In 2017, after the violence in Charlottesville, President Trump fired his chief strategist Steve Bannon. (Remember him?) But Bannon didn’t leave the White House quietly, Bannon told anyone that still listened, “The Trump presidency that we fought for and won, is over. We still have a huge movement. (The so-called nationalist-populist movement) But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else.”
History will determine what that “something else” was, but right now we’re all still wondering what it actually is.
Bannon continued: “I just think his ability to get anything done—particularly the bigger things, like the wall, is gonna be that much harder.”
I immediately wrote a piece called: Prepare for the Paralyzed Presidency. I read more into Bannon’s comments and thought he was predicting the Republican midterm loss of the House of Representatives that took place in November. Then I said the newly elected Democrats would make every effort to impeach President Trump to paralyze his presidency. (On Jan 4, 2019 the New York Times wrote: Just hours after the 116th Congress was sworn in…Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan [promised profanely] to impeach Mr. Trump as she drew cheers from liberal activists.)
Now, 2019 begins with a government shutdown over the border wall. Bannon was right. After Bannon was fired, he also said, “The Republican establishment has no interest in Trump’s success…They’re not populist, they’re not nationalist, they had no interest in his program.”
During November’s midterm elections former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was elected senator of Utah. Before Romney was sworn into the 116th Congress the Washington Post published an op-ed by Romney. Romney stated: “Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. But, his conduct over the past two years and his actions last month is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.”
Romney pointed out some of the president’s policies that he agreed with, but Romney emphasized, “These are policies mainstream Republicans have promoted for years.” Romney mentioned a 2016 Pew Research Center Poll that revealed 84 percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Sweden believe the American president would “do the right thing in world affairs” and one year later that number has dropped to 16 percent.
Romney continued: “To reassume our leadership in world politics, we must repair failings in our politics at home. Our leaders must defend our vital institutions, despite their inevitable failings. I will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and oppose those that are not. I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest, or destructive to democratic institutions.”
This sounds like a primary challenge was issued to the president by a representative of the Republican establishment. This doesn’t mean Romney would be the actual challenger. I think he’s playing the role of older statesman, but Bannon disagrees and told Newsweek, “Romney has launched a direct challenge to Trump for leadership.”
The editor-at-large for CNN Politics was dismissive and wrote, “The belief that op-eds like Romney’s might change things within the Republican establishment are, therefore, based on a false premise: That there is any sort of measurable Republican party outside of those who align with Trump.” But the editor’s pessimism is rooted in a false measurement. He’s weighing the absence of a GOP alliance that does not align with Trump over the influence of the individual who never did.
There’s strength in numbers, but influence is power.
(J. Pharaoh Doss is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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