The late Texas state Sen. Teel Bivins of Amarillo used to joke that congressional and legislative reapportionment every decade was an opportunity for the Republican Party “to eat its young.”
His humor, I guess, was aimed at how Republicans — and I’ll presume Democrats, too — would redraw boundaries to make their own members vulnerable to political challenge.
I never quite understood Bivins’s example, but we might be about to witness a political war taking shape among Republicans that will produce some intraparty casualties. Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, has said the party is about to go to war with itself.
There will be the Bannon wing — comprising uber-nationalists/isolationists — against the “establishment wing” of the GOP.
He told “60 Minutes” that the Bannonites and the establishment types are going to fight tooth and nail for the attention and affection of the president of the United States. Bannon believes that the Republican majority in Congress is disserving Donald J. Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan do not want Trump’s “populist message” to succeed, according to Bannon, who intends to fight for that message.
Bannon no longer draws a government salary, but he’s stands atop a formidable forum as editor in chief of Breitbart News, the media company from which he entered the White House at the start of the Trump administration. Bannon is a frightening dude, given his company’s occasional rants promoting anti-Semitic and white nationalist views.
I’m not particularly concerned about the outcome of this internecine battle. I don’t support the president’s agenda. Nor do I want Bannon anywhere near the center of power. The president chose well when he asked John Kelly to be White House chief of staff; indeed, Kelly is the reason that Bannon no longer advises the president from within the West Wing’s walls. That doesn’t mean Bannon has disappeared.
I’m quite sure that if the fight erupts within the party that the president’s ability to govern will suffer, given any evidence within the administration — starting with the man at the top — of any political skill or knowledge.
As for the Republican tendency to “eat its young” … bon appetit.
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