The American (and global) political establishment is so entrenched and arrogant that I personally lean toward “bomb throwing” (no pun intended) in order to break things up. Best representation of this strategy is Steve Bannon’s now infamous quote: “Deconstruction of the administrative state.” In my Facebook, Twitter and private text message provocations I like to tweak it to say: Deconstruction & destruction of the administrative state.
Prior to the Freedom Caucus’s own version of deconstruction and destruction – toppling one of the most economic growth-friendly legislative agendas in modern American history – the Trump/Bannon team operated within a “Chaos at the top, high-powered policy implementation beneath the surface” framework. But as noted in yesterday’s post, this strategy was only tenable if said legislative agenda bore fruit and drove up Trump’s approval rating over time. With the GOP clearly incapable of governing like adults, Trump must button things up in order to develop the bipartisan governing coalition we all know he is capable of assembling.
Key to the “buttoning up” process is getting rid of Bannon and letting the Kushner/Cohn “centrist” team rise to power within the West Wing. According to Axios, Bannon is actively accelerating the process – and thank goodness. On his own Trump is more than capable of bomb throwing (again, no pun intended); so with Bannon hopefully out, the high-powered team of Trump + Kushner + Cohn acts as a fantastic combination of deconstruction, pragmatism, and bipartisanship.
So if the West Wing shake-up, led by a Bannon ouster, is the first step in reversing the decline in approval ratings, the second step was just handed to Trump on a silver platter: A confident, decisive, universally-approved display of US military strength.
First, Trump’s decisive action stands in stark contrast to the previous Administration’s arrogant micromanagement of the world’s greatest military power. As this recent NYT article indicates, the Trump Administration has quite literally unshackled US armed forces: General Mattis must be licking his chops. Second, Trump instantaneously puts to rest the absurd notion that he is trying to cozy up to Putin in a manner that is detrimental to US interests.
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In conclusion, I believe two things are likely: 1) Trump’s approval ratings bottomed due to the Bannon-centric West Wing restructuring, and 2) the decisive action taken in Syria will “launch” his approval ratings back up to YTD highs.