As the GOP Establishment, led by the Pentagon brass, has captured the Trump movement for the time being, there have been periodic gripes about, "Did Jeb Bush win the election after all?" The point was well taken -- the power factions pulling the levers (Pentagon, agribusiness, oil, Wall Street), and often the particular individuals in charge, would have been right at home in a Bush White House. Not in a White House devoted to populism and nationalism.
Trump won the GOP primary by running against the policies that have been unfolding, except the few areas of overlap with the usual Republicans, like appointing conservatives to the courts. If we had wanted an increased military presence in the Middle East and Afghanistan, still aligned with the jihadists, as well as tax cuts uber alles and eliminating the social safety net -- we had over a dozen other choices who were offering some variation on that theme.
We chose the one guy who campaigned against the typical Republican bullshit.
But over the past few months, after the Pentagon junta had purged the Trump supporters from the government and cut off the people's President from the people, Trump has resigned himself (for the time being) to performing an anti-Establishment role that is more palatable to the Establishment -- namely, the Ted Cruz culture war schtick.
Jeb Bush most definitely would not have taken on the NFL for its anti-American policy regarding the national anthem, would not have ordered trannies out of the military, would not have been slamming the liberal media day in and day out, and would not have pandered to evangelical Judaizers in the Great Plains by "announcing" or "declaring" that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, while still signing the usual waiver that prevents the US embassy from actually being re-located there from Tel Aviv.
Could we imagine these things coming from Ted Cruz, though? Absolutely. Along with "ripping to shreds" the Iran nuclear deal and other actions, symbolic or real, that would energize the Tea Party base against both the liberals and the Establishment GOP-ers like McConnell and Ryan.
So far, these have been the biggest and happiest winners of the Trump presidency -- the hardcore Republicans who preferred or even voted for Cruz over Trump, but who still lost the primary battle by 20 points.
(BTW, where are the empty symbolic sops to the populist voters from the Rust Belt who ushered Trump out of the GOP primary and into the White House?)
The evangelicals in the Deep South were crucial to Trump winning the primary, so it's only fair for them to get something -- but they aren't the psychotically Israel-obsessed kind of Christians that are found more west of the Mississippi. They are focused on practical aspects of Christianity and religion -- like repealing the Johnson Amendment so that churches can organize and act politically.
They are the Jerry Falwell Jr. types, and while they no doubt agree with the symbolic act on Jerusalem, they were hoping more for real change within America itself about religion and Christianity, like repealing the Johnson Amendment.
It would take more courage for the President to "declare" that private businesses can discriminate against homosexuals for religious reasons, whether not wanting to sanctify a Satanic form of marriage (between same sex) by baking their wedding cake, or not wanting homosexual predators to molest young boys in their church or the Boy Scout troop that they sponsor.
And as supposed head of the executive agencies, the President could actually try to make that happen -- issue a directive to the DoJ that they are not to go after Christian bakers or church heads who object to serving homosexuals for religious reasons.
On "moral majority" issues, he could go about breaking up the pornography industry. That would be an actual crusade with actual results important to evangelicals (and non-religious conservatives). Again, as head of the executive agencies, he can supposedly issue directives to get the ball rolling. On this topic, he'd even pick up a little bipartisan support from old school feminists who think pornography is uniquely degrading and exploitative to women.
Proclaiming that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel does nothing to advance the concrete religious interests of evangelicals in the United States. It's just an empty endorphin rush for the minority of Christians who LARP as Second Temple Jews, who fixate on the Old Testament and rarely quote from or preach about the message of Jesus and Paul from the New Testament (Revelations is catnip for them, though).
These represent steps backward, not forward, in the attempted re-alignment of the GOP and its constituents. The hope was that Trump was going to give something to evangelicals, as opposed to the usual GOP practice of ignoring them altogether, but that it would ween them off of their apocalyptic emotional Judaizing, and steer them toward a more down-to-earth focus on how to strengthen Christianity and its institutions right here in America.
And that the opening salvos from Trump in a culture war would lead to further and more concrete changes to the institutions he's targeting.
Trolling the media is fine, but he can do that -- and did do that -- without being President, or even a candidate. Now that he's President, it's time to trust-bust the media monopolies and rob them of the leverage that they wield in the great big struggle among elite factions (their gatekeeper role in the flow of information).
Slamming the NFL is fine -- but he can do that without holding or even running for office. Why not cut all funding from pro sports teams who receive any governmental support, financial or otherwise (i.e., all of these parasitic corporations), who do not enforce a Presidential directive that all players who are capable of standing, will stand for the national anthem?
Now that he's President, it's time to hit the enemy where it hurts.
As for the enemies of evangelical Christians, they are not the Palestinians, like them or hate them. Directing evangelical attention to the Israel-Palestine conflict is a pure distraction. The enemies are the anti-Christian forces operating right here in America, like judges who want to force Christians to sanctify Sodomite weddings by making one of the ceremony's sacred things (the wedding cake), akin to forcing Muslims to cater a "bacon lovers" party. Or laws that prevent churches from organizing and acting politically. And on and on.
But with Trump having been sealed off so hermetically by General Kelly of the Pentagon junta, this kind of feedback is unlikely to reach him. We know that Trump is not ideologically driven toward this Ted Cruz stuff -- he's doing it out of reciprocity for his supporters. But he's being misled about who his supporters were (not the emotional Israel-firsters), and what they want (repeal Johnson Amendment, not symbolic stuff on the Holy Land).
The longer that the GOP manages to hold Trump hostage, the more the administration will congeal into the Lyin' Ted presidency, with the usual GOP garbage going on in the real world and culture war distractions to keep Trump voters from noticing or caring about being robbed by "their own" party yet again.