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The Republican Establishment Was And Is All-In On Trump

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Dave Weigel points us to yet another example of a Republican who would to anything to stand up to Donald Trump except exercise his powers as a United States Senator:

I mean, who could possibly take the Republican establishment’s posturing about Trump seriously at this point? Well…I can understand why Shakezula passed over this lightly, but I can’t get over the fact that Glenn Greenwald is still strongly committed to an insanely erroneous take on the 2016 election. Let’s start here and work backwards:

Top CIA officials openly declared war on Trump in the nation’s op-ed pages and one of their operatives (now an MSNBC favorite) was tasked with stopping him in Utah, while Time Magazine reported, just a week before the election, that “the banking industry has supported Clinton with buckets of cash . . . . what bankers most like about Clinton is that she is not Donald Trump.”

Hank Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO and George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary, went to the pages of the Washington Post in mid-2016 to shower Clinton with praise and Trump with unbridled scorn, saying what he hated most about Trump was his refusal to consider cuts in entitlement spending (in contrast, presumably, to the Democrat he was endorsing). “It doesn’t surprise me when a socialist such as Bernie Sanders sees no need to fix our entitlement programs,” the former Goldman CEO wrote. “But I find it particularly appalling that Trump, a businessman, tells us he won’t touch Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

First of all, please click through and note that the Paulson op-ed does not “shower Clinton with praise,” and indeed does not mention her at all until the last graf, when he endorses her because she’s not Donald Trump and expresses hope that this will work out OK. STOP ALL THE ASS-KISSING BUDDY!

That aside, the Deep State’s purported war on Trump during the campaign seems…pretty lame. (It’s truly a miracle that Trump survived OP-EDS from Hank Paulson, Michael Morell and Michael Hayden.) But what’s doubly hilarious is that omitted from this discussion of utter trivia that had no effect on the campaign whatsoever is…Mr. James Comey. Maybe it’s me, but if you’re discussing the alleged effects of the national security apparatus on the election, the director of the FBI making highly prejudicial comments about Clinton — including a letter implying that Clinton was a crook based on redundant emails that were quickly determined to be immaterial less than two weeks before the election — while sitting on an serious investigation into Russian attempts to influence the election seems kinda important. Particularly since unlike some random op-eds Comey’s actions almost certainly changed the outcome of the election. But, as we know, discussing any variable that might have affected the outcome of the election other than 1)Hillary Clinton’s highly neoliberal neoliberalism and 2)some highly uninfluential op-eds would be the purest McCarthyism.

Silly as all this is, the setup is even more jaw-dropping:

Whatever else there is to say about Trump, it is simply a fact that the 2016 election saw elite circles in the U.S., with very few exceptions, lining up with remarkable fervor behind his Democratic opponent.

He’s still saying this. This claim was astoundingly wrong at the time, and if anything it looks even worse after six months of Republicans doing virtually nothing about Trump because, after all, they’ve gotten a neoconfederate judge out of the deal. This claim is so utterly absurd that in the past when I’ve pointed out that Glenn believes it I’ve been accused of attacking a strawman. But, no — Glenn did and does believe that the American elite was lined up against Trump despite the fact that he had the support of the vast majority of powerful Republicans. It’s also worth nothing that while the marginal Trump voter might be a person without a college degree who harbors major resentments about America’s elites, the typical Trump voter — which is what’s relevant in this context — is an affluent or more-than-affluent white person. The idea that America’s elites were united against Trump is utterly absurd on any possible level.

How can an intelligent person imagine a political universe in which Ross Douthat and Robert Kagan are more powerful figures than Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell? It’s pretty clear that despite the ass-covering qualifications Glenn took the possibility that electing Trump would pose a major threat to the neoliberalneocon consensus that allegedly unites America’s two major political parties (which, of course, haven’t been further apart ideologically since FDR if not Reconstruction) quite seriously. If one acknowledges that not only most mainstream liberals but most powerful Republicans saw during the campaign that Trump posed no threat to the Republican establishment and indeed would advance orthodox Republican priorities in government…well, a man in Glenn’s position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous. And acknowledging that it’s the Republican Party, not a conspiracy on the part of the Deep State, that is behind Trump “abandoning” his sporadic campaign unorthodoxies would mean acknowledging the large and growing gap between the country’s parties, a gap Glenn is very strongly committed to minimizing. So here we are, with a lenghty thinkpiece based on a premise that couldn’t possibly be more wrong.

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