I began my career running political campaigns in Westchester County, which borders New York City. It was the wealthiest county in the country at the time. I was the assistant to the secretary of the New York State Senate; I designed and instructed US campaign politics and technology at St John’s University. I was a chief government affairs specialist for many years in Washington — working for the chemical industry, I should add. I only mention this because I know how political establishments operate — the kind that Trump is up against right now.
The GOP establishment fears Donald Trump more than it fears Hillary Clinton. Many Republican elites have done everything but openly endorse Hillary. The GOP’s visible establishment is made up of people like Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Lindsay Graham and John McCain. But it also includes the fundraisers and think tank types who support them.
The GOP establishment favourites for this election were Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. These are the types of guys you hated in high school and college…the guys who wanted to be class president or head of the student council. They’re the overly ambitious, insincere, glad handers brownnosers and suck-ups that somehow rise to the top in politics. Ted Cruz wasn’t the establishment favourite, but they certainly favoured him over Donald Trump. ‘Never Trump’ was their refrain. But they’re stuck with Trump.
And Trump dispatched the establishment toadies one by one because he knows how they operate. He knows how to play the game, and they don’t. The fact is, the GOP establishment can’t stop Donald Trump.
He’s done business with these types of people for years to get deals done, in both parties.
He’s openly admitted that he’s given money to both sides because that’s how you get things done in the US. They’re essentially bribes and payoffs. It actually helped Trump to admit it. But the professional politicians couldn’t admit it because it would reveal their role in the game.
So Trump won because he played the street game, while the others could only play politics.
I’ll admit right now, I’m not a Trump supporter. And I’m certainly not a Hillary supporter. I’m a political atheist who’d prefer to see neither win if I had a choice. The only recent candidate I would have voted for was Ron Paul, another outside figure hated by the establishment.
But on a deeper level, there is no real political ‘establishment’. They’re essentially nobodies. It’s just a bunch of empty suits with very little substance behind them. That’s why Trump’s been able to beat them. So they’ll do everything in their power to derail Trump, because they know he’ll take over when he moves in. He’s a threat to their gravy train, and that’s his great appeal to the millions of Americans who are sick of business as usual.
Trump’s appeal is his opposition to the globalist trade deals the establishments in both parties support. And American workers have every right to be concerned. Trump is appealing to the disenfranchised middle class, which has shrunk since the 1970s to the point where it’s practically a minority in this country. Something like half the nation’s population is earning under $30,000 a year. And rightly or wrongly — or a combination of both — they see these globalist trade deals and their sponsors in both parties as threats to their way of life.
That part of his rhetoric appeals to me. I know what a disaster NAFTA was for American workers. I knew it when the debates were going on between Ross Perot and Al Gore. Now the establishments of both parties are trying to ram the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) down our throats, which means even more job losses and reduced US sovereignty. Trump has called them out on it.
And that resentment shows up in national polls. Looking back over the past several years, Congress ratings have been in the basement — roughly 17%. The last thing most Americans want these days is more of the same. Trump definitely isn’t more of the same.
Now, he might never be able to live up to his promises if elected. But if Hillary’s elected, it’ll almost certainly be more of the same.
That also explained much of Bernie Sanders’ appeal. And the recently leaked emails prove how the Democratic Party establishment conspired against him. Whether Trump would be able to deliver on his rhetoric if elected is another story, of course. But the establishment doesn’t want to find out.
Hillary Clinton supported the TPP. Of course, since she’s seen how Trump has made political hay by opposing it, now she’s also against it. That is, until she’s president and falls back into line with the crony corporate capitalists who pay her bills.
But it’s not just the political establishment that’s against Trump…
Many Americans are also fed up with the establishment media that is so blatant in its attempts to discredit Trump; they don’t even try to appear objective anymore. Over at Clinton News Network (CNN), for example, host Chris Cuomo recently admitted, ‘We couldn’t help her any more than we have. You know, she’s just got a free ride so far from the media and we’re the biggest ones promoting her campaign.’
And this is supposed to be an objective news source?
But it’s not just them, of course. Virtually every mainstream media outlet routinely denounces Trump, while giving a free pass to Hillary. And Americans who support Trump are sick and tired of being smeared as racists, bigots, sexists, homophobes, transphobes and all the other names that are thrown around these days.
Do some of these people exist among Trump supporters? I’m sure they do. But I believe most Trump supporters are good, decent people who are legitimately concerned about the direction their country is heading. And they believe Trump is their voice. They may turn out to be wrong, but that’s not the point. The political and media elites of both sides seem to be opposed to a large chunk of the US electorate.
The country is bitterly divided. It’s as if there are two different Americas. And this promises to be the most interesting election most people have ever seen because both candidates are recording historically high negative ratings. There’s very little middle ground.
One thing is clear: Hillary is the establishment candidate, while Trump is the anti-establishment candidate. I’m no fan of Trump, but it sure would be fun to watch the entrenched political and media establishments squirm.
Get ready for the Greatest Show on Earth: The 2016 race for the White House.
For The Daily Reckoning, Australia