Mainstream Republicans are buoyed by Donald Trump's appointments so far, convinced that strategically positioned top officials can freeze out those they consider extremists.
On domestic issues, establishment congressional conservatives believe that an alliance of Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus will encourage the Trump administration to push a conventional Republican agenda. They also are counting on support from Trump's oldest daughter, Ivanka. The loser, in this view, will be top White House counselor Steve Bannon, a champion of white nationalists and the populist right.
On national security, the betting is that Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis, a retired general, will join forces with Trump's choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon-Mobil, to outmanuever the designated national security adviser, retired General Mike Flynn. Flynn has drawn criticism for calling Islam "a political ideology" and ex-colleagues have said they are worried about his volatile temperament.