The joke’s on you, Trump supporters. You thought you took over the Republican Party when you nominated an erratic theoretical billionaire and reality show star to tear down the walls of political correctness and “be your voice” in Washington. Well, a funny thing happened when Donald Trump’s poll numbers collapsed.
He has now adopted every retread economic proposal the GOP establishment—the guys Trump voters so despise—has been hawking for decades. Trump is now selling their wares like discount Trump Steaks.
His team of 13 economic advisers (six of them named Steve) reads like a CNBC credit roll. It’s replete with multi-million dollar donors to his campaign—oh wait, you didn’t know he had multimillion dollar donors? You thought he was self-funding? Well about that… The Trump team is light on actual economists (there are none) but heavy on Wall Street titans, energy magnates and hedge fund guys you’d expect to be backing Marco Rubio or Jeb!. He’s even got a guy, John Paulson, who made a killing on middle-class families’ failing mortgages in the Great Recession.
Far from offering something new that could rescue the white working class and restore their life chances, Trump is rolling with a bunch of Calvin Coolidge bluebloods who probably wouldn’t wipe their noses on a blue-collar worker, let alone have any interest in restoring the solid, middle-class jobs they used to count on, back when unions still had strength in the manufacturing world and the New Deal mostly helped people like them. Erect big trade barriers and resurrect the American steel industry? Who’s going to lead that initiative in the Trump administration? Cerebrus Capital Management CEO Stephen Feinberg or billionaire poker player Andy Beal? Good luck with that, Sheboygan.
It’s no real surprise that Trump, the scion of a wealthy father who has stiffed so many U.S. banks none of them will do business with him anymore, leaving him to borrow money from Credit Suisse and the Russians, may have pulled the ultimate con: charming the working stiffs while the monocled Monopoly Men hid in the background, waiting to be broken out of CryoFreeze and put back in charge of the economy.
Who would have thought that the entire last year of crazy—the insane rants, the Twitter beefs, the misogyny, the attacks on a Gold Star family, the “ooh look! A Purple Heart for me!” foolishness, and on and on, were just a set-up for Trump to use his quirk and celebrity to sell the Paul Ryan budget? We’ve all thought that Ryan was Trump’s stooge. Maybe it’s the other way around.
With his heavily scripted, TelePrompTer-read Detroit speech on Monday, Trump has now officially taken on board all the old canards of trickle-down economics, complete with deep tax cuts for the super rich and big corporations, an end to the estate tax, which would enable the children of the super wealthy, including his own kids, to inherit Gilded Age gobs of tax-free cash, and deregulation of all the big polluting industries, from coal to oil and gas. And what would the average American get out of any of this? The satisfaction of keeping Her out of the White House, I suppose.
The funniest part is that Trump pitching the same old blue plate special that’s been hawked by the hated “Republican establishment” for 30 years. Warmed over by Mr. Combover, I guess it counts as “message discipline” among the Beltway press. No one even seems to notice that Trump has given up his outsider street cred by pledging to “work with House Republicans” to pass Ryan’s Gilded Age agenda, which his colleagues have voted on countless times, but whose cruelty to the poor and vows to voucherize Medicare have made it unpopular even with Republican voters.
So surprise, working-class white people. You thought picking Trump was your way of sticking it to the establishment? Apparently, the establishment has decided that you’ve had your fun, and now, they’re taking control of the Trump campaign.
Do enjoy the “pivot.”