After the Freedom Caucus stopped House Majority Speaker Paul Ryan’s health care bill from even receiving a floor vote, conservatives and libertarians were elated, but serious consequences may be on the way if White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s words are any indicator.
Conservatives and libertarians hoping their health care victory would result in Trump embracing their agenda have reason to be concerned. Some very choice words made by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon regarding the Freedom Caucus to the mainstream media cast serious doubt on the likelihood of an alliance forming between limited government advocates and the White House.
“I think the Democrats are fundamentally afflicted with the inability to discuss and have an adult conversation about economics and jobs, because they’re too consumed by identity politics. And then the Republicans, it’s all this theoretical Cato Institute, Austrian economics, limited government — which just doesn’t have any depth to it. They’re not living in the real world,” Bannon said to the New York Times Magazine.
The about-face from Bannon, former Breitbart publisher and tea party champion, lends credence to rumors that Trump is planning to nullify the Freedom Caucus by working with moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats to push his agenda through Congress.
However, the alliance between Trump and Democrats has many potential pitfalls as well. As Salon.com notes, despite potential middle-ground, “Working with Trump is also likely to be very unpopular for Democrats among more left-leaning voters, as many frequently compare him to Adolph Hitler.”
President Trump considers himself to be a nimble navigator, but it remains to be seen how he can maneuver his agenda through Congress with all of the various factions frequently at odds with one another. Perhaps by refusing to budge on their principles, the Freedom Caucus will eventually prove to be the most stable and trustworthy of Trump’s potential allies.