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Is the populist movement at a crossroad?

January 4, 2018

A-w-w-w.  After admitting he was accurately quoted in the newest tell-all campaign book, it appears Steve Bannon has fallen out of love. If you think a woman scorned is a force to be reckoned with, you are watching what happens when a political zealot loses his clout.

The question is, how is that going to play with the President’s base? Is the Breitbart/Bannon far right the base,  or is it something else?

Although dyed-in-the-wool Trump haters would never acknowledge it,  Donald Trump has been  growing into the office he now holds.

That happens to every man who has ever won the office. All of a sudden reality rears up and smacks you right between the eyes. They realize that there’s more to this President thingie than just tilting at your own personal windmills.

All the Oval Office inhabitants figure that out, some more quickly than others. The ones who have lasting successes have at least gone into the race with a core set of universal values.

In President Trump’s case he really did want to Make America Great Again, as corny as that sounds. He came along at a time when the country and its people desperately needed someone to believe in it and them again.

After eight years of listening to the country’s chief executive belittle, besmirch and apologize for the country’s very existence, Donald Trump’s unbridled pride in the U.S.A. was like a breath of clean fresh air wafting through a smoke-filled card room.

It didn’t hurt that he was willing to put his entire personal fortune on the line to get a chance to fix things.

That started what pundits soon tagged “the populist movement.”

The trouble is, no one seems to have accurately defined just what that means.

To the far right, as exemplified by Steve Bannon, it meant the destruction of what they say is a corrupt cabal of influence peddlers on both sides that was systematically draining the lifeblood out of the country and the downtrodden working class for their own personal gain.

Their goal became and remains to bring down the lords in the manor house.

That did and does strike a sympathetic chord with a percentage of the country, probably because there is a wide vein of truth behind it.

But it doesn’t encompass everything about the Trump supporters.

If any group represents the typical Trump voter, it is probably the self-described independent, or more properly perhaps, the centrists.

Composed of both moderate Democrats and middle of the road Republicans, these folks aren’t fitting well into the round holes the media has drilled for them.

Perhaps they should more properly be called “the pragmatist movement.” They saw that while some old norms were going to have to go by the wayside, there was no value in ripping the entire country apart in the name of unfocused change. It’s thought that this group comprises the majority of the never-polled millions that put Trump over the top.

Perhaps they would have loved to have a more cultured disrupter than the man they got, but when fate didn’t offer one up they took what was available.

The  Steve Bannons of the political world on the other hand were and are willing and eager to re-enact Sherman’s March to the Sea, sacking anything and everything in their path.

In modern terms, that translates into Bannon’s war on any sitting Republican who doesn’t embrace his ambitions, apparently including President Trump.

It’s fair to ask who thought talking to an author, any author, while the administration was trying to find its feet after the election was a good idea.

On the other hand, it was evident early on that there was no love lost between Don Jr., Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon.  Maybe now we know why.

Be that as it may,  Bannon’s contributions to the book apparently seek to divide the far right from the President.

That leaves the pragmatic middle to decide whether they think that President Trump can weather the constant attacks from both flanks and still accomplish what they sent him to Washington to do.

To answer that question, all the President has to do is keep producing legislative wins.

Piece of cake, right?

From → op-ed

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