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Dear President Trump: Stick With Populism, Not Gary Cohn

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This article by Patrick Howley originally appeared at The American Spectator:

“Dear Mr. President,

As a supporter of yours since Day One, I feel the need to write to you. Stay true to populist nationalism, sir. I know you believe in it. It carried you over the goal line in the Midwest to victory.

If you stick with it, you can be a once-in-a-lifetime transformational political figure that unifies the Right and Left and saves America. If you don’t stick with it, you will lose your way. You MUST not appoint Gary Cohn to be White House chief of staff.

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Your son-in-law Jared seems like a nice guy, but he is wrong about his friend Gary Cohn, the Goldman Sachs guy. I do not support Gary Cohn  in any way, shape, or form. Nobody on either side of the aisle wants Gary Cohn to be your chief of staff.

Most people are intimidated by you and won’t tell you to downgrade Jared’s role or to end the honeymoon with Cohn, because one of those guys is your son-in-law and the other is your economic adviser. That’s all well and good, but at a certain point someone needs to appeal to you not as a political careerist but as a plain old American: Jared is seizing a ton of power in the White House, and I don’t think he cares about the populist issues that carried you to victory. Use him on China, use him on the Middle East, fine. But he doesn’t need to run everything, and he shouldn’t. He’s your son-in-law.

I generally support Steve Bannon — as I worked for him at Breitbart — but this isn’t really about Steve, and he didn’t tell me to write this. This is about populist nationalism and about protecting people on the bottom and in the working classes. Steve happens to be the torchbearer of that movement. It is a movement that would not accept Gary Cohn as your chief of staff.

The Bernie people are disillusioned with the Democratic Party. There is going to be a mass exodus from that party. It’s happening right now, and it’s going to increase throughout this year. You stand to be the beneficiary of that exodus. That is, if you stick to populism. Populism is the ticket to break down the two-party system and unify people on both sides behind you, thus assuring your re-election. If you stick to it.

I know you’re miffed at your staff because you think the Obamacare repeal-and-replace failure was a big disappointment for you, but it wasn’t. Nobody liked that bill. No conservatives liked that bill. Everyone hated it, actually. It was the same thing as Obamacare but actually kind of worse in some ways. Rush Limbaugh told people on the air to rise up against you. That’s not good, Mr. President. You would have lost about a third of your supporters overnight. As a Trump supporter, I’m glad that bill failed. Convene some more meetings with Rand, come up with something better, and you’ll bounce back. Your approval rating went down during that period, because you were supporting a bad bill. That’s why it went down.

The opportunity is there for you to take advantage of populism. Breitbart pretty much let down Steve, by becoming really boring after the election and not providing air cover for the administration. But the rest of conservative media is KILLING it right now, and they love the populist nationalist approach. Look at Infowars, look at Ann Coulter, look at the Drudge Report, look at Rush Limbaugh, look at the many other conservative outlets (and trust me, there will be more popping up). Bannon’s popularity — or, rather, the popularity of the ideology he represents — is evident throughout all of it. And that was a pretty tough thing to pull off, considering that conservative media was not populist nationalist to begin with, and resisted your ideas in the beginning of the primaries.

That media will be there for you, Mr. President. If you stick to populism. But if you pass a new Obamacare and bomb Syria all the time, then your approval rating will go down again.

 It is incumbent upon you, sir, to stick with populism and to continue to trust the people in your administration who know what it’s all about: Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions, Julia Hahn, and Ben Carson. If you abandon populism, then you will not really have any constituency anymore. Will you be an establishment Democrat? Will you be a neocon? How will people even think of you? You will be adrift.

You have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Mr. President, to unify the conservative right and the progressive left behind you, thus changing politics forever and draining the swamp on behalf of the people. That’s why I support you so strongly, apart from the fact that I think you’re a good guy personally. But you must stick to it, Mr. President. For my sake. For the people’s sake. And for your own sake. Stick to it.

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