If there is anything the last month has taught us, it’s that Trump’s political priorities are seemingly geared towards serving these groups in order:
1. White supremacists/white nationalists
3. Establishment Republicans
Trump’s reported capitulation on the wall and the Dream Act received a ton of press yesterday, but this morning he was back to dog whistling, demonstrating that at least rhetorically, he still has no plans to abandon his base.
However, the establishment GOP agenda has never been very high on Trump's docket, and his lack of a personal relationship with the Republicans is beginning to push their priorities down even further on Trump's list. Per Politico:
In recent weeks, Trump has complained in private that it's difficult to have any sort of relationship — or even make small talk — with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He's told staff that he finds Speaker Paul Ryan, whom he's dubbed a “boy scout,” dry as well, but the two have some rapport.
By contrast, Trump can relate to Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, who talk more in non-Washington terms that he understands, according to people familiar with their meetings. Trump wants to keep meeting with them.
Trump met with “Chuck and Nancy” for dinner earlier this week, and not long after, the AP reported that they had struck a deal on DACA, which Trump pushed back against the following day. However, further reports indicate that Trump is not just willing to work with the Democrats, but eager to do so. More from Politico:
He opened the meeting with a call to reach across the aisle on tax reform, telling the bipartisan group: “I want to give this a try and see if it works.”
Over the course of half an hour, Trump left the door open to combining a massive tax cut and an infrastructure package, an idea GOP leaders have rejected. When Democrats asked him to use hundreds of billions of dollars generated from tax reform to rebuild the nation's bridges and roads, Trump did not rule it out.
A senior administration official told Politico that “you would have to be an idiot if you didn't see [his Democrat infatuation] coming.” The Daily Beast reported that “one White House adviser said they could hardly remember the last time Trump seemed 'this pleased for' a sustained, consecutive number of days while in office. One Republican close to Trump told them that “we got used to the new normal of chaos. Maybe [the] new new normal is betrayal for really no reason.”
Trump is already receiving backlash from his base over his pivot on immigration, as he essentially defended the Dream Act in two tweets yesterday morning.
In response, Breitbart dubbed him “Amnesty Don” and the Drudge Report stapled him to Nancy Pelosi.
This is empirically hilarious. The Republican Party has spent the last three decades sowing confusion and then whipping up nativist fear and anger in its wake, all while doing nothing to address the core concerns of their supporters. They built their own media ecosystem to produce an alternative narrative to help keep them in power during a time when they have never been less popular, and in the span of one year, Donald Trump completely hijacked that media ecosystem, their base and the party—and he is now actively trying to work with Democrats to get a “win” for him to brag about.
In reality, Trump has always been more of a Democrat than a Republican. His multiple bankruptcies prove he’s the opposite of fiscally conservative. The one thing that the leaked DNC opposition research document on Trump made clear is that he has actually been very consistent in his belief that everyone should be covered by health insurance. Socially, he is about as far away from conservatism as you can get, as his multiple wives and his historical pro-choice stances prove. The only part of Trump’s identity that you can really tie to the Republican Party is his overt racism.
So reap what you sow, Republicans. You created an environment so devoid of logic and reason that a carnival barker with the cognitive ability of a mushroom was able to steal everything you’ve worked for over the last 30 years in a single primary. I can’t think of a better punishment for the cynicism of establishment Republicans: having to watch a man who is anathema to everything conservatism claims to stand for hijack the party and tie their reputation to white nationalists, all while giving the Democrats policy wins. Maybe I’ll feel sorry for the Paul Ryan’s of the world someday. But only after I stop laughing, which doesn’t look like it’ll happen anytime soon.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.