Washington DC Power Rankings! (Weekly Column)

Washington DC Power Rankings! (Weekly Column)

Politics can be hard to follow. It’s often a business of broken promises and dreams deferred. However, with the upswing in engagement and activism, I thought it would be fun to try and quantify exactly what’s happening in DC on a weekly basis for people who aren’t policy wonks or politico devotees. Thus, my latest project: A Top 10 Power Ranking Of Political Power.

Much like in sports, the rankings reflect moreso how a given week has taken shape and what people are on hot or cold streaks. Overall, consistently placing well on the top 10 means that person is getting things done or increasingly in influence. Likewise, dropping out of the rankings mean they took some L’s or are losing their stake.

Though obviously, some are more powerful than others by nature of their positions, DC is very much a horserace. So, who wielded influence well this week? And who stumbled out of the gate and was left feeling Sad!

In reverse order of power:

T-10: Reps. Paul Ryan And Devin Nunes (Arrow Trending DOWN)

Both suffered some real set-backs this week. Ryan, after 7 years of talking up replacing Obamacare wasn’t even able to muster up a vote on his bill. As Speaker of a Republican majority House, that is a major L. Plus, as many have noted, he’s being the one thrown under the bus for the plan with President Trump really walking away like a man whistling past a graveyard.

Devin Nunes meanwhile seems to have leaked some classified information on Russia-Trump connections. By admitting that Trump people were caught on wiretaps and then had further investigations against them, he turned the heat on higher since the nature of wiretaps means if someone you’re talking to is being tapped and then your end of the convo gets caught, if you start saying shome shady stuff, chances are YUP, you’re getting tapped next. Ipso Facto, that’s how the connections gets made.

Likewise, as the CHAIRPERSON of the committee that is investigating it, he put his thumb on the scale in a very obvious way that has led more and more people to call for an independent investigation now. Plus, all the leaks Nunes was screaming about? Turns out, he was one of the leakers himself.

8. Rep. Adam Schiff (Arrow UP)

As the ranking member on said Investigation Committee, Schiff has enjoyed watching Nunes make blunders. Plus, his hearing was the one that finally got Comey to go on record against Obama wiretaps and for a Trump-Russia investigation. It remains to be seen where things go from here, but getting Nunes to apologize for talking to the media before the rest of the Committee had to feel good. Democrats will take wins any which way they can get them at this point.

7. Sen. Johnsey McGraham (Arrow UP)

AP

AP

Those two bosom buddies continue to be among the few outspoken Trump critics in the Republican party with both now talking very candidly about the need to investigate the growing ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Both have seemed to pick and choose their battles to speak out, but seem in lockstep and it’s not hard to imagine their drumbeat getting louder as more smoke rises.

6. Sen. Al Franken (Arrow UP)

Neil Gorsuch appears to be a near lock to get through to the SCOTUS, though the Dems do still hold the cards for filibustering things into a nuclear option standoff. While most of the Gorsuch hearings consisted of softballs questions, Franken seemed to be the one Democrat able to fluster the very polished Mr. Gorsuch into going off his non-message message with questions about empathy and frozen truckers. Franken likewise was a driving force in the movement against Betsy DeVos and seems to be growing by the day in stature in his party. How much longer before the whispers of Franken 2020 start?

5. Steve Bannon (Arrow NEUTRAL)

Trump’s brain retains most of his power and sway over the President, though he’s suffered some big setbacks with a second Travel Ban being stopped by the court system. Though he remains a mysterious figure to many, Bannon has shown he has a clear ideology and will continue to push for it in the coming days and months. The President’s budget, specifically the cuts to many major programs, have all the bells and whistles of having been thought up by Bannon and until further notice, he remains a man of great influence. Somewhat chastened but still lurking.

4. James Comey (Arrow NEUTRAL)

Welcome back to the spotlight Mr. Comey! After being praised on the right for what many saw as a big hit against the Clinton campaign months ago, this week’s revelations against wiretapping and for an ongoing Russian investigation shows that the “Deep State” remains a very potent force. Like most of these investigations, there is much that isn’t known and the very real truth is, perhaps there will be no big revelations that come out of it. However, the ability to conduct them keeps everyone in DC on notice. It’s a bit too little too late for many Dems though.

3. President Trump (Arrow DOWN)

He’s still the President, as he was happy to tell Time Magazine. And that is very much the truth. In terms of power, the buck more or less still stops here. He is still more than capable of changing a news cycle with just 140 characters at 6am. However, with healthcare now dying away and with two travel bans stopped in their tracks, much of the wind has come out of Trump’s sails. Gorsuch going through will be a good win for him but he must figure out a way to govern that amounts to more than just bluster in and make demands. The Art of the Deal is negotiation, right? Not stomping your foot.

2. Rep. Mark Meadows (Arrow UP)

As the leader of the Freedom Caucus, he was almost directly responsible for killing the AHCA bill with the refusal to change their votes when it wouldn’t go harder right. Long a thorn in many traditional Republicans sides, Meadows and company continue to show they will not budge on things and instead will force those around them to try and cater to their demands. A victory for them certainly, but as Paul Ryan did point out: you can only be the party of no for so long. Eventually the Freedom Caucus will have to say yes to something or risk giving up all the power they have.

1. Sen. Mitch McConnell (Arrow UP)

It was a good week for Mitch McConnell. With Gorsuch going through, McConnell’s gambit has paid off. Likewise the House is in chaos while the Senate looks a place of calm statesmanship relatively speaking. They pretended that Merrick Garland had leprosy until he went away and now are poised to bring a vote up on finally adding a 9th member to the SCOTUS of their liking. However, McConnell now has a very real showdown coming. If Schumer and the Dems really do filibuster, will McConnell go nuclear and change the voting rules? That is the sort of question that only the truly powerful in DC have asked of them. Which is why he tops our inaugural rankings… unless we count…..

*Unranked. Vlad Putin (Arrow WAY UP)

Putin continues to look at the USA’s political system as Drago looked at Apollo Creed:

Tune In Next Week As the NEW March Madness continues!