Jared Kushner Is More of an Economic Populist Than Steve Bannon

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Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Steve Bannon wants you to know that, if he gets fired, it won’t be because he’s bad at his job (don’t be fooled by those failed travel bans and health-care bill, he is actually extremely good at deconstructing the administrative state).

No, if Bannon gets fired, it will be because he was just too committed to Trump’s populist, working-class base, and the White House’s cucks just couldn’t take it. Here’s how Bannon’s allies characterized his conflict with Trump’s son-in-law — and leader of the administration’s “globalist” wing — Jared Kushner, in interviews with Gabriel Sherman:

While the press has covered it as a personality feud, Bannon allies say the rift is about policy differences. “The press is calling it fighting, we call it debating,” Bannon told an associate, according to a source. On a board in his West Wing office, Bannon keeps a list of promises Trump made to populist voters. Kushner, whose portfolio has ballooned in recent weeks, seems much less interested in keeping those promises.

It’s hard to see how this is true, unless we assume that “populist” is just a euphemism for “white nationalist.” According to the Daily Beast, one of Bannon’s major frustrations with Kushner is that he kept bringing Zeke Emanuel, a Democrat and an Obamacare supporter, to the White House to discuss options on health-care policy.

Bannon preferred for the president to hash out the details of Trumpcare with the House Freedom Caucus, the libertarian extremists who were content to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement.

Here are some things that Trump promised populist voters on health-care policy:

1) No cuts to Medicaid.

2) Everybody will be guaranteed high-quality, affordable insurance.

3) Medicare will negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

Zeke Emanuel supports these policy goals. The House Freedom Caucus does not. In fact, many of its members would be happy to abolish Medicaid entirely.

In the end, Bannon pushed for the passage of a health-care bill that would have radically increased the cost of insurance for older, low-income, rural voters — Trump’s populist base. Kushner reportedly said the bill was a “mistake” (on the day of the vote, right after he got back from skiing).

In other words, Bannon backed a policy that would literally have killed many members of Trump’s working-class base — and decried Kushner for bringing in an expert who opposed that idea.

This isn’t the only issue where the “globalist, Goldman Sachs” wing of the White House has evinced more concern for the actual material needs of Trump’s base. It’s Ivanka who wants to provide them paid leave and child-care subsidies. Meanwhile, based on Trump’s budget proposals, it looks like Bannon’s “deconstruction of the administrative state” involves defunding a bevy of programs that benefit working-class people in rural America.

On other economic issues, Bannon and the globalists reportedly see eye to eye: Both sides claim to be interested in infrastructure spending and breaking up the big banks.

To be sure, Bannon seems more gung ho about deporting undocumented people, banning Muslims, and ending the United Nations. But those weren’t the only promises Trump made to the working-class slice of his coalition. So, it may be more precise to say that the White House is divided between the “unscrupulous, corporate, Democratic” wing, and the “alcoholic, racist” one.

Kushner Is More of an Economic Populist Than Steve Bannon