Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who occasionally has colorful things to say about the Republican Party’s direction, shared a notable thought this morning. “After Alabama disaster GOP must do right thing and DUMP Steve Bannon,” King wrote. “His act is tired, inane and morally vacuous. If we are to Make America Great Again for all Americans, Bannon must go! And go NOW!!”
As TPM noted this morning, it’s an increasingly common sentiment.
The piece dovetailed nicely with a tweet last night from National Review’s David French: “Consider for a moment the magnitude of Steve Bannon’s genius. Not every man can make an [Alabama] senate race close. Steve Bannon can.”
Republicans members of Congress and conservative media are united in blaming one person for their party’s loss in the deep red state of Alabama Tuesday night: Steve Bannon.
In a scathing editorial published late Tuesday evening, the Wall Street Journal ignited the revolt, declaring that “Bannon is for losers.”
“The Alabama result shows that Mr. Bannon cares less about conservative policy victories than he does personal king-making,” the editorial board wrote. “He wants to depose Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader even if it costs Republicans Senate control. GOP voters, take note: Mr. Bannon is for losers.”
That was published an hour before the race was called for Doug Jones (D).
Bannon, Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, wasn’t literally on the ballot, but no national figure invested more energy in Roy Moore’s candidacy. He headlined two rallies in Alabama this past week, and was poised to make another appearance on stage last night – right up until the results came in.
Bannon said in October, “We are declaring war on the Republican establishment.” In Alabama, he lost a major battle in that war, leaving many to question his competency as a field general.
Indeed, it’s worth watching to see how the financiers of Bannon’s war respond. Politico reported overnight:
Moore’s loss deals a serious blow to the anti-establishment campaign Bannon had been planning for next year’s midterms, one that was predicated on defeating incumbents and other mainstream Republicans that are being propped up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Alabama race was Bannon’s first stand. While Bannon backed Moore in the GOP primary, McConnell was behind appointed Sen. Luther Strange.
Where the former Trump adviser takes his fight now is an open question. He’s been courting major donors across the country in hopes of building financial support. Moore’s loss could well make Bannon’s pitch more difficult.
We talked in October about Bannon’s plans, which included launching primary campaigns against every Senate Republican incumbent except Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). After Roy Moore won the GOP primary in Alabama, the Washington Examiner reported that donors who fund conservative challengers were feeling emboldened, embracing Bannon’s message and feeling confident that “their investments might pay off.”
What do you suppose the odds are that they feel the same way this morning?