All things considered, last week was fairly quiet compared to…
Week three finds Trump flexing some muscle, though his motives are still dubious and finally getting a complete SCOTUS. Let’s dive in!
- Steve Bannon (Arrow Pointed DOWN)
More and more rumblings are that Bannon is on the outs of the most inner circle of Trump advisors with the latest being replacement on the NSC. Time will tell where he lands as Trump has shown a remarkable ability to love someone one day, throw them to the wolves next. E Tu Paul Manafort?
- Unity Against Bad Branding (Arrow Pointed UP)
Pepsi took quite the L after it’s terribly tone-deaf ad that seemed to want to solve all the world’s problems with a little soda. It showed that the sustained resistance, especially when money is involved can still turn corporations heads. The memes that came in after it were legendary.
"I'M TELLIN' YOU I GAVE THE OFFICER A PEPSI AND HE TOOK HIS HAND OFF HIS NIGHT STICK!"
"Whoa slow down lemme get this straight…" pic.twitter.com/pM1uy66vft
— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) April 5, 2017
- Democrat Resistance (Arrow UP)
Getting Devin Nunes to recuse himself after the epic fail of TrumpRyanCare is about as close as the Dems will get to a real win. They forced McConnell’s hand with the Gorsuch nomination, but now we live in a brave new world of SCOTUS hyper-partisanship. More on that below. Likewise, a sustained resistance and outrage against Bill O-Reilly led to a lot of advertisers pulling out. Could this be the beginning of the end here?
- Trump’s Globalist Faction (Arrow UP)
Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn and Dina Powell, get ready to jump to the forefront. Already, the drumbeat by people on the far right are calling these advisors “Globalists”, meaning they won’t put “America first” and even worse, that they might be: DEMOCRATS. While anything is a welcome change from Bannon, don’t get the populist flag up yet. These three have significant ties to Wall Street, so it’s very dubious that they’ll be fighting for the people’s best interests.
- A Finally Complete SCOTUS (Arrow UP)
Welcome Neil Gorsuch. Get used to him. He’s going to be a Supreme Court Justice for a long while. Though how he got there is highly controversial and now everyone can pour one out one last time for our forgotten homie Merrick Garland, at least having a full slate of justices means the Court at last is whole again. Perhaps Gorsuch will end up surprising as well, as Roberts did several years ago when he saved Obamacare. The hope is that Gorsuch follows his principles and works hard to prove himself worthy of such a lofty appointment.
- Sen. Mitch McConnell (Arrow NEUTRAL)
Well he did it. He played the long game and got the replacement that Republicans wanted. However, the damage that has been done may last a long time. Ending the filibuster for the Supreme Court takes away yet another check on one party running roughshot over the other in the Senate. Enjoy it while you can Senator. When the shoe is on the other foot, as it inevitably will be since politics is cyclical and reactionary, there will be no tears to shed.
- Vlad Putin (Arrow NEUTRAL)
Things are murky at the moment. Trump’s Syrian strike is clearly something that Putin didn’t want, since he is aligned with Assad. So, perhaps this is the first sign of a fissure in what has been an uncomfortably chummy relationship. However, for those who love a good conspiracy, could this still be part of Putin’s plan? The strikes seemed to have not acted as much of a deterrent to Assad and perhaps this act of breaking away is a means of deflection since DC and the world is shining quite a few lights on the Putin-Trump connection. Much like celebrity gossip, sometimes a feud is the best way to throw off the scent.
- The Generals (Arrow UP)
Trump felt compelled to do something and this time, The Generals in his Administration, HR McMaster and James Mattis were in his ear and he listened. Long considered the “adults” in the room, this was the first flexing of military might by the Trump White House. Their next decisions loom large but it’s obvious they have more influence than ever.
- Donald Trump (Arrow UP)
Possibly Trump’s best week from a PR standpoint, as he was able to get Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court and also show some empathy by reacting to the horrible crimes being waged in Syria. Let the record show however, that Syrian refugees remain banned according to Trump’s wishes so all of this empathy seems to be strangely placed. Trump, like all Presidents before him, is finding the global policy decision have many consequences, both short and long term and Syria is among the thorniest. Topple Assad and possibly welcome in ISIS to that vacuum. Do nothing else and it feels like just an air strike to boost poll numbers. Turns out being President is a lot more than golfing and bluster. Here’s hoping he is realizing that.
- Partisanship (Arrow WAY UP, Possibly Forever)
With the filibuster dead for Supreme Court noms, the next axe to fall is killing the filibuster for legislation, which is perhaps the final nail in the Senate’s coffin of being the steadying power influence in DC. By ending that, laws can now be passed by simple majority, with no need to find compromise and work with the other side. It would push Congress into much more of a parliamentary system, as opposed to the consensus system we currently use. There are some who would argue that maybe this change is needed, as gridlock has long been an issue that has frustrated the American people. It would also mean that with each new election, sweeping changes could come that might send the USA tilting in all sorts of directions. A Republican majority means one thing, then a Democratic one something new. The constant shifting and re-shifting of power and laws could shake up the country in ways no one can tell. Though Sen. McConnell still swears that won’t happen…. He’s proven that politics is played only to win.