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Transition to Trump: For the frenzied news media, the “World turned upside down”

In witnessing the media feeding frenzy that’s developed after Donald Trump’s stunning (to some) victory last week, I was reminded of a story concerning the British surrender to George Washington’s (and the French) forces following the battle of Yorktown in 1781.

By legend, as the British soldiers were laying down their muskets and handing over their swords in defeat, a British regimental band played the tune “The world turned upside down” to punctuate the implausible nature of Yorktown surrenderthe occasion.

(Note: There are a number of historians who don’t believe the “world turned upside down” story, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

Such is the case for the news industry these days, as they just can’t seem to get their arms around the notion that Donald Trump is going to be living in the White House in a little over two months. Their world has most definitely turned upside down and they aren’t handling it very well.

The hysteria is partially drowned out by the sounds of liberals wailing and crying over the pathetic state of the Democrat party these days, but it is tangible nonetheless.

Much of the fright concerns who Trump is bringing with him to the White House to serve in senior staff positions. After the president-elect named Reince Priebus as his chief of staff and Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counselor, condemnation began rolling in…but only about Bannon.

Because Bannon oversaw the take-no-prisoners conservative website Breitbart (prior to joining the Trump campaign), liberals are claiming he’s the worst combination of –ist words you can think of. And oh yeah, he’s an anti-Semite too.

For what it’s worth, Priebus defended Bannon on Monday. Kyle Feldscher of the Washington Examiner reports, “The Anti-Defamation League ripped Bannon on Sunday for Breitbart's anti-Semitic, racist and anti-feminist stories, and his appointment was met with howls of anger by Democrats Sunday. But Priebus said he didn't know what all the fuss was about.

“’I don't know where they're coming from,’ he said. ‘That's not the Steve Bannon that I know. I have sat with him for months, I have not ever for one time experienced that and I think people are taking it way too far.’”

Just as is the case with accepting President-elect Trump, Priebus counseled patience and simply asked that people give Bannon a chance.

Nancy Pelosi also got into the bash-Bannon act on Monday. Now we know for sure how upsetting Bannon’s appointment is to the liberals.

The very same media that’s now shredding Bannon didn’t have much of a problem when Obama brought his band of leftwing ideologues (like Van Jones, Valerie Jarret and Eric Holder) with him to Washington in 2009, but throw-in a guy such as Bannon who’s undoubtedly a principled limited government conservative and all of a sudden it’s time to hit the freak-out button.

Bannon’s Breitbart publication was an early supporter of Trump. Trump knows he can trust Bannon and people like Priebus and Kellyanne Conway. With the rest of official Washington looking to try and hinder or stop Trump in his quest to reform the government, Trump will need allies that he knows will give him sound advice instead of shilling for the establishment.

And we all know loyalty is very important for Trump. The long campaign was full of vitriol going back-and-forth between many Republican sources and it’s not at all evident who can be trusted and who can’t.

The fact that Priebus himself isn’t drawing many questioning glances from the news media or Democrats could be telling in and of itself. The outgoing head of the Republican National Committee largely flew under the haze of the noisy newsmakers at the top of the campaign, and in the end, emerged smelling like a rose.

Everyone loves Reince. He’s a cuddly little guy with a quaint Midwestern accent. But is that an accurate characterization?

Caution: even the #NeverTrumpers are hailing Trump for naming Priebus as his chief of staff. Erick Erickson wrote at The Resurgent, “I have disagreed greatly with Reince for doubling down on Donald Trump after the nomination was secured. But I was wrong about the election and Reince was not only right, but far more gracious to many of his critics than they were to him.

“With word that Trump is picking Reince as his chief of staff, I have more hope for the President-elect’s success as President. Reince has shown he can withstand the heat, deal gracefully with others in tense situations, and knows the inner working of politics to be able to shape policy. It will be doubly important to have a friend of Paul Ryan’s in the White House as the executive and legislative branches collaborate and collide over the next two years.”

Erickson called Trump’s selection of Priebus “profoundly wise.” It should be noted that equally fervent (The Resurgent) #NeverTrumper Steve Berman also loved Priebus’s selection for the role of chief of staff.

Seeing as I’m still a tad suspicious of the #NeverTrumpers and their motives, the fact that they see Priebus as a great choice raises a red flag for me. Having someone with impeccable establishment credentials and contacts so close to Trump should be concerning to every conservative who hopes against hope that Trump’s administration will act to “drain the swamp” in Washington.

Having Bannon there at the same time to whisper in Trump’s ear is comforting, but the notion is still troubling. Conservative leader Richard Viguerie made a very salient argument on Monday as well, recalling the ill-consequences Ronald Reagan suffered from snuggling too close to the establishment during his time in the White House.

As Erickson suggested above, Priebus and Speaker Paul Ryan are close friends, both hailing from Wisconsin. It’s important to remember that Trump was elected for his ideas, not those of Paul Ryan and the Republican leadership. Hopefully Bannon can serve as a counterweight to Priebus in strategy sessions.

The Freedom Caucus will be Trump’s best friend in Congress

If Stephen Bannon offers a check on Reince Priebus in the White House, there’s always the House Freedom Caucus to act as Paul Ryan’s equalizer just down the road from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Rachel Bade of Politico reports, “Multiple caucus members…argued that the voters who carried Trump to the White House — many of them angry, middle-class Americans who feel they're not being heard by their leaders — are the same types of people who’ve supported their anti-establishment cause all along.

“Trump’s view on certain policies, such as immigration and trade, are also more closely aligned with the Freedom Caucus’ than with those of top GOP leaders, who back most of the major trade deals and are open to giving undocumented workers a path toward legal status.”

In other words, the establishment will be squeezed on both ends – by Trump and Bannon in the White House and the Freedom Caucus in Congress. Likewise, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul are still in the Senate and will have plenty to say should Mitch McConnell be too willing to compromise on the Republican agenda with new Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Lastly on Trump’s potential staff moves, some in Republican circles are already looking beyond a Trump administration. Again, Kyle Feldscher of the Washington Examiner reported, “Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Monday he wants to be a long-term strategic planner for President-elect Donald Trump in order to transform the country.

“Speaking on Fox News Monday, Gingrich said his thoughts are already on how to hand off a successful Trump administration to a Republican successor in January 2025. He wants to work in the administration in such a way that would help him focus the administration on that lofty goal.”

Gingrich has been rumored as a possible Secretary of State nominee but it looks like the former Speaker himself would prefer a position with a little less travel involved. (Or could it be Gingrich is worried about the confirmation process and being grilled by the Democrats?)

When Gingrich was elected to lead the House after the historic 1994 elections, he quickly took advantage of the opportunity to pass most of the items in the “Contract with America” and was also known as one of the preeminent thinkers of his day.

He’s got close ties to the establishment, but many conservatives also trust him. If Gingrich wants a new position as “long term senior strategist,” here’s speculating Trump will let him have it.

Donald Trump puts next generation of potential Republican candidates in deep-freeze

The election of Donald Trump to the presidency a week ago will have far reaching effects on the country – but also on those Republicans who one day hoped to be elected themselves to the nation’s highest office.

David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner writes, “President-elect Trump with his unexpected victory has sidelined the White House prospects of an entire generation of Republican stars.

“A bevy of Republicans in their 40s and 50s — governors and senators, some on the rise, others nearing or at the apex of their political careers, were expected to contend for the presidency in 2020.

“Then along came Trump, the 70 year-old Baby Boomer who muscled other boomers and Generation X Republicans out of the 2016 nomination and with his win over Hillary Clinton put their presidential aspirations on ice indefinitely.”

On ice is one way to put it. Deep freeze is another. Drucker points out that Mike Pence would likely be next in line after Trump. If Trump is in any way successful at bringing needed reform, I’m guessing his re-election prospects would be pretty strong. Put the utter disarray in the Democrat party right now together with the lack of star-power in the party’s “minor league” ranks and their 2020 prospects look pretty bleak indeed.

The post-Trump/Pence Republicans will need to be solid in their beliefs…and offer a little “value added” to their candidacies, too, just as Trump did.

Beyond a real ideological foundation, the winning formula for future candidates would seem to be to concentrate on a few key issues and then more than anything, excel at the marketing aspect of his or her candidacy.

Republican politics has changed drastically since the days of John McCain and even Mitt Romney. Establishment-favored candidates will no longer be the favorites in any set of primaries from here on out. In fact, being tainted with the “establishment” label will arguably be the kiss of death to one’s run for president.

I doubt there will ever be another successful Jeb Bush-type candidacy. Ditto for this year’s group of establishment standard bearers, namely John Kasich, Chris Christie and Lindsey Graham. Future establishment candidates like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Paul Ryan will find it equally tough going.

I didn’t mention Scott Walker and Marco Rubio in that group because I can see both possibly succeeding as “hybrid” candidates who appeal to the establishment and some conservative groups at the same time.

But make no mistake, Donald Trump changed the Republican Party and I doubt it’s going back to the way it was. In order to not only win the nomination but also the election, a future candidate will need to appeal to the types of voters who found a champion in Trump. Pundits claim it’s the white working class vote. I think it will be more of a multi-ethnic coalition of people concentrating solely on economic, social and cultural issues. You know, the conservative agenda.

If Trump is able to bring some semblance of prosperity to the inner cities, I can see where his percentage of the black and Hispanic vote would increase accordingly. If that’s the case, we would truly have an ideological party to counter the Democrats’ identity politics scheme.

We can call it the “American greatness coalition” comprised of conservatives, populists, national security advocates and working people.

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