Saturday, September 30, 2017

The New Civil War In The Republican Party

Steve Bannon and his alt-right media organization Breitbart News are leading an effort to take over the Republican Party.  It is one of several fringe organizations that have found a home in the GOP.  It is like the Tea Party and the Libertarian Party in that respect.  While it shares many of their concerns, under Steve Bannon it will emphasize white nationalism and its connections to economic populism. The focus of this article is on the 2018 elections. They were encouraged by the GOP primary in Alabama. Their candidate spent $200,000 in its primary campaign and defeated the candidate supported by the Senate leadership who spent $10 million on his campaign.  He was also supported by Donald Trump's lukewarm endorsement. Both of the candidates claimed allegiance to Trump. Bannon's organization intends to sponsor candidates who will oppose incumbent Republicans in GOP primaries.  They will feed off of the GOP failure to repeal Obamacare and run candidates who will attack the GOP leadership in Congress.  That is a winning strategy for them in two ways.  It will drive incumbent candidates further right or it will replace them with their own candidates. 

The civil war within the GOP may provide Democrats with a better opportunity to win some seats in the 2018 election.  That does not bother Bannon's organization.  His goal is to take over the Republican Party.  He hoped to accomplish that by putting Trump in the White House.  Trump was not able to promote Bannon's objectives because he depended upon the GOP Congress to repeal Obamacare.  Bannon's goal would be to put Trump in charge of his brand of Republicanism.  Trump cares little about GOP orthodoxy.  He would be perfectly happy in a White House which had Bannon supporters in Congress.  He keeps selling economic populism to his base while yielding to Republicans who have no interest in economic populism. 

Its not clear about how this civil war will turn out.  Its not even clear why a billionaire who supported Trump, and has contributed to many GOP campaigns, is backing Steve Bannon. However, this will not be good for the Republican Party.  It has been difficult for the Republican Congress to deal with their current divisions.  That last thing that they need is more division within their ranks.

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