Trump, McConnell, Ryan Discover Politics Is Team Sport

Sometimes there can be an unexpected yet undeniable 'disturbance in the force' of our politics – where one event or image seems to quietly and quickly shift the entire axis of momentum.  We saw it in 2012, when the love-fest between Chris Christie and Barack Obama on the tarmac after Super-Storm Sandy, including the iconic hug photo, seemed to realign the stars in what seemed like a sure Mitt Romney victory.  I could feel it happening at the time, and I suspect that many of you could, too.  We were right.

I felt the same thing a couple days ago, as President Trump, surrounded by Republicans whom he suddenly seemed to like, and who suddenly seemed to like him, celebrated the sweeping tax reform and tax cut bill victory.  Just a week earlier, the Republican Party and the president were smarting from an internally self-inflicted wound in Alabama.  That was a bottoming out.  The shift was palpable.  It was in the air.  Did you feel it?

The Democrats did, and they immediately went into a deeper apoplexy than normal.  They understood it on a certain level.  More on that later.

For now, it was as if this dysfunctional GOP team, with a coach who didn't want to coach and two quarterbacks still awaiting spine donors, finally figured out what has been true for the entire history of our nation.

Politics is a team sport.

You don't have to like that fact, or like your teammates, but it's true nonetheless.  After the big win, Coach Trump was smiling, and one QB, Speaker Paul Ryan, was giving a speech that came straight out of a Tea Party-Ayn Rand manifesto about what makes America America.  The other QB, the despicable McConnell, had done a pretty darned good job of corralling a Republican caucus suffering from the likes of John McCain and Susan Collins still being in office and having only a tiny majority in the first place.

Credit where credit is due, even if it comes off the tongue with nausea.

The Republicans won.  Trump won, but so did Ryan and McConnell.  It was a team win.  And what we were witnessing is that as with team sports, wins can cover a multitude of sins.

And let's be adults and admit that there were sins aplenty to go around.  McConnell, along with Karl Rove and Haley Barbour and some others, has been destroying conservatives running for office for a couple of decades. This was the toxic environment that Trump entered in June of 2015 and inherited officially in January of 2017.

The problem is, Trump ran for, and was elected, president.  As nominee, and as president, you are the head coach of your party.  Period.  It doesn't matter if you don't want to be.  It doesn't matter if your hardest-core supporters don't want you to do that part of the job.  And it doesn't matter that your party has too many snakes and weasels and weaklings.  You asked for the job, you got the job, and part of the job is leading the party.  It just is.

Trump refused to do that important part of the job, publicly sniping at Ryan, McConnell, and the Freedom Caucus and threatening to "work with Democrats" at numerous junctures.  This caused Obamacare repeal to fail.  Trump, who is philosophically agnostic on health care to begin with, merely "led from behind" on that issue.

It was a loss, and Trump owns it just as McConnell does.  All of the above.

Yes, I know: the Republican establishment have been pulling against part of their own party for twenty years.  I wrote the book about it, and that book inspired Steve Bannon to recruit me for Breitbart, specifically to write harshly about the GOP-E.  So yes, I realize that McConnell might not have wanted Obamacare to be repealed, but he did vote the right way.  And he did again on the tax bill that removes the Obamacare mandate.  He did the right thing, rare as that might be.

Trump showed more leadership on this issue than he did on Obamacare, and he did not take Twitter shots at his own team during the process, which surely was arduous.  The result was a feel-good win, and one that should prove extremely beneficial for all Americans economically and for the Republicans, including Trump, politically.

A huge collateral benefit is that they kind of got the daily double here, neutering Obamacare in the process.

I don't know if Trump, McConnell, and Ryan can stand each other personally.  And frankly, I don't care.  They all like to win, and perhaps in all the rancor of the last two years, they had forgotten just how sweet victory is – until this week.  Now the stage is set to rock and roll with the rest of the agenda.

And perhaps they had also forgotten how sweet, and how important, it is to see Democrats lose.  Sure, Hillary's loss was incredibly satisfying, but that was more a victory over the Hildabeast and Team Clinton than it was anything ideological.  This tax bill, with the Obamacare sweetener, was a mainline conservative crushing of the left.

And the left knows it.  The leftists know that the more people find out about this tax reform, the more they will like it.  They know the economy will roar with this.  They know that the Republicans rediscovered teamwork and the sweetness of victory.  This is why they have been in abject panic mode since Wednesday.

This is analogous to where I parted company with my friend Steve Bannon.  He and I agree on the problem, and it was the basis of our relationship, in fact.  It's the solution phase where we split.

He wants to burn it all down, ridding the party of the establishment wing, even if it means elevating Chuck Schumer to power.  I want to build the conservative caucus in the party and overwhelm the establishment with numbers.

He seems to hate Paul Ryan above all others in Washington.  I realize that it was Ryan voters who carried Trump to victory in Wisconsin.  Yes, Trump lost the rest of the state badly. 

Bannon wants to defeat incumbent senators in the upcoming primaries.  I want to emphasize winning the ten Democrat seats in Trump states with new conservatives, expanding the majorities, and moving the party to the right.

The Democrats have to defend 24 seats this go-round in the Senate.  The GOP has to defend only ten.  This is a golden opportunity for us to give Trump a big majority in the Senate and to ensure that his agenda moves forward.  It will ensure more victories.

A unified GOP, like the one we saw this week, will pick up five or six or seven Senate seats in 2018.  In 2020, Trump will win re-election, and his agenda will move forward.  A divided GOP will squander this historic opportunity, and America will suffer.

I see that.  Heck, even the Democrats see that.  Will Trump?  Will McConnell?  Will Trump's hardcore base?  Will Bannon?  Time will tell.

Edmund Wright is longtime contributor to American Thinker, as well as Breitbart, Newsmax TV, and Talk Radio Network. 

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