2016 was Clinton vs. Trump. 2017 is Trump vs. Republican Senators McCain, McConnell, Flake, Murkowski and his own Attorney General Sessions.
Why is the President so intent to challenge and dismiss leaders from his own party? Is this part of a grand and brilliant strategy?
As witnessed by, “lying” Ted Cruz, “little” Marco Rubio, “low energy” Jeb Bush and indelicate shots at Megyn Kelly, Trump is not selective in his verbal and Twitter attacks. His strategy was crude, but proved effective in his hostile takeover of the Republican primary. The strategy continued with his barbs at “crooked” Hillary Clinton which were a politically effective tag to rally his base and highlight her email and Clinton foundation questions.
Campaigning is different than governing. Despite the electoral victories, attacking your own party is never an effective governing strategy.
Trump should have legitimate frustration with the GOP’s eight years of promising, “repeal and replace” and not have plans at the ready. Yet there is no upside for Trump to wrestle with Republicans. At least some of the time, the Senate will support his initiatives. If events unfold against him with special prosecutor Robert Mueller, Trump’s actions may chill Republicans from uniting around him. Will McCain, McConnell, Flake or Murkowski take political fire to rally around him?
The GOP infighting continues to mark the decline of the two parties.
In my upcoming novel Roll the Dice, to be published in November, rock star Tyler Sloan runs as an Independent candidate for Nevada’s United States Senate seat. Sloan deftly maneuvers on positions, darting left, right and center. Read about how Tyler Sloan, a clever, famous and media savvy independent candidate battles through the partisan muck.
A sizable number of Republicans are nervous about Trump; and the establishment/insurgent split continues with the Dems. See Elizabeth Warren’s recent speech to NetRoots Nation and her not-so-veiled hits at Bill Clinton’s politics.
Maybe in 2020, either a Democratic, Republican or Independent candidate can unite the country. Conventional wisdom is that independent candidates can win state-wide; but an independent candidate going national is beyond a Herculean effort. But is it possible? Twenty percent of Nevada’s voters are registered independents; and nearly one quarter of California voters are registered as Decline to State.
Initial returns on White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly’s efforts to impose discipline on Trump were promising, but his recent Twitter attacks on his own party confirm that the most Kelly can do is prevent Trump from acting on his own worst impulses. “Trump” and “restraint” are rarely in the same paragraph.
Do GOP Senators need Trump? Do they care what the President has to say? Or is the Trump presidency shrinking before our eyes? With unprecedented staff turnover, intra-party battles, and no legislative victories, how relevant is the President?
The best play for the Congressional GOP is to unilaterally move forward on legislation. When possible, gather a few Dems for a hint of bi-partisan support on health care reform and infrastructure. Tax reform can be enacted on party lines. It would be great for the country if Dems would join, but the pull of “Resist” is too strong. The Dems are intent to deny Trump any victories.
That’s the Capitol today. Two warring Congressional camps and a President with slipping party support. The Congressional Republicans have the duty of tidying up the mess. Their task—enact legislation, or hand Nancy Pelosi the gavel.