The Kushner-Cohn Ascendancy

The Kushner-Cohn Ascendancy, by The Wall Street Journal.

The transition from running a boutique family business to an election campaign to the most powerful and complicated government on the planet has a steep learning curve. Mr. Bannon, the former Breitbart website publisher, was an architect of Mr. Trump’s populist insurgency, and he entered the West Wing with the President’s ear. …

Mr. Bannon was also the author of the Administration’s early miscalculations, including a divisive inaugural address and especially the immigration executive order. The travel ban was overbroad and poorly drafted, got blocked by the courts, energized Democrats and created dozens of media hardship stories.

Mr. Bannon is also getting blame—perhaps more than he deserves—for the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace failure. He couldn’t deliver the ornery conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, despite issuing a typically blunt ultimatum that they had no choice. But most of the fault lies with the Freedom Caucus’s refusal to compromise that is giving Mr. Trump doubts about the utility of working with conservatives.

Enter Cohn and Kushner:

All of this is empowering Messrs. Kushner and Cohn, who are preaching competence and calm. The real-estate heir and formerGoldman Sachs No. 2 are expanding their portfolios and Mr. Cohn is running the economic decision-making process.

Some conservatives say that sidelining Mr. Bannon would betray Mr. Trump’s core outsider promises on trade, immigration and much else. But the reality is that Mr. Trump needs more political and policy victories in his young Presidency. If Mr. Bannon can’t deliver results, Mr. Trump needs people who can.

Mr. Cohn is a pragmatic Wall Street Democrat, and he lacks the vocabulary of free-market conservatives. But he’s assembled an impressive team at the National Economic Council …[who will] be a source of thoughtful and constructive expertise. …

The balance:

Mr. Trump has also named the corporate-tax expert Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute to lead the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and he nominated Neomi Rao of George Mason University as his White House regulatory policy czar. The idea that the Administration would lack conservative voices without Mr. Bannon is overwrought.

The crucial test for Messrs. Kushner and Cohn will be tax reform. If they can overcome Democratic and interest-group opposition, stitch together fractious Republicans, and merge Mr. Trump’s populist instincts with pro-growth reform, he has the opportunity to raise wages and expand jobs. That’s how voters will judge him in 2020.

The truth about White Houses is that they always reflect the President, for better or worse, and Mr. Trump has a, well, unconventional management philosophy. If he does reorganize his inner circle, it will be a sign that the former businessman is becoming better educated about his new, and much larger, responsibilities.