The political establishment is both terrified of President Trump and helpless in the onslaught of his attacks precisely because he is an individual exhibiting charisma, force of personality, and determination – all traits which are anathema to the mediocrity championed by the establishment.
In 1976, charismatic ex-movie star and former California governor Ronald Reagan challenged monotonous President Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination only to be denied by the GOP establishment resting its hopes on Ford translating his inherited presidential role into voter affirmation. President Ford had been thrust into office with the resignation of Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal after having come to the vice presidency on the resignation of Spiro Agnew over a bribery scandal. Ford was an affable enough fellow, but the scandal of Watergate was too great for a congenial politician to overcome, and it turned out to be a stroke of luck that Reagan was shut out of the nomination that year.
Four years later, having bested establishment candidate George Bush in the GOP primaries, Reagan squared off against a folksy Jimmy Carter whose toothy grin and pious manner had come to grate on Americans suffering from recession, energy crises, and stagflation. Reagan’s confidence inspired voters to trust him with turning around America’s fortunes, and Reagan was more than up to the job. Reagan was not an establishment favorite, and he often butted heads with congressional Republicans, but there was little doubt his policies were exactly the right prescription for rejuvenating the American economy and rebuilding American prestige around the world.
Riding Reagan’s coattails in 1992, George Bush sailed into the White House only to make a mess of his tenure by allowing congressional Democrats to trap him into breaking his infamous “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge and coming off as entirely out of touch with Americans with his politically tone deaf trip to the shopping mall to buy a pair of tube socks and professing wonder over the sales scanner with which Americans were long familiar. The much more charismatic and politically savvy Bill Clinton had no trouble defeating Bush in 1992 with his constant slogan “It’s the economy, stupid” reminding voters of Bush’s inability to connect with Americans and “feel their pain.”
2000 saw a battle of establishment politicians as Clinton’s wooden Vice President Al Gore, robotically taking credit for inventing everything from fire to the Internet, took on George W. Bush into whom the GOP had poured a massive amount of cash to ensure their uninspiring candidate defeated the Democrats’ uninspiring candidate. Bush narrowly hung on in 2004 facing another establishment Democrat candidate in John Kerry whose campaign was promptly sunk by the Swift Boaters who outed Kerry’s embellished war record.
Fearing a repeat of 2000 and 2004, Democrats bypassed Hillary Clinton in favor of little known Illinois Senator Barack Obama whom they had been grooming for years and presented as a blank canvas onto which voters were encouraged to project their fantasies of a president. The establishment GOP stuck to promoting their next-in-line candidate John McCain whose hapless campaign fared even worse than Bob Dole in 1996 as McCain seemingly did everything in his power to lose the election to a man with a Muslim-sounding name even as America was at war with Muslim terrorists. As part of what could only be a desire to torpedo his own campaign, McCain selected little known Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who turned out to be a conservative bright spot with her straightforward attitude and bold conservative approach.
Following President Obama’s adoption of the failed leftist economic policies of John Maynard Keynes which sank America much deeper into recession than the economic crisis of 2008 warranted, establishment GOP candidate Mitt Romney should have easily dispatched President Obama in 2012, but his unwillingness to engage in a street brawl with Obama who hailed from the bare knuckles political world of Chicago left him defeated and conservatives dejected.
TEA Party conservatives, tired of watching the establishment GOP leadership nominate uninspiring candidates, began to fight back in 2012 by challenging establishment GOP candidates on the congressional level. This first attempt garnered some success, but was marred with the selection of conservative candidates who came from the establishment GOP fold and proved to be susceptible to liberal media gotcha attacks. Both Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana fell victim to media ambushes involving the abortion issue with their establishment attempts to answer gotcha questions without offending any voter, as if such an answer was even possible. Both went on to lose their respective Senate elections as the establishment GOP immediately lambasted both as inexperienced and unwinnable TEA Party candidates despite the fact that Akin was a six-term Missouri congressman who was the establishment candidate in the race and Mourdock was the Indiana State Treasurer.
TEA Party conservatives helped the GOP gain control of the Senate in 2014 with TEA Party standouts Tom Cotton in Arkansas and Joni Ernst in Iowa being elected as relative political newcomers. TEA Party candidates resonated with voters despite the establishment GOP leadership declaring open war on the TEA Party in spite of all the hard work its members had done to help the GOP regain control of Congress. Fearful of the TEA Party movement’s consolidation of conservative power to directly challenge its hold on the GOP, establishment leaders refused support to TEA Party candidates in favor of their own handpicked candidates and portrayed the TEA Party in a derogatory manner in the media.
Americans’ disgust with the GOP establishment culminated in the 2016 election as Republicans flocked to the charismatic campaign of Donald Trump while openly mocking establishment candidate Jeb Bush. As Bush’s candidacy quickly sank, the establishment was forced to jump from one remaining candidate to the next as voters continued to view the establishment’s blessing as the kiss of death until Trump was the only candidate remaining. Faced with Trump as the GOP nominee, a host of establishment Republicans banded together in a makeshift Never Trump movement to denounce their nominee in open warfare against the conservative base of the GOP. Despite their traitorous efforts, Trump was elected president by Americans disgusted with establishment politics that ignored their voice while catering to the wishes of globalist elites. The hypocrisy of the Never Trump traitors was further revealed as many sought positions in the Trump administration after vowing to never do so prior to the election.
Donald Trump inspired Americans precisely because he refused to adhere to the establishment political script which called for mediocrity intended to minimize voter offense. This mediocrity has been ingrained in the GOP since the ‘90s when Newt Gingrich, a rather charismatic House Speaker who cobbled together the Contract With America which saw Republicans assume control of the House for the first time in forty years, was blamed by President Clinton and a complicit media for shutting down the government in a portrayal that presumed shutting down the government was a horrible offense. Skittish Republicans became convinced by the duplicitous media that their only hope of remaining in office lay with an apology tour and rejection of conservatism as an extreme political position. Gullible Republicans swallowed this lie and retreated into timidity and mediocrity in the face of withering media attacks launched against any Republican daring to step outside media prescribed zones of comfort.
Over the intervening years, Republican leaders have ingrained the mediocrity of establishment thinking into all aspects of the party and coached their candidates on delivering mediocre answers to media questions they hope will offend as few voters as possible by renouncing what the media has defined as extremist conservative thinking. Meanwhile, Americans have watched these establishment politicians quietly sell them out to corporatist elites pushing a globalist agenda that leaves ordinary Americans unemployed with few prospects and little hope. This mediocre establishment thinking has so pervaded the party that its members dare not stand up to fight for the conservative principles upon which the party was founded and with which it prospered.
It was precisely this establishment mediocrity that was responsible for the demise of promising conservative candidates such as Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, both of whom should have handily won their Senate elections but succumbed to the inability to spot the classic media abortion ambush trained as they were in formulating a mediocre non-offensive answer instead of acutely spotting the media ambush set before them. Newt Gingrich was lauded by his ability to spot media ambushes and call them out in the 2012 GOP debates, but the media failed to account for his tactics and Donald Trump was able to incorporate Gingrich’s strategy into his labeling of the media as fake news to effectively neuter their ability to affect his campaign.
Having rested far too long on their ability to terrorize timid Republicans with a few effective tactics such as use of the racist label to shut down effective conservative debate, employing the media terror campaign of placing the lives of conservatives under a microscope to thrust the most minor of incidents into the full glare of public scrutiny, and the promotion of liberal astroturf groups campaigning vociferously against conservatives to make it appear as if the entire country was coming after them, the media became lazy and susceptible to an effective counter by a politician able to withstand and shrug off their attacks. In was the inability of the media to envision that such a politician existed which led to the rise of Donald Trump and his exposure of the biased and corrupt media as purveyors of fake news.
Over the years, Donald Trump has mastered the ability to manipulate social media and fame to his advantage and become quite media savvy in the process. It was his innate understanding of the media which provided his insight that media attacks lasted about a week before the media moved on to other topics for fear of boring the public. This insight proved to be prescient with his survival of the media firestorm which erupted upon his comments against illegal immigrants during his announcement as a candidate for the GOP nomination. After about a week, the narrative shifted from the media firestorm over his comments to the actual issue of illegal immigration and its perverse effect on the American economy. Much to the dismay of the political establishment, uncontrolled illegal immigration was thus thrust into the forefront of issues in the 2016 election as Americans rallied to the candidate finally echoing their concerns.
Trump was able to rise above the sizable collection of GOP candidates because their establishment mediocrity condemned them to political oblivion while Trump’s charismatic persona and disregard for the censorship of political correctness endeared him to voters longing to stick it to the establishment class pointedly ignoring their concerns. The more the establishment GOP leadership implored voters to resist Trump in favor of their handpicked candidates, the more conservatives relished in Trump’s primary victories, savoring each win as a knife in the heart of the establishment mediocrity which had ignored them for far too long.
Trump’s march to the Oval Office shares much with the struggle of Howard Roark against the architecture establishment in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Both are individualists bent on success on their own terms against entrenched establishment interests fearing the loss of their power on confronting disruption to their traditional ways of doing business. Rand is a conservative hero for her promotion of individualism over the collective with its stultifying mediocrity and slavish devotion to group obedience. The individualist soars to dizzying new heights following a dream while the vast majority are imprisoned in collectivist cells of mediocrity forced to pay homage to the insipid regurgitation of past themes by those whose only claim to respect lies in their ability to rise through the ranks constantly displaying obsequiousness to their superiors.
How many of us have had to quietly bite our tongues listening to a boss proclaim their latest insight obvious to anyone but themselves while admiring the ability of an Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos to succeed on multiple fronts and imagining ourselves doing the same if only we’d had the chance? Slaves are made in more ways than literally being in chains, and it is this fact which so animates conservatives against the collectivist slavery of communist systems which drive everyone to the lowest common denominator instead of allowing anyone to soar like the free enterprise system. The vast majority of people are mediocre creatures cursed with an inability to succeed who transfer their feelings of angst onto others around them by frustrating their attempts to break free and rise above the collective. The left embraces collectivist thought because its ranks are filled with these mediocre creatures who wish to frustrate the ability of others to succeed and are supported by elites wishing to preserve the exclusiveness of their lofty perches by closing off avenues of approach.
The establishment GOP leadership gravitates to support of the left despite supposedly being its natural opposition because it also wishes to preserve its grasp on power. This is why the GOP leadership is willing to engage in open warfare with its conservative base. The GOP leadership is not committed to conservatism but merely sees conservatism as a means to the end of amassing power and preserving their hold over this power. An establishment is nothing more than a collective and collectives are the same the world over in that their leaders hold power and privilege while their members are forced into the slavery of obedience. This is true regardless of whether the collective in question is the Republican Party or any of the leftist movements funded by George Soros such as Black Lives Matter or MoveOn.