If reaching a deal with the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling was not enough, Trump sent another shockwave on the Hill by siding with the Democratic leadership on DACA.
Although he had earlier, first during his campaign and then as the President, shown sympathy for the Dreamers and assured them that they needed not worry, Trump promised his base that he would not support any amnesty schemes for those who had broken our country’s laws. The DACA issue was not even a hot topic in the Press, even though it should have been until Trump through his estranged Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the rescinding of the program.
The Republicans supported their President’s decision to stand by the immigration laws of the country. They lauded his ‘law and order stance’ and assured their base that it was an ‘America First’ policy that would create over half a million jobs, which is just bad economics because it assumes that there are a set number of jobs available in the country.
After conservatives had their orgasms at the mere thought of mass deportations and tearing apart brown families, Trump reached a deal with Pelosi and Schumer to protect the Dreamers. Some of the Republicans who exercise restraint called it an ‘amnesty scheme’ and questioned Schumer and Pelosi’s motives whereas racist grandpas like Steve King tweeted out that it would blow up and damage Trump’s base beyond repair, which couldn’t be further from the truth since 64% of Americans (including Trump’s base) support giving Dreamers a fair shot via some legislative version of DACA. Steve King was, by Trump’s base was referring to the ‘very fine Americans’ who marched in Charlottesville chanting ‘blood and soil’ and ‘Jews will not replace us’.
The DACA deal follows Steve Bannon’s 60 minutes interview with Charlie Rose. Although Charlie Rose did not ask him the questions that one expected him to, he allowed Steve Bannon the freedom to speak without interrupting him on too many occasions. Steve Bannon contradicted himself on a few instances but one could attribute that to the fact that it was his first ever TV interview, his medium (pun intended) is writing, which allows him to express his thoughts in a more candid and thorough way.
In the past, Bannon has tried to latch onto people like Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin and tried to force his ideology into effect through them. Both of them were serious Republican candidates for the Presidency, bad with US history and geography, and lacked any ideas of their own. Trump is just like Palin and Bachman except that he is a man, uses foul language and tries to give off this macho image that, at least to conservatives, makes up for his mental incapacity.
In his interview, Bannon said rescinding DACA was a bad decision since if it were to go to ‘its’ logical conclusion (mass deportation of Dreamers), there would be a Civil War in the GOP in 2018, something he cherished but implied that rescinding DACA would not help them win any favorability amongst moderate and independent voters.
Before taking his made up job of ‘Chief Strategist’ at the White House, Bannon was at Breitbart and Breitbart under him was the most anti-DACA publication on God’s earth. One could say that his previous anti-DACA stance was due to his populist nature and his latest criticism of rescinding DACA is because after spending 8 months in Washington, he has realized the importance of putting political strategy over nature. He remained skeptic about whether Congress would actually be able to legislate DACA.
On the question of Comey firing, he agreed that it was the biggest mistake in the modern history of American politics and expressed his thought that FBI was an institution and behaved like an institution and firing Comey was not going to change the FBI’s functioning. He added that the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the house, Paul Ryan were also institutions, but you could alter their functioning (unlike the FBI’s) if the leaders of those institutions were ‘replaced’. This comment of Bannon is very telling, especially if you recall how critical he had been of McConnell and Ryan and his desire of a Civil War (changes on a grand scale) within the GOP. Bannon, almost in contempt, recalled meeting McConnell for the first time after the general elections at the Trump Tower in which he asked Trump to tone it down on ‘drain the swamp’ thing.
On the issue of Obamacare, he said in a very Paul Ryan-esque style that GOP leadership had assured Trump that the repeal and replace would be easy since they had done it dozens of times. Bannon seemed to indicate that it was all their idea with almost no provisions from Trump. I think here, Charlie Rose should have pressed Bannon on whether Trump had any ideas of his own about healthcare and whether the ‘something terrific’ he talked about, even existed. On the issue of healthcare, Bannon said that at this point, they would have to just ‘fix’ Obamacare on a bipartisan basis and that Republicans shouldn’t attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, as it would only further humiliate them.
I don’t believe that Trump is playing some kind of 4D Chess like some of his ardent supporters believe, but he is coming to grasp the political dynamics in America that both Democrats and Republicans have been oblivious to. It started with Trump questioning the removal of Confederate Statues on which Democrats were in the minority who wanted to take down the Statues. Trump stood with the 64% of the Americans and now on the issue of DACA, he led Republicans and even his Attorney General into the corner and then came out in favor of DACA, which the overwhelming majority of the Americans support.
Now here is the interesting part, Trump’s deal with Pelosi and Schumer on DACA came only after Steve Bannon criticized the decision to rescind the program. And as soon as Trump reiterated his love and support for Dreamers by tweeting out Democratic talking points on the issue, Breitbart turned anti-DACA again calling Trump ‘Amnesty Don’.
It seems as if Bannon is taking the anti-Trump stance, but if you watch his interview, he does not blame or question Donald Trump on anything. He calls himself Trump’s wingman and vows to wage a war on anyone who tries to destroy his Presidency. But here is the twist; Breitbart is read mainly by the tiny minority of Americans who want to deport the Dreamers (and folks like me who spend their weekends chugging down Guinness & writing about politics), and Bannon knows that, which is why he is not trying to build on Breitbart readership but trying to force a narrative that Trump is siding with the majority of the Americans on the issue. For any other publication, it would be suicide but Breitbart hasn’t much to lose anyways and, therefore, Bannon is willing to put Breitbart at stake to popularize the notion that Trump is no longer the President of the minority (he lost the popular vote) and that he is siding with the overwhelming majority on all of the hot issues. Yes, Breitbart has criticized Trump during the past couple of days but ONLY on his DACA stance.
Check out Breitbart. A turning point tonight.— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 14, 2017
"Amnesty Don" pic.twitter.com/wqvv2mTwyD
Those setting their MAGA hats on fire are in the minority. People like Ann Coulter who are asking for Trump’s impeachment over DACA are in the minority. People like Sean Hannity and Steve King who try their best to intellectualize Trump are in the minority. They may talk about Trump’s base all they want but Trump and Bannon are sending a clear signal that Trump sees all Americans as his base.
CNN, MSNBC, and the likes are blowing the outrage at Trump out of proportion and needlessly speculating whether his 33% approval rating would take a further hit. It is irrelevant because a lot of people secretly support Trump even though they are not very vocal about it due to fear of being labeled racists and xenophobic by their friends, which is why every major poll got it so wrong about the result of the 2016 elections. Approval rating may have been a strong indicator in past Presidencies but they do not hold any value to the current occupant of the White House.
You might still ask why would Bannon and Trump want drastic changes in GOP in such perilously partisan times? Don’t they fear that they might lose to Democrats in 2018?
The simple answer to that is ‘No’. Democrats, if they are to win in 2018, need more than just anti-Trump talking points. So far all they have done is express outrage at Donald Trump’s actions, comments, appointments or tweets.
And as much as Hill Republicans hate seeing Donald Trump cutting deals with Democrats while they sit around the President like cuckitty cuck cucks, it could actually turn out in their favor. We all know that Democrats are going to run an anti-Trump campaign just like Hillary did instead of pinning their opposition on individual issues. And by ‘making easy deals’ with Democrats, Trump might be taking away the only political weapon they have in their arsenal. If Trump is seen agreeing with Democrats on DACA, border security (without the wall) and fixing Obamacare, Democrats can no longer complain about him and essentially lose the only thing they could campaign on.
And for all we know, Congress might not even be able to legislate DACA at which point, Trump would have maintained his initial stance and the ‘deal’ with Schumer and Pelosi would have been just to appeal to the masses and to basically say that Trump did his best, it was the Congress’s fault. Of course, even if the Congress failed to legislate DACA, we wouldn’t have mass deportations but the Dreamers’ status at that point would be the same as any other illegal immigrant.
Therefore, as long as Trump is being pleasant with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, they should try to push him as further to the left as possible so that he loses more and more of his appeal to Conservatives, the same thing Bernie did to Hillary in the Democratic primaries. He is already at odds with the Merck CEO so why not try to convince him to negotiate individual drug prices and lifting restrictions on importing drugs? Or to increase the minimum wage to make low-skilled labor more appealing to Americans since the illegal immigration is dropping? If nothing more, it would certainly expose the game Bannon and Trump are playing.
P.S. - Some publications have compared Trump’s reversal on DACA to President Nixon’s visit to China, but the two are vastly different. For starters, US-Chinese relations were a foreign matter subject to change by a new intelligence report or America’s change of stance on Indochina politics, whilst DACA is a domestic matter and I could hardly think of a precedent in modern history when a President shifted his overall domestic vision so drastically. Secondly, though President Nixon was an outspoken critic of Communism, he never suggested that we keep a billion people out of our vision for the world. He always supported negotiations, plus he needed to end the Vietnam war which would not have come about without China’s cooperation. Donald Trump on the other hand repeatedly criticized DACA and called it an amnesty, which was ‘constitutionally illegal' and as I recall, no amendments have been made to the Constitution that would make DACA any less illegal than it was when President Obama first signed it.🔷