We read over and over again how Donald J. Trump is running a campaign against “the establishment” in the Republican Party. The term sounds horrible and dangerous. But when you seriously think about it, the Republican Party “establishment” has one purpose—to maintain the party as a viable opposition vehicle to the plans of the Democratic Party. This is what a two-party political system should be about. Without two major political parties, America’s democratic form of government collapses and the United States becomes a socialist one-party state. The Trump candidacy threatens to destroy the two-party system.
Trump and his allies have made the term “establishment” into a dirty word. But Trump, an outsider with a history of supporting the other party, is trying to stage a hostile takeover of the GOP. The apparent plan is to make the Republican Party into a carbon copy of the European far-right “populist” parties that serve Russian interests. Some of these, like the National Front of France, are Russian-funded.
Interestingly, Donald J. Trump has a cordial relationship with the Moscow establishment headed by Vladimir Putin, but despises the Republican establishment in the U.S. For example, Trump has nothing but contempt for Mitt Romney, who ran against President Obama in 2012. For all his faults, Romney at least recognized the dangers posed by Russia. By contrast, Trump talks about a strategic alliance with Putin.
Putin’s network of shell companies and tax havens has recently been exposed in the so-called Panama Papers as a method by which he protects billions of dollars in personal wealth. One has to wonder whether Putin also maintains a global network of agents and sympathizers to make sure the Free World wilts in the face of Russian military aggression in Europe and the Middle East. One would have to be naïve to think no such network exists. Indeed, Trump is clearly a part of it, for he attacks NATO and various U.S. allies, including South Korea and Japan, and receives the open support of the Kremlin and its agents. Foreign intervention in an American presidential campaign has never been this blatant.
Supporters of Trump, who despise the Republican Party establishment, don’t like to talk about Trump’s ties to the Moscow establishment. This blindness has made it possible for Putin to strike gold, in the geopolitical sense, through Trump’s success in the Republican Party. It’s Trump’s foreign policy vision, such as it is, that could mean the demise of the Republican Party as a political vehicle for those who offer a realistic analysis of the military dangers posed by Russia and China. It’s true that Trump talks about China, in the sense that its economic power is a threat, but he is mute on the Russia-China military alliance in foreign affairs and the threat that it poses.
It is significant that Trump gets along better with Putin and his comrades than with “fellow” Republicans. That could be because he has mostly been a Democrat throughout his business career and has sought business deals in the former USSR and Russia. He calls Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and others in the GOP the worst of names, including liar, and yet Putin is considered by Trump to be a strong leader doing a good job for Russia. Trump even apologizes for the regime’s murder of journalists and political dissidents.
Nobody likes an establishment that ignores the will of the people. But a political party establishment that is American in character, and is determined to maintain the Republican Party as a vehicle for Reagan-style conservatism, is far preferable to Moscow manipulating a U.S. presidential candidate.
The establishment has a lot to answer for, including a failure to impeach Obama for actions that would have forced the resignation of a Republican president. Equally serious, however, the so-called Republican establishment has not been able to stop Trump, in part because Democrats sick of bad trade deals and lax immigration policies are flooding into Republican primaries to vote for him. This can be interpreted as a sign of political strength by Trump, but it can also be seen as an indication that Trump is a sure loser in the general election campaign because he turns off so many Republican voters who prefer a thoughtful candidate with authentic conservative views across the board.
Trump’s loss in Wisconsin, the home of a conservative governor who backed Cruz and has a record of success in beating the Democrats, may be interpreted by some as a win by the “establishment.” But Scott Walker is a real conservative who has beaten the liberals and the leftists. If he represents the establishment, most Republicans would want more of it.
It also seems clear that the Democrats would love to run against Trump, since Trump activates the Democratic Party left-wing political base. The same left-wingers who elected Obama are mobilizing against Trump. They also mobilized against Walker in Wisconsin, but Walker beat them three times. The polls indicate that Trump could not beat them, and would likely trigger Republican losses in the House and Senate.
On the Democratic side, Sanders represents an attempted hostile takeover of the party. Sanders wasn’t a Democrat until he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. He was a life-long independent who says he ran as a Democrat to get more media coverage.
But despite Mrs. Clinton’s losses, the party establishment is still in control. The bosses rigged a system of “superdelegates” to make sure the establishment’s favorite candidate ultimately prevails. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will fall in line and back Clinton as the nominee. The Democratic Party will come out of the convention united against Republicans.
There are no “superdelegates” in the Republican Party that have the kind of power we see in the Democratic Party. So the “party bosses” in the GOP have to treat fairly any candidate who claims to be a Republican and seeks the nomination.
Trump claims to be a Republican, but his campaign of personal destruction against his opponents strongly suggests he’s doing the work of those in the Democratic Party who would like to see the GOP hopelessly divided in November. Ironically, Trump’s new book is about a “crippled America,” when he has almost single-handedly crippled the Republican Party with his attacks and threats.
The conduct is continuing. After his loss to Senator Cruz in the Wisconsin presidential primary, Trump’s campaign issued a statement saying that Cruz is “worse than a puppet” and a “Trojan horse” for “party bosses.” He would never say such nasty things about Putin. Indeed, the evidence suggests that the Trump campaign has deep links to the Moscow establishment, headed by Putin.
The latest evidence of the Trump campaign’s links to Moscow came in the disclosure that a little-known foreign policy adviser by the name of Carter Page is advising Trump. Analyst Trevor Loudon describes him as “a globe-trotting 44-year-old American investment banker” who has built a career on deals with Russia and its state-run gas company.
Another analyst, Robert Zubrin, describes Carter Page as a “Putinite.” Zubrin adds, “Other noteworthy Putinite Trump supporters include Alexander Dugin, the chief composer of the Kremlin’s new ideological synthesis of Communism and fascism, and its leading organizer of pro-Moscow fifth-column movements in the West.”
Zubrin’s devastating piece concludes, “Trump has earned the enthusiastic endorsement of the Putin chorus because he promises to gut NATO, thereby enabling Russian domination of Europe. The crafty Vladimir Lenin once termed Western dupes who helped the Kremlin achieve its strategic goals ‘useful idiots.’ Whatever one might say of Vladimir Putin, he also is undoubtedly a skilled assessor of men. So there should be no doubt about it. Trump is indeed an outstanding and talented personality—for a useful idiot.”
Over on the political left, The Huffington Post has published an interesting piece, “A Trump Endorsement From Russia With Love,” which marks a striking departure from previous efforts by the publication to mock and ridicule Trump. The author, a writer named Dustin DeMoss, emphasizes Dugin’s support for Trump and how the Russian thinker has outlined plans for a Eurasian empire led by Russia that will come to dominate the world and triumph over the “dark forces” of the United States and Europe. DeMoss wonders whether the Russians support Trump because they want to see political conflict in the United States.
It’s too late to avoid the conflict we see taking place. Either Trump gets the nomination and divides the party, or he loses the nomination and divides the party. It seems like a lose-lose situation for the GOP. The likely winners in November are the Democratic Party headed by Hillary Clinton, and the Moscow establishment headed by Putin.
If this is the case, then conservatives should be wondering not if the Republican establishment has been too heavy-handed with Trump, but whether party leaders should have acted against him sooner.