Now that the American people have actually gotten their candidate into the White House, he is no longer in a battle against various individuals and personalities like he was during the electoral season -- Trump vs. Cruz, Trump vs. Clinton, Trump vs. Jorge Ramos, etc.
He is up against very powerful groups that persist over time despite the comings and goings of particular individuals within their membership. The goals of these groups, and the leverage they wield in order to get their way, likewise persist over time regardless of internal composition at any given time.
Even during the electoral season, it was not as though the battles against Cruz, Rubio, Romney, McCain, et al were separate battles -- they were interchangeable representatives from the GOP Establishment. Taking on Clinton, Obama, Biden, et al -- taking on the Democrat Establishment. And not Jorge Ramos, Anderson Cooper, Joe Scarborough et al -- taking on the media.
And now, the nature of the battles is not winning the appeal to average American citizens, who choose the winning side -- as determined by relative success at gaining social media followers, driving ratings for a debate, topping opinion polls, and ultimately prevailing at the ballot box. Trump blew his competitors out of the water when the battle was for popular appeal.
In office, he is fighting an entirely different sort of battle -- to pass legislation, to get nominees into their positions, to re-negotiate trade deals, to build the wall, and so on. He's already won the popular argument on these topics -- now he has to try to get them done, against the actions of opposing groups wielding leverage that they did not have before when trying to persuade the public (e.g., holding up a nomination in a Senate committee).
Now it is war, and war is a collective affair. There are no individuals, and no personalities -- everyone is a representative of a group (or multiple groups), trying to advance the goals of that group, using the leverage that that group has to wield. In trying to figure out what is going on, it won't do to point to some individual and their personal motives -- if that's all there is, it's just petty personal BS that is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Instead, we must identify what group that person represents, what that group's goals are, and what leverage that group has to get its way.
For example, an earlier post looked at how the Democrats have become the party of Wall Street (and the media), with Republicans becoming the party of the Pentagon (and resource extraction industries).
Perhaps the most devastating psy-op that the Deep State has run against the Alt-Right was to implant the idea that Jared Kushner had begun to sabotage the President's agenda, against a more loyal individual like Steve Bannon (in reality, the two are Trumpists). This hysteria culminated in a #FireKushner hashtag trending on Twitter for an entire evening. Whoever was in charge of that psy-op was rewarded very handsomely for identifying the paranoid tendency within a subset of the Right, and figuring out who was obsessed with individuals rather than interest groups. Only such an audience would buy such a story.
In their imagination, Kushner has special power on account of being the President's son-in-law, and through his allegedly highly influential daughter Ivanka, who also enjoys power via nepotism (another successful piece of Deep State psy-ops). Steve Bannon, in this story, only enjoyed the level of power that an ideological fellow traveler would receive -- far below what a kinsman would receive. So, nepotism won out, and given the liberal New Yorker nature of Jared and Ivanka, plus perhaps some sprinkling in of "Jared is (half-)Jewish," that's why things were going wrong.
Back on Planet Earth, Jared and Ivanka wield no power whatsoever because they do not represent any interest group -- something that might carry the adjective "Big," like Big banks, Big agriculture, Big military, and so on. They are therefore advancing no group's agenda, and they are not wielding any leverage over the President that derives from membership in that group.
It is pure fantasy to think that Ivanka was the one who convinced her father to bomb Syria just because some false flag propaganda tugged at her womanish heart-strings. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is an established institution that seeks to administer a global empire by force (or threat), and is determined to punish those nations that reject becoming its clients, such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and North Korea. Its leverage consists in its control over the armed forces. Having the military brass lined up against you is just slightly more persuasive than having to listen to your tearful daughter complain about a mean old man.
Moreover, Ivanka only asked for the bombing (in the story -- probably she was coerced by the Pentagon into putting up a sad tweet to advance their cause). She did not ask for the reversal of policy from anti-regime change to pro-regime change. That was the real outcome, with the bombing only serving as a spectacle to announce that the military was veto-ing Trump and his team's message from just a week ago ("Assad's fate will be left up to the Syrian people").
Michael Flynn was not just some individual who withheld information from the VP, for which he was fired. He represented an interest group within the military -- evidently not a very powerful faction -- that wants to turn away from dead Cold War obsessions and re-orient toward fighting radical Islam. For challenging the Pentagon's Cold Warrior-ism consensus, he was kicked out when the Pentagon leveraged its connections with Deep State to fabricate a scandal about Trump/Russia. A representative of the Pentagon consensus, H.R. McMaster, was put into his place -- and if McMaster ever leaves, that does not mean anything if his replacement is yet another representative of the Pentagon consensus.
Mike Pence did not get the running mate slot because he personally was going to help win the election, since elections never hinge on the running mate (let alone on personalities rather than issues). Rather, he was a representative of the GOP Establishment and was sent to advance that group's goal of not letting Trump have free rein over personnel. Likewise, Reince Priebus was not personally the best person for the job of Chief of Staff -- he is part of the GOP Establishment, sent to advance its interests within the White House.
What leverage does the RNC have? Well, remember back when Priebus was regularly threatening to stage a contested convention, even though it was obvious Trump was going to win more than enough delegates? That's a very real threat that they, as the leaders of the Party whose nomination Trump was seeking, could follow through on. Somehow that plan never materialized. However, they clearly had enough leverage to get several key personnel picks in return for not staging a contested convention -- the running mate, and conditional on Trump's winning the election, a few Cabinet picks (whether left open or specified to be Chief of Staff, Press Secretary, etc.).
As with any potential successor to Pentagon boarding party member McMaster, any shake-up in the White House that ousts Priebus and Spicer will not change things if their replacements are other representatives of the GOP Establishment. That remains a possibility, with the leverage being that the RNC will coordinate with GOP Congressmen to really sabotage Trump regarding legislation, appointments, not attacking Dems who call for impeachment, and so on.
I think the Right is going to have a hard time shifting frame because they tend to be more socially oriented and grounded in reality, whereas interest groups are a more abstracted from concrete individuals and lack personality and juicy drama. Brain scan studies show that liberals and Leftists are more analytical, and conservatives and Rightists more emotional.
I'd look more to Trump supporters who identify as Independents for good analysis, as well as Leftists who focus on economics and politics rather than SJW social-cultural BS. The (Old) Left will call Trump names, assume uncharitable things about his personality, etc., but that can be stripped away from their group-level analysis of the balance of forces among various interest groups, which one has which type of leverage, and so on.
Of course, the cognitive dissonance stemming from their unexpected loss has made the Democrat mainstream devolve into its own individual-level conspiracy theorizing, e.g. painting Bannon as a Svengali rather than a representative from the populist-nationalist faction within the conservative media group. If Bannon were out, and the balance of forces remained, someone else representing the same interests (build wall, re-industrialize economy) would take his place, wielding the same leverage (inflame electoral base via conservatives in media).
Not to mention the retarded conspiracy theories about Putin and Trump. The mainstream Left has nothing to offer anybody.
But we ourselves need to keep our eyes on group-level dynamics, lest we turn into mirror-images of the loony Left. That applies to our electoral goals as well, but that's a topic for another post.
Briefly, though, Trump supporters or Tea Party people are obsessed with primarying their arch-nemesis McCain, specifically, even though he's an incumbent since forever who represents very powerful groups and lobbies (like the Saudis). If the goal is to stack the Senate with more Trump-friendly Republicans, why take on a difficult enemy when the same investment could replace four or five Establishment Republicans who are freshman Senators with little brand recognition and no loyal following? Those people should have tried to primary Rob Portman from Ohio instead, but he sailed through untargeted while all the attention was on McCain's primary.
In short, don't obsess over the interpersonal drama among individual personalities. For the Trump movement, politics is not just some theatrical performance that we want a more entertaining version of, after the boring or depressing versions we've seen so far. We want real-world outcomes to change. For that, we need to identify which groups are on our side, and how to use their distinctive leverage to our advantage, and which groups oppose us, and how to adapt to their leverage. And then, how to grow our side, knowing which groups support us, and how to shrink or neuter the other side, knowing which groups support them.