. You voted for the first person in fifty years offering himself for high office who actually declared that he wanted to Stop Mass Immigration; purge the country of illegal aliens; pause Muslim immigration; build The Wall; reverse bad trade deals; and quit making senseless foreign wars in the name of ‘nation-building’.

      No other candidate – Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Independent or Other – clearly made those commitments nor courted such loathing from the media that it was plain they were sincere.

      You can blame yourself, and the American People as a whole, for letting the nation become so silly and degenerate over the decades that it has got itself into this demographic and cultural mess. But voting – in 2016 – for Donald Trump was the only sensible option (with of course the added bonus that it was also the one chance to topple Hillary Clinton from her perch of crime, corruption and preposterous self-righteousness).

      The country, the western world, has been let down by a silly-billy; but after the display of courage Candidate Trump made in counter-punching – and enduring everything – throughout the torrid election campaign, no-one can be blamed for having supposed that he seriously meant his policy positions.

    • JET

      The deal he made to raise the debt ceiling with Dem support and Rep opposition was a gift he gave to every Rep running in 2018. The limit had to be raised and it would have been no matter what. Now he gets credit for reaching a deal with those who hate him and his poll numbers are recovering, improving the chance of keeping the House.

      The same is true with DACA. Why force Republicans to vote for something that we all know is going to happen no matter what. It’s simply not possible to send these people back to countries they know nothing about or have any love for. As much as I want a wall built and as much as I want to stop all illegal immigration, this decision was analogous to refusing to increase the deficit to rebuild Houston, Florida and USVI. Ideology sometimes crashes into reality. Realists accept that. So Trump the realist (he never claimed to be ideologically pure) is working with Dems to do some things that had to be done anyway. It’s to bad the Rep ideologues cannot explain to their constituents that sometimes you have to compromise over small things like letting people who were brought here as children stay (how can it be amnesty if they broke no law?). And then win the big battles, the ones that really matter, like: beating down the single payer fever that is quickly taking hold, cutting corporate taxes, simplifying and rationalizing the tax code, etc. Throw Schumer a bone and then you can say “I worked with them on A now they refuse to work with me on B”.

      Sorry to say this, but people like you are why the Reps cannot get anything done. You’ve perfected the art of being in the minority and nibbling around the edges. Big things take compromise — sorry to say that, but we’ve tried it your way and look where we are. Same with the Dem-only Obamacare. Look where they are now.

  • Kenny A

    “For now, Trump needs to deal with the GOP rather than falling for the false promises of Chuck Schumer and the Democrats.”

    Published just yesterday, before the Quisling Dinner, and already it’s the merest echo of a distant and long-departed era.

  • Peter63

    Surely both President Trump and the GOP are finished.
    Mr Trump turns out to resemble Siegfried in Wagner’s “Ring” tetralogy. – The hero with special qualifications for transforming the world order, it is Siegfried alone who is fearless enough to part the magic ring of fire and rescue the sleeping beauty on the mountain-top. It is Siegfried alone who is nervelessly brave enough to shatter the spear of Wotan, king of the pagan gods. It is Siegfried who is tough enough to decide that he does not owe his creepy foster-father Mime enough to follow his bad advice.
    And yet Siegfried is sufficiently stupid not to do the one thing that would end the world’s rule by those who Lust for Power and Wealth, as he could do by following the Rhine-Maidens’ counsel and throwing the fatal all-controlling Ring into the river.
    Probably nobody else in America had the public profile, the long-accustomed ease with media, the disdain for news anchors’ opinions, the personal wealth, and the sheer dogged courage, to run for President on Campaign Trump’s (excellent) agenda and keep on street-fighting, counter-punching when Big Money and all its bought and paid for lackeydoms denounced him 24/7 from June 2015 continuously. (Those lackeydoms are of course most politicians, most of the media, and the privileged classes dependent in turn on them – the bureaucracy, including Deep State intelligence officials; academe; the NeverTrump ‘conservative’ commentariat.)
    Yet President Trump clearly made NO STRATEGIC PREPARATION for the battles he would have in office, but never to have drawn up a list of elected Republican officials from each of the 50 states who very much agreed with his campaign themes and would have gone into battle for them. From Day One (Nov. 9, 2016) he was courting the Establishment and making bizarre appointments.
    By way of his reward for this folly, the GOP then spent the next 7 months effectually doing nothing but helping Democrats to investigate the new Commander in Chief.
    At the least he could use his bully-pulpit, go on TV, and tell it like it is. ‘My fellow Americans, I want to keep each of my campaign promises [here he could read out the list of them afresh]; but I am stalemated by both the Democrat and Republican Parties. All I can do now is refuse to sign anything till they fund and create The Wall – that at least would be a start’.
    But he does not take any such line. I think he does not even really know, now, why he has run for President. It can’t be for his ego – he has been vilified night and day for 27 months. It cannot be to found a dynasty like the Bushes and the Clintons, in the person of his treasured daughter Ivanka. (People are through with dynasties.)
    He turns out, like Siegfried, to be a silly-billy. ‘Here I am in the Oval Office. Er… Why?’

    • OkiefromMuskogee

      the WWF president….. it was all bluster and theater. Yes it takes some skill and risk, but real wrestling??? I don’t think so. It just seemed like a fun thing to do to shove it in everybody’s face and prove you could do it plus you get to pretend the “little people” like you. When it’s all over you can go home and sit on your gold “throne” at the top of your tower and gloat. That’s the way it looks to me now, I tried to come around to believe he was for real but as he now says… it looks different from inside than when you’re on the outside. I now think DJT was always “on the inside”.

  • Anne Miller

    Trump is a New York Democrat con artist. He ran as part of an insider deal to keep Ted Cruz from tapping into the massive voter anger at Washington. Cruz ran a very good campaign but Trump happily made promises about hot button issues that are now being exposed as Trump lies. Trump ran an Alinsky campaign – not a conservative campaign. Trump actually wants open immigration, federally guaranteed healthcare, massive infrastructure spending, new federal entitlements for family leave. He wants the same things the GOPe wants – he just won’t admit it because it goes against the lies he made while running. Trump has now forced conservatives to create a new party because they are the one group he and the GOPe won’t tolerate.

    • Peter63

      The chief reasons why Ted Cruz failed to have massive support from the Republican base are
      [1] He deflected for long months BEFORE the Fall of 2015 when challenged on the wall. Eventually he changed his position but it was always – and very fairly – fatal for him that he followed suit AFTER Donald Trump had declared for the wall and had taken that line about Mexico not sending its best citizens.
      [2] As relatively recently as September 2013 he was welcoming the idea of more Hispanics in Texas.
      I agree that, as to positions otherwise, Cruz is a very good conservative. But he trimmed too much on the core issue of this election – Immigration in all its forms – till it was too late. He had to make Trump’s June 2015 speech before Trump made it. THEN HE WOULD HAVE WON THE PRESIDENCY, NOT THE DONALD.
      True Leadership is made up of courage and courage and courage. Indeed, courage is the name of all the virtues when they come to the pinch.

    • Leatherneck

      Sure, create a “new” Conservative Party. Then, we’d have the RepubliCANTs, the Neo-ConserviCANTs and the DemoncRATs. This would guarantee that the DemoncRATs would dominate the government for the foreseeable future. The RepubliCANTs and the Neo-ConserviCANTs would field their own candidates for office and would never agree to consolidate.
      What this country needs is a party of Capitalists and America First’ers who will uphold the Constitution and tell the special interest groups and establishment obstructionists, like Paul Ryan, to go pound sand. In other words, what this country needs is a party comprised of people like Donald Trump.

  • carl Jung

    the thing is, the gop base belongs to trump. the gope leadership have no troops. if trump starts a second political party, he will draw enough voters to beat the rump uniparty.

    • Leatherneck

      That makes NO sense.

      • carl Jung

        have a small child that talks slowly explain it to you

        • Leatherneck

          You being a small, uneducated child, obviously don’t have the ability to explain anything to your betters.

          • carl Jung

            that’s some fancy grammar you have there. it’s not English grammar but I like it. might want to consider staying away from the ole keyboard while drunk though…