Tag Archives: GOPe

Moore’s the Pity

Roy Moore lost. But a tiny margin and there may be a recount but I suspect the result will stick. It was a nasty campaign but enough of the mud stuck that Republican voters stayed home. Turnout was low all round but the Democrats managed to get the black vote out in huge numbers and they were having none of Judge Moore (and really, who can blame them?). I suspect that had I been an Alabama voter I might well have stayed home simply because I find Moore’s socon message deeply unappealing.

Of course we will never hear from any of Moore’s teen dates again. They’ve served their purpose, why run the risk of exposure? And, with a little luck, we have heard the last of Roy Moore.

What we have not heard the last of is the Bannon insurgency. Bannon is a bright guy and he’ll learn from the Moore defeat. I am hoping he learns that to defeat a determined Democratic Party enemy you have to have a candidate with a few less negatives than Roy Moore. And you need a candidate entirely prepared to respond well to whatever dirty tricks the Democrats (or GOPe) come up with. Poor Moore was simply overwhelmed by the deeply deceitful attacks on his behaviour forty years ago.

The second thing Bannon needs to get right is the need to actually nominate candidates for whom the black vote is a locked box. There is a Trumpian message of jobs, jobs, jobs which will resonate in black communities if Bannonite candidates are willing to do the legwork to ensure it is heard.  The Democrats tend to see that vote as locked up with only the need to get the black voters to the polls. Bannon needs to hone a message which can reach black voters and break a few of them away from the Democratic plantation.

The third thing Bannon needs to do is understand that the media is the enemy and act accordingly. This is not about yelling “fake news” every ten minutes – the Donald has that covered – it is about providing a counter-narrative to the Democratic talking points so routinely parroted by MSM. But that counter-narrative cannot be the whole socon check list of guns and fetal rights (there is room for that but that is preaching to choir); instead the counter narrative needs to be about working Americans having a hard time because of the swamp creatures in Washington. Teddy Roosevelt got great mileage out of “the Square Deal” and his rather weak attempts to “trust bust”.

The Bannonites can put flesh on the Trumpian bones by taking a serious run at the Googles/Amazons/Apples as essentially monopolists of the internet. And they can take a solid run at illegal immigration as taking the jobs which ordinary Americans, and black and Hispanic Americans, need to get on the economic ladder.

Bannon sees his mission as economic nationalism. There was not a hint of this in Roy Moore’s campaign because, I suspect, it flew right over Moore’s head.

Right now Trump is presiding over a remarkable American recovery. He is winning on any number of fronts and this is likely to continue for some time. Surfing that wave Bannon needs to talk about ensuring that Americans gain the benefits they deserve from America’s economic resurgence.

Finally, Bannon needs to develop a deployable ground game. It does not need to be huge; but it needs to be effective and easy to roll out. Having a couple of hundred activists for each state Bannon wants to contest is an achievable goal and one which is a matter of networking and training. Putting together a mobile campaign school and hitting the key states where Bannon wants to target GOPe incumbents or candidates is a matter of a few million dollars and a bunch of organization.

Alabama was a closely fought battle narrowly lost by a man who, if elected, would have likely been more trouble than he was worth. The Bannonites likely learned a lot. And one of the things they learned is that the GOPe and the Democratic establishment will not let the swamp be drained without a fight. A nasty, street by street, fight.

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Bannon 1, Flake 0, GOPe -5

Steve BannonJeff Flake is pretty much the poster boy for country club Republicanism. Responsible, moderate, no boat rocking, no deplorables and certainly never Trump.

“It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative, who believes in limited government and free markets, devoted to free trade, pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party” Jeff Flake

It is not entirely clear when traditional conservatives became “pro-immigration” but it is clear that conservatives in general, if they favour immigration at all, are pro “legal” immigration. As to limited government and free markets, Flake has been in Washington since 2001. Has the government been limited? Have markets become freer? As to free trade, neither W nor Obama nor the Congress of the United States has been very interested in trade.

Flake’s retirement in the face of the fact he was 15 to 20 points behind in the Republican primary suggests that Steve Bannon’s strategy of playing a bit of hardball with RINOs is working. Bannon’s agenda, which interestingly includes “legal” immigration in place of illegal, a genuine reduction in the scope of government and a recognition that unlimited “free trade” with countries which pay a tenth of American wages may not be such a good deal, is resonating amongst Republican and even independent voters. A couple of decades of economic stagnation in which poor people, black and white, stayed poor and their ranks were swelled by other people falling out of the middle class, suggests the consensus elite positions on these sorts of issues may not be working so terribly well.

Bannon was smart enough to realize that an America First agenda spoke to the needs of the American people in a way the elite solutions had long since failed to do. Bannon was also smart enough to realize that the crooked timber of Trump was strong enough to push these ideas into the civic forum. MAGA is a silly slogan but it touched people who were, in fact, better off twenty years ago before they were given the blessing of GOPe and Obama.

The Bannonite insurgency in the Republican Party rests on the simple premise that if things are not working you try to change them. Obamacare was ill-conceived at the go and relied upon illegal appropriations from the President to work at all. All Trump had to do was stop making those appropriations and, Obamacare will, slowly and likely painfully, collapse. Now, I don’t think the Republicans have any particularly good replacement for Obamacare; but its collapse will at least mean that the GOPe will not be able to vote with the Democrats to keep the Rube Goldberg structure on life support. Same story with the “Dreamers”. Simply by refusing to extend Obama’s Executive Orders for non-enforcement, the problem is kicked back to Congress where it belongs.

I don’t think Trump has been a very good President but simply by refusing to extend decisions made in the Obama era, he is reducing the harm done. For fans of limited government, as Flake professes to be, reducing Executive overreach and pushing law making to the legislative branch of the government is a very good start indeed.

Bannon recognized that voters on the right were fed up with voting for Republican canidates only to have them turn into Democrats in drag when they hit Washington. The very idea of primarying fine old GOPe canidates proves pretty conclusively that Bannon is far too rude to be admitted to any decent country club. And, as he racks up the wins, he will also increase his power in the Republican Party.

If we assume, along with the increasingly deranged media, that Trump is, at best, an entirely hollow man without a policy thought to bless himself with and with no time for the Republican Party, the defenders of the GOPe status quo are people like Karl Rove, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. These are not popular men nor do they have much unity of purpose save staying in office or collecting fat consulting fees. These are the great minds who brought a disgusted American People “Jeb!”.

For Bannon, wind at his back, crushing this outdated, policy free, cabal is the work of a single primary season. Two down, six, well five because Cruz gets a bye, Senators to go, a number of flakey Representatives as well. Bannon is on a roll and it is not obvious what will stop him from reforming the Republican Party into an America First, populist machine.

(And I note that the Democratic party is in even worse shape with little in the way of vision or leadership and a bunch of “woke” kids convinced that what the party needs is 24/7 identity politics with a healthy dose of really incoherent socialism to reduce the bugbear of “inequality” and promote the panecea of “diversity”. That, and Hilly and Bubba are very much in the frame for accepting Uranium One payments which look, well, rather like Russian bribes.)

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Cruz’s Bulldog?

ted cruz, president cruz, cruz beats clintonBack in January, before Iowa, I suggested that one plausible reading of Trump is that he was clearing a path for Cruz.

Whether that is intentional or not, effectively that is what Trump has done. Cruz has hung in winning states and delegates. Meanwhile the GOPe has been entirely flat footed responding to Trump. Around the 19th hole of country clubs across America the donor class had been counting on Jeb!. He plowed. Then they, in a panic, put their faith in Marco Rubio, he’s plowing and will be out of the race unless he can, somehow, pickup from a 15 point deficit to Trump in his home state of Florida.

Meanwhile, the big Republican guns are all trained on the iceberg which is Donald Trump. The thing about icebergs is you can shoot shells into them until the seals come home and, if they are big enough, they just absorb the explosions and the shells.

While GOPe has been shooting at Trump they have pretty much given Cruz a free pass. So has the media. Plus, no matter how he tries, Cruz is simply never going to say anything as outrageous as Trump. Cruz is not news until Rubio is out of the race and, even then, Trump will keep packing the halls and channeling the anger.

GOPe hate Trump and fear Cruz; but where Trump in full spate could embarrass the GOP for years, Cruz might well give Hilly a respectable fight. Now, smart money would say Hilly wins against Cruz. Name recognition alone should do the trick and Sanders has been an excellent sparring partner. Cruz is bright enough to know that and, I suspect, is pleased to have Trump out front hurling accusations and suggesting that Hilly will either be in jail or in hospital before the General. (And he may well be right.)

But, from Cruz’s perspective he wants to run against Hilly. While she may not be in jail by November, she may very well be indicted or named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the vanity email server scandal. She is not particularly well and a few more coughing fits will call her health into serious question. Cruz has to pray she stays out of jail and healthy long enough to keep Uncle Joe Biden at bay. (Yes, he is a poltroon, but Biden is not unpopular and no one is investigating his vanity server.)

So will the GOPe, in a two candidate race, back Trump or Cruz? And will it matter? The math begins to shift Trump’s way this week with winner take all states coming up. The best the GOPe can hope to do is somehow cast doubt on Trump’s capacity to be President. If Rubio is out they have no candidate of their own so all that doubt means votes for Cruz.

Around the net I will occasionally write, Trump/Cruz for the win. But Cruz/and a fairly mainstream, big state, Republican could make a lot of sense. (If Jeb! had not been so pathetic on the trail he might have been a decent pick.)

Cruz running against Hilly would be a less flamboyant but likely more interesting race than a Hilly Trump affray. Cruz is much smarter than Hilly and she knows it. One on one there is every chance he’d use his prosecutorial skills to dig hard.

Cruz speaks Spanish, is 45 to her 68 and has had a remarkable academic, legal, legislative and administrative career. The fact the GOPe is terrified of him suggests that his conservative credentials are in order.

The Trump iceberg will sail on drawing futile fire until, perhaps, it melts of its own accord. Meanwhile, it will have sheltered Cruz for six or seven months.

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