The greatest trick Donald Trump pulled was convincing voters he’d be “anti-establishment.”
.. But the idea that he would do this was based on a profound misunderstanding of what the establishment actually is, and who Donald Trump is.
.. An organizational chart of Trump’s transition team shows it to be crawling with corporate lobbyists, representing such clients as Altria, Visa, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Verizon, HSBC, Pfizer, Dow Chemical, and Duke Energy. And K Street is positively salivating over all the new opportunities they’ll have to deliver goodies to their clients in the Trump era. Who could possibly have predicted such a thing?
The answer is, anyone who was paying attention.
.. No, their commitment is to be of service to that most oppressed and forgotten group of Americans, the wealthy. Trump’s tax plan would give 47 percent of its benefits to the richest one percent of taxpayers. Paul Ryan’s tax plan is even purer — it gives 76 percent of its cuts to the richest one percent in its first year, and by 2025 would feed 99.6 percent of its benefits to the top 1 percent.
.. Once that’s accomplished, Trump and the Republicans plan to either gut or completely repeal the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, the greatest wish of Wall Street bankers. Can you feel the anti-establishment wind blowing?
.. So what’s going on here? Most plainly, the voters thinking that Trump would vanquish the establishment were just marks for a con, like those who lost their life savings at Trump University. But
.. By now we should understand that while Trump is an ignorant buffoon in some ways and an outright moron in others, he’s also a savant of hatred and resentment. He not only identifies the ugliest feelings that portions of the electorate have — that’s the easy part, and all of his primary opponents knew equally well what those feelings were — he finds just the right way to reach in and goose them. And he grasped that people were ready to sign on with an attack on all sectors of established power, in Washington or anywhere else.
.. What Trump tapped into was their sense of powerlessness, that unseen forces are pulling the strings and manipulating “the system” for their own benefit. That “system” encompasses everything from politics to the economy to their local schools to culture. The system made that factory leave town. The system lets immigrants come in and speak a language other than English. Everywhere you look you’re being held down by the system.
So when Trump complained that anything that didn’t go his way meant the system was “rigged” against him, they nodded in agreement and said, “Yep, it’s rigged against me, too.”
.. He’s reckless, impulsive, vindictive, hateful, and authoritarian, and his presidency is going to be somewhere between disastrous and cataclysmic, likely in ways we can’t even imagine yet.