OK, folks, I think the situation we are in is making us all a little crazy. I am as ready to speculate on the physical condition of Trump and Bannon as anyone, but unfortunately none of us is in a position to turn that speculation into actionable intelligence [sorry, I have been binge watching Covert Affairs.] Let me make a suggestion: Let us try to keep the speculation, however enjoyable, separate from discussion of steps we can take to weaken or defeat Trump and the Republicans, and let us keep that in turn separate from broader analyses of the domestic or international situation.
I think it is now pretty clear [but obviously not at all certain] that Bannon has at least for the moment won any internal White House struggles taking place for Trump’s ear and mind [such as it is.] The Muslim ban, the aggressive telephone calls with U. S. allies, the efforts to seize control of elements of the administrative bureaucracy, the shutting out of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other regular participants in security and military decision making, even the premature and disastrous Special Forces raid – none of this feels like the doing of Reince Priebus. And the deliberate omission of any mention of the Jews in the statement commemorating the Holocaust certainly does not sound like something that an Orthodox Jew like son-in-law Kushner would push.
I cannot see any way for us and our millions of fellow agitators to influence those internal struggles, at least not directly. But the pressure we have been putting on our elected “representatives” does seem to be stiffening the spines of the Democrats and giving pause to a few Republicans. From which I draw the conclusion that right now, today, we should be calling Senators to push against the confirmation of DeVos, Sessions, and others. Any victory, however small, is worth the effort, but I have another motive. I want to see how Trump reacts the first time he is told “no” by Congress. It is at least possible that he will violently overreact, and that could have a usefully destabilizing effect.
The longer game – much longer – is to do whatever we can to encourage viable candidates to stand for seats in state legislatures and the House, even in solidly Republican districts. I think a year and more of Trump may create the possibility of a “wave” election driving from office otherwise safe Republicans, and should that happen, we need to have candidates willing to announce and run. In short, we need a Howard Dean “fifty state strategy.”