Why is it a good thing that Trump is tilting at the Establishment?
Scot Faulkner, who served on President Reagan’s White House staff, explains at Townhall:
Why does The Washington Establishment hate Donald Trump? It is not because of his positions on immigration or trade. …
Trump has declared war on The Establishment itself. In his June 16, 2015 Presidential announcement he asserted:
So I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life…. They will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They’re controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors, and by the special interests. … It’s destroying our country. We have to stop them, and it has to stop now.
So in a nutshell, The Washington Establishment has a visceral hatred for Donald Trump, because he promises to put their system out of business.
The Washington Establishment sees Trump as serious about them being the primary impediment to making America “great again.” He sees The Establishment as lining their pockets, and their friends’ pockets – as beneficiaries of the status quo. As long as nothing changes, The Establishment will have their mansions, limousines, VIP tables and ego trips.
There is much at stake.
Think of Washington, DC as a mass of “cookie jars”, each containing delicious treats. There are those who control the cookie jars, those who want the cookie jars, and those who can get the cookie jars. Officially, these treats are distributed based on legislative mandates, open competition, and documented needs.
In fact, the treats are almost always handed out to friends, and friends of friends. Friends can be purchased. Friends help friends get reelected, and gain power, and get treats. It is Washington, DC’s “golden rule” – those with the gold rule.
Welcome to “crony capitalism”. … The term “lobbyist” came from favor seekers hanging out in the lobby of Washington, DC’s Willard Hotel during the Grant Administration in the 1870s.
In 1905, George Washington Plunkett, a ward boss in the Tammany Hall political machine, coined what could be the motto of Washington, DC: “What is the Constitution among friends?”
Today, things have gotten way out of hand. Spending for Washington lobbyists has tripled since 1998 to over $3.22 billion a year. Favor seekers spend $24 million on lobbyists each day Congress is in session.
Campaign fundraising is another dimension of how The Establishment stays in power. Over $750 million has been raised for House races and $520 million for Senate races this election cycle. Leaders of Political Action Committees (PACs), and individual bundlers who raise funds, dominate this ultimate game of “pay for play”.
Those brokering power become gatekeepers for funding and favors throughout the Federal Government. This power comes from a truism overlooked by everyone in the media: all discretionary federal money is earmarked. The popular myth is that earmarks vanished once the Republicans banned them when they returned to power in 2011. Campaign fundraising is another dimension of how The Establishment stays in power. Over $750 million has been raised for House races and $520 million for Senate races this election cycle. Leaders of Political Action Committees (PACs), and individual bundlers who raise funds, dominate this ultimate game of “pay for play”.
Favorites can be based on institutional, administration and ideological biases. Favoritism can also go to the highest bidder. This is federal money flowing out the door as grants, programs, contracts, buildings, leases and employment.
Other “treats” to be dispensed include regulatory relief, tax waivers and subsidies.
Favoritism is rarely purchased with money directly changing hands; that kind of corruption occurs more in state and local government. Washington level corruption is true “quid pro quo”.
The Washington Establishment swaps favors more insidiously. How many times does a military officer get a major position with a defense contractor years after he favored them with a multi-million dollar contract? A Reagan aide granted a building height waiver near the White House and his salary quadrupled when he’s hired by the developer.
Grant and contract officers obtain slots at prestigious colleges and prep schools for their children for making the “right” choices or being a little lax on oversight.
Trump promises to smash the cookie jars and end the reign of The Establishment.
Normal Americans are rallying around Trump. They are enraged at the lies and duplicity of those in power. Many see a reason to vote for the first time since Reagan. They want November 8, 2016 to be America’s “Bastille Day”, marking the end of Washington, DC’s arrogant and unaccountable ruling class. Billions of dollars are at stake. Perks, prestige and power are at stake. The future of representative government is at stake. Is it any wonder that The Establishment is doing everything and anything to stop Trump?
It would be good if President Trump makes it harder for the payers to play.
But could he stop the game?
Could anyone or anything stop it?
A smaller government would be more observable (or “transparent”). But how much is the federal government likely to shrink even if the legislative branch is Republican-led and the executive branch is headed by a reformist-minded Trump?
Can government ever be clean of all corruption?
Maybe the best that can be done is to keep the corrupt and their corrupters afraid. And the Clintons out of the higher echelons of power – 0r, better still, in prison.