Sat, Apr

Memo to President Trump: Ditch the Freedom Caucus, Embrace the Middle


CORRUPTION WATCH--Does history make the man or does the man make history? Sometimes, history needs the man who knows the right time and place to make the correct move. Donald Trump does not need Jack Benny’s timing, to realize that now is the time to act. (Photo above: US Rep. Jim Jordon, a member of the Freedom Caucus.) 

Jarvanka wisely exited stage-left for a ski vacation and left the stage to Bannon and the Alt-Right during their attempt to install “TrumpCare.” The military chose Jared to travel with it to Iraq. Sanity has regained control of the National Security Council with Bannon’s banishment. Most telling, did anyone see Kellyanne Conway, Herr Stephen “Thou shall not question” Miller or Sarah Huckabee Sanders on the Sunday morning pundit shows? 

The Tea Baggers have turned Congress into a Parliament 

The lesson from the tea bagger Freedom Caucus flop is clear. Congress has become a quasi-parliament where the GOP needs the far right in order to stay in power, and that means the Freedom Caucus will have the final word on all vital decisions in the Trump Administration. While they lack the power to enact their far right agenda, they have the power to destroy sensible policies and thereby to destroy the Trump Presidency. The reality is that by acting like a separate political party, the tea baggers in Congress forget there is a far larger centrist group that can and should take its place. It is the number of votes and not who places them that counts in any parliament. 

Extremism in Governance is a Vice 

Now is the time for Trump to realize that the extremist tactics that can get one elected will make governance impossible. The only way to govern with 35% of the vote is to stage a military coup, and the intelligence agencies including those within the military are much closer to getting rid of Trump than vice versa. 

The Freedom Caucus has shown that there are two avenues open to Trump: (1) continue to be their captive, (2) form a governing coalition with the centrist Democrats and centrist Republicans. If Trump foolishly sticks with the GOP and excludes Democrats, thinking that he and Ryan can control the tea baggers, then he and Ryan are delusional. They will stab both Trump and Ryan in the back. That is the nature of true believers. 

Syria Provides the Perfect Time 

Because there is no good option with Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran and the assorted jihadists, whatever action the nation takes has to be backed by a large centrist coalition of centrist GOP and Dems, excluding the Alt-Right and the incipient Alt-Left. 

People cry for bipartisanship, but petty interests try to block every step toward Americans coming together to solve problems on a consensus basis. Fortunately, a foreign crisis deafens the ears of the populace to the claims of politicos demanding “my power first.” While many among the Democrats would rather slit their own wrists than lose the fund raising bonanza of the Midnight Tweeter, the power of an international disaster greatly dampens these voices of internal division. 

Trump, Democrat or GOP? 

Without realizing it, the Politics of Revenge elected a President who not only is more of a Democrat than a member of the GOP, but he also comes with built-in democratic advisers who are gaining ascendency. Say Hello to Jarvanka. Running a nation is not a solo act, but requires an ensemble cast all of whose members know when the first act is over and the second act has begun. The Alt-Right has dominated the opening scenes of the Trump Presidency, but now it is time for the nation to move on. 

Trump Still Has His Demons 

In order to assess Trump’s ability to put together an openly bipartisan governing coalition, we need to bite the bullet and address Trump’s personality disorders. He appears to suffer from both a histrionic and a narcissistic personality disorder with paranoid features. A centrist governing coalition plays to the traits of these disorders – hey – that’s the guy we got and we have to base decisions on what we have and not what we wish we had. If parts of Trump’s personality are simpatico with a coalition, let’s allow those traits to become our strengths. 

In a centrist coalition, Trump can see himself as the center of attention as his history embodies bipartisanship. The coalition shuts down the Alt-Right Freedom Caucus who view Trump as their puppet and the coalition rescues him from the humiliation of his failed courtship with Putin. 

Histrionic people assume that relationships are closer than they are. Despite his disclaimers, Trump always thought that he had an understanding – a shared vision – with Putin. Wrong! Putin, however, is a power player. As long as Trump is weak with no effective control over events and lacks the approval of the tea baggers, he cannot forge a working relationship with Russia. 

As Trump said in The Art of the Deal, one cannot bargain from a position of weakness, so his sole hope to gain power is to break the hold the Freedom Caucus has over him and the GOP Congress. That requires forging a centrist governing coalition that can lock out the Freedom Caucus. 

The time has arrived to realize that the tea baggers are passé. The weight of the Administration is moving toward bipartisanship, and the best time for a President to do the unorthodox is when the country perceives a threat from the outside.


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

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