by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Kevin Williamson of National Review Online pushes back against the notion of purging the Republican Party of anti-Trump elements.
Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, held a meeting with major Republican donors and suggested that they conduct a “purge” — his word — of Republican officeholders who are not entirely and enthusiastically on board with the Trump agenda.
That raises the question: What, exactly, is the Trump agenda?
You’d think that would be obvious, but it isn’t — not if you examine the question at any level of detail. The Trump administration had hoped to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but replace it with what? The president has never spelled out a substantive policy view for health-care reform beyond a few elementary-school adjectives: He wants a “terrific” system, he says. Well, that settles that. Tax reform? His “plan” consists of a half-literate memo boasting that some taxpayers will “get a new one-page form to send the IRS saying, ‘I win.’”
So much winning.
Trump has not produced a serious policy proposal for controlling illegal immigration — his hallmark issue — crime, the Islamic State, energy, the deficit and the national debt, entitlements, or anything else. He has tweeted about a great many cable-news personalities, and he has many thoughts about the ratings of various television programs. He must be positively rapt at the news that Fox and Friends is extending its franchise into the wee hours of the morning.
Republicans have not rallied behind the Trump agenda because there isn’t anything to rally behind. The Trump movement is a one part personality cult and one part group-therapy session. It isn’t politics — it’s a nervous breakdown inside the Republican party.