The Corner

Politics & Policy

Trump, Rush, and the Establishment

Rush said yesterday that the Republican establishment is preparing to vote for Hillary to protect its “fiefdoms” from Trump. This doesn’t make sense to me. Yes, a lot of people in the establishment oppose Trump, but this is largely because they believe Trump will lose to Hillary, and perhaps badly. Since all the polling data at this moment suggest that this is exactly what would happen, this isn’t a far-fetched fear.

As for Trump destroying fiefdoms in Washington, there is no doubt that he is highly unpredictable and that he is over-throwing conservatism as we have known it for decades, but it’s not as though he’s going to show up in Washington and all the lobbying shops and law firms are going to disappear. In fact, Trump is much less of a threat to the Washington status quo than a conservative like Cruz is, since Trump is not promising to reduce the size of the federal government or significantly reform it, only to run it better and cut smarter deals. This is what the stereotypical Washington establishment exists to do.

It’s notable in this connection that Trump has tapped a lobbyist’s lobbyist, Paul Manafort, to stabilize his campaign. There will be more where that came from if he’s the nominee, since he is evidently not liquid or rich enough to fund his own general-election campaign.

At this juncture, it looks like the fiefdoms that Trump would most threaten if he gets the nomination will be the Republican majorities in the Senate and the House, which is only a good thing if you believe that neither Mitch McConnell nor any other Republican should be Senate majority leader, and that neither Paul Ryan nor any other Republican should be Speaker of the House. This would indeed be a blow to the Republican establishment, although a perverse one. (Rush addressed my comments on all of this on Fox earlier on his program today.) 

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