Why does the establishment hate Trump so much?

Another day, another plan to stop Donald Trump is reported in the news, along with criticisms of such moves. I have stopped paying much attention to these reports as they have become so numerous as Trump continues to inexorably increase his lead among delegates for the nomination. This is mainly because these plots never address the crucial end-game: If they do manage to stop Trump, then who becomes the nominee and how do they prevent Trump’s supporters from revolting at what would essentially be a coup by party insiders against them?

But what I have been interested in is the underlying political dynamics that are being revealed by Trump’s role in the race.

The basic model of American political system is oligarchical control whereby you have essentially a pro-war, pro-business one-party system with two factions (the Republicans and Democrats) that differ mainly on social issues. On economic issues, Democrats tend to throw more crumbs to the poor and minorities while protecting the interests of the wealthy. The Clintons are the masters at playing this game.

The economic crumbs that the Republicans throw out to their base are less tangible and more built on creating grievances, suggesting to them that it is their hard-earned money that is being taken away from them and going towards paying for the crumbs given by the Democrats to the poor and minorities

Trump is a rich person. He clearly likes being rich, is not embarrassed by displays of wealth, and indeed flaunts it at every opportunity. There is not the remotest chance that he would be a class traitor, someone who would act against the basic interests of the oligarchic class of which he is a member. In his many confusing and contradictory utterances while running, he has not proposed anything that could be construed as a serious attack on the oligarchy the way that Bernie Sanders has.

So why do they hate him so much that they seem to spend all their time trying to find ways to stop him getting the Republican nomination? If cannot be that his incessant boasting, his grandiose promises, and his flaunting of wealth is too gauche for them. This is a class for whom multiple luxury homes and private yachts and jets are considered basic necessities of life. We all remember Mitt Romney and his plans to build a car elevator for one of his mansions. We remember John McCain not being able to recall exactly how many homes he owned. The Bushes have long acted like they are royalty. So why the almost visceral distaste for Trump?

The only reason I can think of is stability and control. The global oligarchy desires stable political systems that give them carte blanche for the free flow of capital and goods across the globe. This is why they are perfectly comfortable with dictatorships because those leaders can promise them just that, without the pesky will of the people intruding. Look at how they have eagerly embraced the coup by the Egyptian military and love the Saudi Arabian government which has to be one of the worst despotic regimes in the world. In their world, any government, big or small, that has the temerity to challenge their dominance has to be crushed even if it creates chaos and untold misery for their people as we have seen in Iran, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Iraq, Libya Syria and other countries too numerous to name. This class views the powerful US military the way that Mafia bosses view their goons, the means by which they terrorize anyone who crosses them and thus ensure docility and compliance. “Nice country you got here. Too bad if something should happen to it.”

But Trump is someone whom they likely feel they cannot control. He is unpredictable, saying one thing today and another tomorrow. He does not seem to revere the free flow of capital and goods the way they do and freely promises to use tariffs as a policy tool. He cannot be depended upon to have the same global enemies that they have and his belief that he can make deals with anyone must be alarming for those who view the world in Manichaean terms.

What is worse is that while his class interests are aligned with theirs, he is also less likely to take the advice of the ‘elders’, the permanent class of insiders who stock the political, business, and media establishment and make sure that, whatever government is in power, the pro-war, pro-business interests are protected. So in their view, Trump must be stopped at all costs.

So a bipartisan cabal of insiders who have long got used to rotating among themselves the positions of power in Washington while the same basic policies continue unchanged suddenly find their sinecures threatened by someone who does not know them and, what is worse, does not seem to want to know them or even respect them. Hell hath no fury like an entrenched political class scorned, and so Trump must be stopped.


  1. doublereed says

    I also don’t think they like him simply because he is crass and vulgar. Elites don’t like crass and vulgar. They like fine wine and crumpets and such.

    To their credit, I also don’t think they like threats of riots and violence. Oligarchs may not care if cops commit violence against the plebs, but this is violence from ordinary folk.

  2. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    The hate may have a more personal source. When a Prez gets elected, the new administration jobs will be given to those who worked in the campaign. (Competence doesn’t matter -- you can nominate a horse trader to run FEMA.) Biggest donors will become ambassadors in their chosen countries.
    With Trump that will cause problems. Since he runs his own operation that is largely independent of the Party, the establishment insiders won’t be getting any juicy nominations. They might even loose their grip of power.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    I gotta feel a little sympathy for “John McCain not being able to recall exactly how many homes he owned.”

    F’rinstance, he and Mrs McC (who has most of the $ in the family) bought a pair of adjoining condo units and knocked out a wall or two to make them a single residence: does that count as one home or two? And they have a rural place near Sedona, AZ with some guest cabins -- do each of those count? Do they have properties in one of their names but not both? If he gives the wrong answer, possibly various tax or code consequences ensue.

    The real elite, whose bottom margins Trump lives in, Romney can only dream of, and Bushes occasionally visit for social dinners,, don’t have such bookkeeping problems. Trump does present to them the sort of inconvenience that our esteemed host outlines above, but they have well-established solutions for that as well.

    I wonder if Trump has a food-taster on staff?

  4. mnb0 says

    “So why do they hate him so much?”
    Trump is nouveau riche.


    “the man or woman who previously had belonged to a lower social class and economic stratum”
    Of course this rather applies to The Donald’s father, but the rift is the same. The Donald doesn’t try to get accepted by the old money. His language rather suggests (and it should be noted that it’s mainly suggestion) a connection with the lower social classes.
    But nouveau riche in the end always gets accepted by old money, even if grudgingly. President The Donald may become a disaster for the USA and the world, not for the GOP. Socio-political elites have appeased populists more radical than The Donald. Their dislike of the corporal from Austria didn’t prevent Krupp and IG-Farben to do business with him.

  5. says

    he has not proposed anything that could be construed as a serious attack on the oligarchy the way that Bernie Sanders has

    Sanders hasn’t proposed a serious attack on the oligarchy. I don’t think anyone has done that since Huey Long.

    They’re just pissed that a parvenu court jester isn’t staying in his proper place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *