Trump, Bannon Moves Ahead Of 2018 Could Threaten GOP Senate Majority – NPR

President Trump and then-chief strategist Steve Bannon in April. They no longer work together in the White House, but they both seem primed to go to war with the GOP establishment.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images


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Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump and then-chief strategist Steve Bannon in April. They no longer work together in the White House, but they both seem primed to go to war with the GOP establishment.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump and his allies aren’t exactly running the playbook Republicans want him to ahead of the 2018 midterms. And that could be costly for the GOP at the ballot box next year.

Most recently, he’s lashed out harder at his own party’s two most vulnerable senators in 2018 — Dean Heller of Nevada and Jeff Flake of Arizona — than he has at any Democrat up for re-election. He’s heaped praise on North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a potentially vulnerable Democrat, and made a deal — at the expense of Republican leaders he’s publicly bashed — to raise the debt ceiling, a longtime anathema to conservatives.

On top of that, Trump’s pugnacious former top aide Steve Bannon, freed from the confines of the West Wing, seems primed to go to war with the GOP establishment by funding Senate primary challengers. That could mean Republicans are saddled with weaker general election nominees — complicating a cycle where the GOP has plenty of vulnerable Democratic senators to knock off and should be primed for pickups in the upper chamber of Congress.

“Trump should be using his political capital in states like North Dakota, Indiana and Michigan to make the case for a more conservative Senate,” lamented Brian Walsh, a GOP strategist and former communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “Instead, he’s either complimented the senators or given them a free pass. Hopefully, that will change at some point, but you have to wonder when.”

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