Steve Bannon has vowed to support primary challengers in the upcoming 2018 Congressional elections against every single Republican that has opposed the Trump Agenda. In a striking announcement, he declared that none will be free from his wrath, except for Senator Ted Cruz.
Bannon has observed what many have seen, Congressional Republicans have consistently been the largest obstacle in the way of Trump’s reforms. From Obamacare, to Tax Reform, to radical immigration reform – Senate Republicans have tried to stop and undermine Trump every step of the way.
Clearly a feared figure, Bannon is evoking a response from party elites already. “There’s one antidote to Steve Bannon: success,” Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters on Tuesday. “If people see us delivering on health care and taxes … all of our guys and gals are going to win,” he said. “But if we go into 2018 saying, ‘well, we just don’t have enough Republicans,’ Bannon will beat ‘em all or come close to beating ‘em.”
After a meeting with Mitch McConnell on Monday, in which Trump and the Senate Majority Leader worked to reboot their relationship, Trump hinted that he was “going to see” if he could influence Bannon to take it easy on certain Republicans that McConnell needed to remain in the Senate.
Republican commentators are hoping that the party avoids the “circular firing squad” that they see as the biggest obstacle to realizing the GOP’s campaign promises. Andy Surabian, an adviser to Bannon, explained that Bannon’s actions would be helpful.
Countering the talk of a, “circular firing squad”, Surabian reminded reporters, “That’s coming from folks who either don’t understand or don’t want to understand that Steve’s primary goal is to actually help the president advance his agenda, which is what this whole thing is truly about.”
He continued, “I think the effect of what Bannon is doing will result in senators being a lot more likely to vote for tax reform and vocally support the entire Trump agenda now to show that they are with the president.”
However Mitch McConnell made his position very clear, saying, “our strategy going forward is to protect our incumbents and to help people get nominated who actually can win elections because that’s the way you get to change America.”
Flake, who faces a primary challenge from Bannon-backed former state Senator Kelli Ward said that there’s pressure to revamp the tax code for policy reasons, not political ones.
“We haven’t done meaningful tax reform for over 30 years. It’s long past time,” he admitted.