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The Paul Ryan/Donor agenda has been a humiliating failure. Time to move to the TRUMP AGENDA! (Who would have thought?) https://t.co/RH6QKIyyNy
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 28, 2017
As the Congressional Republicans indulge in their habitual incompetence by pushing a deeply unpopular health care bill, there are signs President Donald Trump may finally be returning to the immigration issue that put him in the Oval Office. Trump is boosting bills to end sanctuary cities and impose tougher penalties on deported criminals who re-enter the United States illegally [Trump to rally Congress on immigration after healthcare setback, by Pete Kasperowicz, Washington Examiner, June 28, 2017]. He’s also meeting with the victims of illegal immigrant crime finally to pressure the Republican leadership to act [Trump joins with victims of illegal-immigrant crime to urge Congress to act, by S.A. Miller, Washington Times, June 28, 2017]. Both passed tonight (June 29).[ House Passes ‘Kate’s Law,’ Votes to Defund Sanctuary Cities, by Dartunorro Clark, June 29, 2017 ]
Meanwhile, Trump said “it’s okay” if the heath care bill fails to make it through the Senate, suggesting he may not tie the fate of his presidency to this albatross. [President Trump Tells GOP Senators It’s ‘Okay’ If Health Care Bill Doesn’t Pass, by Alana Abramson, Time, June 27, 2017]
And there also signs of life on trade. President Trump is reportedly considering actions to punish China, including by putting tariffs on steel. [Trump growing frustrated with China, weighs trade steps: officials, by Steve Holland, Reuters, June 28, 2017]
From a nationalist perspective, these steps are not just welcome—they are necessary for President Trump’s political survival. After the last presidential campaign, Trump supporters are entitled to be suspicious of polls. Still, a composite approval poll from FiveThirtyEight has the president’s approval rating below forty percent. [How popular is Donald Trump?, Accessed June 28, 2017]
Even if Trump’s supporters doubt those findings, Republican politicians apparently don’t. GOP congressmen and their aides feel emboldened to gossip to the Opposition Party—the Main Stream Media— about how the president is a “lightweight” and they don’t fear him [Republicans no longer fear ‘paper tiger’ Trump as his approval rating continues to plummet, by Travis Gettys, RawStory, June 28, 2017]. Even in the Rust Belt, where Trump built his new winning coalition, the president’s approval rating is declining and cookie-cutter Republicans like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are now more popular [Poll: Wisconsin voters sour on Trump, happier with Walker, by Scott Bauer, McClatchy, June 28, 2017].
Still, it’s not that Donald Trump’s base has abandoned him. Indeed, core Trump supporters seem eager for a fight [Pro-Trump groups take no prisoners in rush to help an embattled president, by Ginger Gibson, Reuters, June 28, 2017].
And President Trump has now been given a tactical advantage because James O’Keefe and Project Veritas are in the midst of dumping a series of videos showing CNN employees and Talking Heads privately admitting there is nothing to the “Russian collusion” investigation and boasting they are only promoting it for ratings [New O’Keefe video shows CNN producer calling Russia coverage ‘mostly bull—-,’ by Joe Concha, The Hill, June 27, 2017]. Picking a fight with Leftist journalists is always a good move for President Trump and the GOP, especially as Congresswoman Karen Handel won her recent special election (despite ignoring immigration) by running against Nancy Pelosi, the Main Stream Media, and Hollywood.
But, ultimately, even discrediting the MSM can only be a means to an end. President Trump was elected not because he was a conventional Republican, but because he was a radically different kind of Republican—on issues like immigration, foreign policy and trade. Trump’s gaffes and indiscipline can occasionally be endearing, but ultimately his supporters tolerate them. They don’t support him because of these flaws.
If Donald Trump is simply reciting the same Republican talking points in a more chaotic way than everyone else, then he transforms from an anti-Establishment populist into simply an incompetent politician. Thus, it’s not surprising overgrown College Republican Scott Walker suddenly has more support than Trump in one of the Midwest states that Trump was able to unexpectedly flip to the GOP.
During the recent presidential campaign, the Main Stream Media and Never Trump cuckservatives kept waiting for a “Trump Pivot,” when Donald Trump would start acting like a normal, respectable Republican. It never came. Trump ran as his own man all the way through November, and won a victory which all the political experts (except us) thought impossible.
But the Trump Pivot did finally come, at the worst possible time, soon after he took office. President Trump has governed as a faithful Republican, loyal to a fault to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, despite Ryan’s history of betrayal.
Very late in the campaign, Ryan backed away from Trump. He may have been involved in the attempted coup against the GOP nominee in October 2016. Ryan, more than any other figure in the GOP, exemplified the Establishment GOP creed of pushing tax cuts for the rich and “free trade” to punish struggling American workers. Thus, in terms of both personal loyalty and in terms of his ideology, Ryan wasn’t just another Republican who was reluctantly backing Trump. He was the personification of the enemy.
Some of the people who forgot to lift a finger when I needed them, when I was down, they need my help now, and I’m screwing them against the wall. I’m doing a number…. And I’m having so much fun.
Yet upon taking office, Trump allowed Ryan to remain Speaker of the House instead of supporting a more populist candidate. Trump said he wants Ryan to remain Speaker even after all these problems with the health care bill [Trump: Ryan should remain Speaker even if healthcare vote fails, by Jordan Fabian, The Hill, March 24, 2017]. Trump even stopped a crowd from booing Ryan when he compared the Speaker to a “fine wine” which gets better with time [Trump compares Ryan to ‘a fine wine,’ by Lisa Hagen, The Hill, December 13, 2016].
But Donald Trump doesn’t drink. He doesn’t know the first thing about “fine wine.”
After half a year of watching the Republican Congress squander every opportunity, we can question Trump’s judgment on this. Donald Trump was not elected to slash entitlements and give tax cuts to the rich.
And Democrats are not going to allow Trump to back away from the immigration issue anyway. Even when it comes to standard defense appropriations bills, Democrats are introducing amendments to make sure no funds go to building a wall on the border [Democrats target Trump’s border wall in defense bill debate, by Rebecca Kheel, The Hill, June 28, 2017].
It’s time for another “Trump Pivot”—back to the issues that got him elected.
Trump is clearly unable to give up tweeting in the early hours of the morning, picking fights with the MSM and or trash talking political opponents. Such tactics make him look weak and foolish—if he really wants to govern as a conventional Republican.
But if Trump goes back to the issues which dominated his campaign, these tactics will work for him now as they did then. And they will buttress the anti-Establishment image which politicians on both sides are eager to claim [Why The Far Right Wants To Be The New ‘Alternative’ Culture by John Herrman, New York Times, June 27, 2017].
As for Paul Ryan, President Trump has been more than fair. The Speaker needs to start pushing Trump’s agenda, rather than Trump pushing Ryan’s. If Ryan resists, he can be replaced both as Speaker and in Congress (Paul Nehlen is running again in 2018!) [Paul Ryan Under Fire For ‘Actively Thwarting’ Trump, WND, June 25, 2017]. And pushing populist policies will do far more to bring the Republican Congress in line than forcing passage of an unpopular health care bill.
It’s been said Donald Trump, despite his combativeness, desperately wants to be liked. [Frank Bruni: Trump just wants to be ‘loved,’ by Jeremy Berke, Business Insider, November 23, 2016] But the way for him to do that is to remain loyal to those who first pledged his loyalty to him.
After all, we didn’t want a Republican president. We wanted to coronate an Emperor who would fight for us.