Dr. McConnell and Mr. Trump Part III: The Reaping
Donald Trump, with Paul Ryan’s help, failed in his predictable attempt to hoodwink American conservatives with a “Repeal and Replace” healthcare solution that would neither repeal nor replace anything essential to the premise of government-run healthcare. (“Predictable”? you scoff. Yes, I predicted it repeatedly in print for a year.) Since the implosion of this none-too-clever fraud, Trump and his surrogates have been hard at work (Twitter feels like work to people with small hands) smearing, attacking, and threatening the House Freedom Caucus, who stymied the TrumpCare bill by demanding that it bear some resemblance to the promises Republicans, including Trump, have long made to their voters. Now the war against the conservative minority in Congress is becoming more focused, the threats more specific, as a highly placed Trump mouthpiece has called for a primary challenge against one of the HFC’s best known and most vocal members, Justin Amash.
For those members of the Trump cult who still can’t figured this out, or are convinced it is all part of Trump’s brilliant anti-establishment strategy, or are busy building conspiracy theories to explain how the HFC is really a secret Marxist cabal devoted to undermining Daddy Trump’s free market agenda, a quick review of well-documented facts (“fake news” in Trumpspeak) may be in order:
- The last Republican leader to oppose the Freedom Caucus en masse, and specifically to head up a Stop-Amash campaign in the Michigan primaries, was John Boehner — a fact, amusingly, that was well-documented by Breitbart, the year before Steve Bannon officially turned that outlet over to the GOP establishment in exchange for some respectable clothes and a razor;
- Throughout his career as a professional publicity-seeker and self-promoter, Donald Trump has repeatedly and clearly stated his preference for single-payer healthcare, i.e., socialized medicine — this is not a remnant of his Democrat-leaning past, as he was still defending the concept of single-payer during the Republican primaries; even during the latter stages of the primaries, when advisors had managed to tamp down his stronger pro-socialism statements, Trump was still telling George Stephanopoulos that everyone had to be covered, and that the federal government had to provide this universal coverage;
- Trump’s political donation history leaned almost entirely Democratic until he was over sixty years old;
- Since Trump’s donation pattern began to lean Republican, by far — very far — the three biggest beneficiaries of his largesse have been Karl Rove’s American Crosswords (see below), John Boehner’s Congressional Leadership Fund (see below), and the Mitch McConnell-backing PAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership (see below);
- American Crossroads is an organization dedicated to weakening grassroots conservatism (aka the Tea Party movement) by muddying the waters regarding who really represents conservative or constitutionalist interests, and backing establishment-friendly Republican candidates;
- Congressional Leadership Fund is an organization founded to support establishment milquetoast congressional candidates and thwart grassroots challenges, in order to create a Republican caucus friendly to Boehner’s style of “wine, golf, and surrender” leadership;
- Kentuckians for Strong Leadership is an organization founded in 2014, comprised largely of donors to American Crossroads, for the purpose of supporting Mitch McConnell’s Senate re-election run against Tea Party Challenger Matt Bevin;
- Trump also made hefty personal donations directly to McConnell’s campaign in 2014, and endorsed him for Senate majority leader (on Twitter, of course), even as McConnell was promising to “crush” (his word) the Tea Party;
- During the final stages of the GOP primaries in 2016, Boehner called Trump his golfing and texting buddy;
- Before the 2016 Iowa Caucus, Trump began his series of smear attacks on opponent (and Tea Party favorite) Ted Cruz by accusing him of being disrespectful to Senate leader Mitch McConnell, i.e., he sucked up to the old guard establishment (also embracing ethanol subsidies) to win their support against conservatives;
- Two of Trump’s earliest appointments to his presidential cabinet were RNC Chairman Reince Priebus — the official front man for the Republican wing of the Washington establishment itself — and Elaine Chao, the wife of Mitch McConnell;
- During the 2012 GOP primaries, Trump endorsed Mitt Romney, the establishment’s tailor-made candidate;
- During the latter stages of the 2016 primaries, Trump said repeatedly that he didn’t need the support of constitutional conservatives, and would win without them;
- When Trump’s top fashion advisor Steve Bannon was sent in to “negotiate” with the HFC during the final stages of the healthcare debacle, his first words to them were, “Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill” — i.e., a strong-arm threat, seething with disdain and disrespect;
That’s a brief overview of Trump’s history as a rabid and consistent supporter of the Washington establishment against constitutionalists, Tea Partyers, grassroots conservatives, call them what you will. Now Trump’s “social media guru” has taken to Daddy’s favorite platform, Twitter, to begin a White House-led process of seeking to oust all grassroots constitutionalists from the ranks of elected Republicans in Washington.
This is apparently what Trump meant by “draining the swamp.” He is going to drain it of any hint of a principled defense of America as founded, in favor of a purified progressive Republican establishment more in line with his own New York values, his lifelong associations, the Democrat liberalism of his closest political advisors (Ivanka and Jared), and his long-term, frequently-revealed, money-where-your-mouth-is hatred of conservatives.
The only question is whether his cultists will wake up before their mass suicide is complete. Given the nature of cults, and what these same people have already been willing to walk through blindly for their idol, I have to conclude that the prospect is bleak.