Monday, November 14, 2016

Trump's Priebus and Bannon Picks Cater to Both Sides

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

Donald Trump ran for President as the anti-establishment candidate, and then immediately after receiving enough electoral votes to become the country's top executive he reached out to the establishment and chose Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus to be his new chief of staff.  Then, in a contrasting move, chooses highly qualified and outsider Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor.

"Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory. Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again," Trump said in the release.

Priebus is yet another lawyer turned politician who has served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee for nearly three years.  He was the replacement for Michael Steele after Steele received criticism for his poor relationship with donors.  Priebus was hailed as being a Tea Party champion in Wisconsin, but rapidly became considered as being just another establishment politician once appointed as RNC Chief.  He was previously chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, where he is credited with bringing to national attention Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, and Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin.

Stephen Bannon hails from the private sector.  As the executive chairman of very conservative Breitbart News his connection to the media and the pulse of conservatives outside the Washington D.C. bubble will give Trump a unique view of the pulse of America.  Bannon is also a former Navy officer and Goldman Sachs investment banker. 

Despite Priebus being a part of the Republican establishment, his Tea Party roots makes him a choice that may give Trump the ability to reach out to, and satisfy, both sides of the Republican Party's ecclectic political spectrum.  Bannon's conservative history combined with Priebus' Tea Party history, yet establishment position, makes for a fairly conservative team, making the two, according to Trump's campaign, "equal partners" that may still be able to reach out to, and satisfy, both conservatives, and those in the party who may not be as conservative as the GOP's more constitutionally positioned voting base.

"Bannon and Priebus will continue the effective leadership team they formed during the campaign, working as equal partners to transform the federal government, making it much more efficient, effective and productive," said the statement regarding the pick from the Trump campaign.

CNN reports that the picks of Priebus and Bannon fit right into the "bare-knuckle style [of] politics seen as appealing to Trump's [voters]."

Priebus is popular with establishment Republicans, and he is palatable (albiet barely) to conservatives in the GOP.  Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, voiced his approval of the choice.  Could this be a way to mend the broken fences between the establishment and conservatives, or is this a way of showing us that Trump is not nearly as conservative as some of his supporters believe?

Priebus has served as a negotiator between the party establishment and Trump. When Ryan did not initially endorse Trump, Priebus organized meetings and helped diffuse tension between the two when Ryan criticized Trump and Trump hit back.  The move, then, may also be strategic, because Trump knows that though his anti-establishment stance is what got him elected, he may need those establishment Republicans if he wants to get anything done as President of the United States.

So, while Trump claims he wants to drain the swamp, he has placed a strainer on the drain so as to keep at least a few of those establishment folks he claims have been such a problem involved in his plan to Make America Great Again.  Granted, Priebus stood firm with Trump when he was under attack, especially when the sexual assault allegations began to percolate, and Trump is known for rewarding loyalty.

The choice of Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor already has the Democrat Party leadership boiling mad.  Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's office put out a fiery statement.  Adam Jentleson, Reid's spokesman, said, "President-elect Trump's choice of Steve Bannon as his top aide signals that white supremacists will be represented at the highest levels in Trump's White House."

Remember, when the Democrats realize they are in a losing posture, they begin to sling the "Republicans are racist" rhetoric without any limitations.  It's a sure way to mobilize the small minded and uninformed in defense of the liberal left Democrats.

So far, the choices Trump is making in the sense of those who are around him, are enough to satisfy conservatives, while keeping one foot in the establishment camp, perhaps to keep them in his favor, or perhaps because he agrees with them more than he'd like to admit.

Time will tell.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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