This is from BuzzFeed, home of dancing cat gifs and #FakeNews, so it has to be kept in proper perspective:
Well before President Trump’s inauguration, his top adviser Steve Bannon met with a few top-tier donors — the kind of donors capable of writing million-dollar checks.
The message, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversations, was that Bannon wants to use the 2018 midterm elections as the arena to test the political clout of Trump’s populist message.
“The days of [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell picking Republican nominees in Senate races are over,” sources familiar with the meetings said Bannon told donors. He also mentioned the US Chamber of Commerce as declining in influence, according to one of those sources.
Bannon did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story. After publication, a source close to Bannon told BuzzFeed News said he did not say that.
The former chairman of far-right news website Breitbart was light on specifics and didn’t say which 2018 Senate races he had in mind, according to the sources familiar with the conversations. But he encouraged donors to starting giving to the outside entity created by Trump allies that was still taking shape at the time.
The group, a nonprofit called America First, officially launched this week.
Read the whole thing because it covers a lot of waterfront and brings up the subject of a primary challenge against Jeff Flake. This would be something that we’ve never seen, at least in my life time, where the political adviser for a president is advocating a primary challenge against a senator of the president’s party.
In principle, I’m not opposed to someone other than McConnell, the NRSC, and the US Chamber of Commerce picking candidates for Senate. Not only have they demonstrated their monumental incompetence at the task (Thad Cochrane was recently seen in the Senate cafeteria fingerpainting the table with feces and cream of wheat and voted “pudding” at a confirmation hearing; Susan Collins tried to sneak taxpayer funded abortion into the ObamaCare repeals effort). In reality, I’m not sure I want Bannon even within cellphone range when that decision is being made. I’m very certain that I’d prefer primary challenges be grassroots driven and that everyone butt out of a contested primary.
Keeping in mind that there is at least a 60% chance, based on BuzzFeed’s accuracy over time, that this story is mostly hogwash, but if it is true this is going to set off an interesting civil war within the GOP and I’m not sure Bannon is up to the task of actually winning this fight.