If you're a Republican, especially one running for reelection this year, that sucks for you. But if you survive, remember: The political establishment won't hold you responsible for the head of your ticket in the future. If we weren't sure of that before, we can be sure of it now. Here's why:
[Steve] Bannon is anti-establishment, regularly railing against Democrats and mainstream Republicans....With this move, Trump has made it clear, even to the willfully blind do-you-think-he-still-might-pivot? crowd, that he's not going to try to be nice to the GOP Establishment. And that gets the GOP off the hook.
During a 2013 panel discussion about the future of conservatism, he said that a center-right populist movement would increasingly hammer the progressive left and the institutional Republican Party....
The New York Times reported in 2014 that Mr. Bannon was close friends with one of the campaign managers of Representative David Brat, Republican of Virginia, who that year shocked the political world by defeating Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader. Mr. Bannon’s hiring by the Trump campaign is very likely to irk Republican leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell and the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan. Breitbart News has dedicated plenty of headlines to promoting the views of Paul Nehlen, who was defeated by Mr. Ryan in the Wisconsin primary this month.
Once the dust has settled after Election Day, no one will blame the GOP for Trump. Not only will it be said that he hijacked the nomination process, it will be pointed out that he broke free of the party before Labor Day, and never looked back.
What this means is that the party cowards who never fought him and the invertebrates who loathed him but endorsed him will get a free pass. The political establishment will overlook their cowardice and remember only the fact that he ran his campaign in a way that was hostile to (in their view) the still-noble Grand Old Party. They'll say Trump was in the party but never of it, as the Bannon hire made that abundantly clear. So they'll put the blame for his loss (and other GOP losses) on him and his team alone, not on a GOP electorate that rallied to him or party elitists who wouldn't put up a fight against him (and who countenanced Trumpish hatemongering and know-nothingism from many other candidates and conservative media organizations before Trump declared his candidacy).
The Bannon hire reinforces the notion that Trump is a free agent, not a Republican. That'll be a blessing to the GOP in the future -- one that the GOP doesn't deserve.