Friday, December 09, 2016


The front page of Breitbart right now seems surprisingly critical of the Trump transition:

From that lead story:
President-elect Donald J. Trump is expected to name as his Labor Secretary fast food executive Andy Puzder, who stands diametrically opposed to Trump’s signature issues on trade and immigration -- which won him the election....

Advocates for American wage-earners say that Puzder as Secretary of Labor is alarming because he will be in charge of enacting policies that directly impact American workers, whom Puzder believes are “unwilling” to do certain jobs. Puzder has suggested that available U.S. jobs should instead be filled by imported foreign labor....

Last year, Puzder even joined forces with Michael Bloomberg, Bob Iger, and Rupert Murdoch’s open borders lobbying firm, the Partnership for a New American Economy, to call for “free-market solutions” to our immigration system.
Wow -- the Trump News Network is linking a Trump appointee to the hated rootless cosmopolitan gun-grabber Mike Bloomberg. Them's fightin' words.

And you know Breitbart really hates something when it tries to gin up a hashtag campaign, as it does in a separate story:
Pro-American immigration reformers and advocates for higher-wages are hammering Donald Trump’s selection of a cheap-labor, migration-boosting employer to run the Department of Labor.

The opponents -- some of whom backed Trump’s pro-American, immigration-reducing promises in the election -- are rallying opposition to Puzder’s appointment via the twitter hashtag, #NeverPuzder.
As I told you last night, New York magazine and Politico are reporting that Reince Priebus is acting behind the scenes to fill the Trump administration with GOP establishment figures. The Politico story says that so-called "Trump originals" are being squeezed out, in favor of party hacks and big party donors:
Roger Stone, a Republican strategist and longtime Trump friend, has given voice to the concerns. During a Wednesday appearance guest-hosting Alex Jones’ radio show, Stone said he visited Trump Tower this week and found “an armada of retreads from the old Republican Party, both the congressional wing of the party and the Romney-McCain-Bush burnouts who are trying to board this ship.”

“I saw people and heard about people whose names I haven’t heard in 25 to 30 years,” he added. “These are people who did nothing whatsoever to elect Donald Trump and they’re people who don’t share Donald Trump’s values. They disagree with him on trade, they disagree with him on monetary policy, they disagree with him on immigration. Yet, they seek glory and titles.”
I don't think the hacks disagree with Trump on these issues, because I don't think Trump has firmly held positions on most issues. There's a range of right-wing thinking on most issues -- it's a narrow range, from corporatist to nativist, but it's a range -- and I don't think Trump cares where he is on the spectrum as long as he feels he's winning. So if the old hacks are really taking over his administration, I don't think he'll care, as long as he can get into a Twitter war with a CEO every so often and seem to save a couple hundred jobs, while the larger trends for workers get worse and worse (and get better and better for their bosses).

But if that's the way this is trending, I wonder how long Steve Bannon will stick around. Remember, Bannon's myth of himself is that he's the champion of native-born American workers. Recall this quote from Bannon's recent interview with Michael Wolff:
"I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist," he tells me. "The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f--ed over...."
The New York story I quoted last night offer a convoluted theory about Bannon's thinking right now:
One Trump adviser speculated that Bannon may be content to let Priebus take control now because Bannon is hoping to play a longer game. Given Trump’s history of turning on those closest to him (Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort), it may be good strategy to lay low and avoid blame for any problems with the transition. There is sure to be dysfunction -- not least because of this very power struggle. “When you have two people in charge of an organization,” said a Trump adviser, “it’s hard to be successful.”
That makes no sense. I don't know if this source is a Bannon friend, but if so, this seems like an attempt to cover over his weakness as a bureaucratic infighter. (Bannon's not being outplayed, he's trying to let Reince Priebus and the establishment win for now!)

If Trump loyalists continue to be locked out of power, I can imagine Bannon leaving the White House soon and going back to Breitbart -- and I can imagine Breitbart starting to turn on Trump even before Bannon leaves, opposing Trump the way it opposes establishment figures like Paul Ryan. I'm not sure how much damage that could do -- Breitbart's war on Ryan hasn't hurt him very much -- but it would be fascinating if Trump's reputation on the right a year or two from now is as part of the hated Republican establishment. Hey, maybe he'll be primaried in 2020 -- possibly by someone even more deranged.


duquesne_pdx said...

Nah. Putzer's been floated, but they'll dump his ass now. Then they'll pick some even more horrible person, but with America First! cred and this will all go away.

mlbxxxxxx said...

Maybe 2020 is a Trump/Cruz rematch.

Jimbo said...

We're all assuming, naturally, that Trump will last until 2020. I still think he will run his presidency one of two ways: a) he will assume the role of constitutional monarch and just play golf, focus on his massive conflicts of interest and sign whatever bills Ryan/McConnell/Pence put in front of him or b) he will actually try to be engaged as an active president, like Obama, and completely fail, of course, then become increasingly enraged and frustrated and have a mental breakdown/stroke, in which case he resigns and Pence becomes President. (Not that this would be any improvement from a policy standpoint.) In the first scenario, he could last until 2020 but probably not run again out of sheer boredom. Under the second scenario, he doesn't even make it through 2017.