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President Donald Trump’s decision to part ways with Steve Bannon can be understood as an effort to save his presidency after Charlottesville. It may turn out to be the beginning of the end for the Trump administration, the moment Donald Trump became Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Like Trump, Schwarzenegger ran for high office as a celebrity outsider, promising to reform a corrupt, wasteful and lethargic political system, reaching across party lines.
Office - Governor - California - Terminator - Hopes
When he took office in 2003 as Governor of California, “The Terminator” carried the hopes of conservatives in the Golden State, who saw him as a vehicle for their ideas, even if he was not a doctrinaire conservative himself. The faltering California Republican Party looked to Schwarzenegger to reverse its long-term decline, and Republicans elsewhere saw his success as a model from which they could learn as they courted moderate, swing-state voters.
But after struggling with intense media criticism, and after losing a key referendum on reforms to state government, Schwarzenegger gave up on his agenda, and abandoned the political base that had brought him into office. He re-invented himself as a liberal, embracing policies such as California’s controversial cap-and-trade program, which had zero effect on climate change but has chased businesses, jobs, and middle-class families out of the state.
Schwarzenegger - Gambit - Success - Re-election - Term
Politically, Schwarzenegger’s gambit was a success. He won re-election in 2006. But his second term was a disaster. When he left office in 2010, the state was in a financial shambles and the California Republican Party had begun a decline from which it still has not recovered.
Bannon was not just Trump’s master strategist,...
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