Do words still have meaning?
Speaking to a crowd in Las Vegas Thursday night, Donald Trump said he’d be part of the establishment if elected; a bit odd considering he’s spent the majority of his campaign portraying himself as the ultimate political outsider.
But standard rules don’t apply this election cycle. Apparently.
The abbreviated version of Trump’s remarks:
“Guys like Ted Cruz will never make a deal because he’s a strident guard. [Weird Ted Cruz impression] I told you, he’s trying to paint me as part of The Establishment and and somebody said, “Establishment,” well how come Sarah Palin just backed him?
And you know what, there’s a point at which, let’s get to be a little bit establishment, because we gotta get things done, folks, okay? Believe me, don’t worry, we’re gonna get such great deals, but at a certain point, you can’t be so strident, you can’t not get along, we gotta get along with people. You know in the old days, Ronald Reagan, and I remember it so vividly, I was a young guy, I helped Ronald Reagan, I really liked him…
…So what happens — Ronald Reagan would get along with Tip O’Neill and they’d sit down, and they’d make great deals for everybody. That’s what the country’s about, isn’t it? I mean, we can all be tough but at some point we gotta get our country back on track.”
Tip O’Neill, of course, was a Democrat.
Part of Trump’s appeal has been that he fights! like no other. I’m not sure how “but he fights!” is easily reconciled with, “let’s be part of The Establishment to make great deals!”
Also a bit rough for Trump’s status as preeminent outsider is his political donation history. He’s donated hundreds of thousands (aggregate) to Republicans and Democrats alike, but one of, if not the single largest donation? $50,000 to Kentuckians for Strong Leadership. Their sole purpose? Ensuring Mitch McConnell won re-election in 2014.
Nothing says “Not Establishment” like a big fat check to Mitch McConnell.
Trump has recently battled allegations from Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign that the Republican Establishment has ingratiated itself with Trump out of fear Cruz could be the nominee. Despite the Cruz campaign claims, there’s no evidence suggesting this to be the case.
A Washington Post article released a week ago suggested GOP donors were lining up behind Trump. The source? A former Romney fundraiser who only suggested that donors were thinking Trump might have a chance. He went on to say those same donors were actively talking to various other candidates as well. Our sources, however, say Republican donors are not lining up behind Trump. That’s it. That’s how this started.
Amazingly, that same article reported Cruz’s courtship of Republican Establishment donors including Jeb backers and former Cheney advisors. But I guess that’s not Establishment now?
In any case, The Establishment Totes Hearts Trump meme exploded into pundit fodder and countless hot takes reiterating the supposition found their way into the Internet. Then they wheeled out a 92-year-old Bob Dole to endorse Trump (sort of) and the rumor became certifiable truth. But such is the nature of politics.
And now, Trump is owning The Establishment attack, promising he will be a “little bit establishment.”
At this point, I have no clue who or what “The Establishment™” is. That name, term, slur — whatever, no longer has meaning. If anything, The Establishment™ is a shape-shifting boogieman with innumerable manifestations, all of which are meant to denote something very problematic. Or maybe not. At least not in Trump’s case.
Full Las Vegas remarks are here, as posted by Chris Enloe at The Blaze:
[h/t Leon Wolf of RedState]
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