Will Trump Fight The GOP?
You have seen, I take it, that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is out. Among the reactions:
Ryan-Priebus ally to me: next phase of Trump presidency will be warfare against GOP Congress
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) July 28, 2017
If true, and if you are a conservative, this is (choose all that apply):
- Bad news. With a (nominally) Republican White House feuding with the Republican-controlled Congress, the next three and a half years are going to be a disaster. Nothing meaningful is going to get done.
- Good news. President Trump will finally be free to pursue his own agenda, making deals across party lines, unbound by Republican orthodoxy. Or, if you’re on the other side: the Republican Party will finally be free of the felt obligation to defend Trump and his insanity, and can start rebuilding its brand.
- Bad news. Rebuild its brand? Not a chance. President Trump will destroy the Republican Party. He will attack it more than he will attack Democrats, render it politically ineffective, and split it from much of its base. And for what? To help Democrats — who probably won’t work with him anyway. Besides, he doesn’t have a coherent agenda, and doesn’t care about policy. He only cares about dramatizing himself.
- Good news. President Trump will destroy the Republican Party. It’s out of touch with its voters. Seven years of running against Obamacare, and they had no idea how to replace it. That just goes to show you how incoherent they are. Good riddance!
- Bad news. This will help the Democrats by splitting the Right. More broadly, it will radically destabilize the two-party system, accelerating the fragmentation of the country.
- Good news. It ultimately won’t do much good for the Democrats, who will lose a significant part of their white working class base to the Trump faction. More broadly, this will radically destabilize the two-party system, making it possible for new parties and new ideas to break out. A socially conservative, economically nationalist party would be the natural home for many Americans. The Buchananite party would finally emerge.
- Bad news. Great idea, but Donald Trump is no Pat Buchanan. He is exactly the wrong person to form that third party. He doesn’t care about ideas; he only really cares about himself. The Trump party would be a Berlusconi-like party — one almost entirely dependent on the personality of its charismatic but polarizing leader.
- Good news. Berlusconi served for nine years as Italy’s prime minister. That’s not nothing.