The expected outcome of the mid-term elections will be the source of non-stop speculation among political observers until ballots are counted on Nov. 6. While Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria sees dim prospects for the GOP at the present time, he says the tide could yet turn.
Zakaria spoke with Steve Bannon, the ideological architect behind President Donald Trump’s winning strategy in 2016. Though he disagrees with Bannon’s nationalistic vision, Zakaria says it could continue to expand as a force in America’s politics.
Italian Election a Model
“Bannon was in Rome to learn from and provide support to the unusual coalition of populists and nationalists who together won half the vote in Italy’s recent elections and have formed a government,” Zakaria writes in his June 1 column. “Bannon sees that sort of coalition — mixing left and right, old and young — as his goal for the United States.”
Bannon told him, “You could begin to see the elements of Bernie Sanders coupled with the Trump movement that really becomes a dominant political force in American politics.”
The immigration debate is central to the strategy.
“He believes that the Trump coalition can attract up to a third of Sanders supporters who see trade and immigration as having created unfair competition for jobs, particularly for working-class blacks and Hispanics,” Zakaria writes.
Shutdown Over Border Wall?
Playing to that strategy, Bannon expects Trump to engage in a do-or-die battle over his proposed U.S.-Mexico border.
“The wall is absolutely central to his program, ” Bannon told Zakaria. “As we come up on Sept. 30, if [Congress’s] appropriations bill does not include spending to fully build his wall. … I believe he will shut down the government.”
Far from resolving anything one way or the other, the midterm battles are likely to be re-run for many elections to come.
“Sadly, but not surprisingly, Bannon doesn’t think the fighting and the rancor in the United States are going away any time soon,” Zakaria says.
You can read Fareed Zakaria’s column, Steve Bannon’s clever idea to save the GOP from brutal midterms, at The Washington Post.