GOP Establishment: Enemy of the Trump Agenda
It is no secret that the Republican Party establishment — controlled as it is by its corporate donor class — vigorously opposed Donald Trump’s ascent to the Presidency. From the moment he announced his candidacy in June 2015, the GOP’s ruling globalist elite felt supremely threatened by the straight-talking New York businessman.
After all, Trump was trashing all the fundamental tenets of the same party establishment that gave Republicans such winners as Dole, McCain, and Romney. He was calling for a Border Wall which would have denied the party’s donors its steady supply of cheap labor. He condemned NAFTA-style trade deals that were deindustrializing the American heartland while enriching the donor class’ stock portfolios. And, he was committing the unforgivable heresy of questioning the entire basis of the neo-conservatives’ post-Cold War foreign policy, from unending wars in the Middle East to unquestioned support for NATO to uncontrolled anti-Russia hysteria.
Of all the enemies the anti-establishment political dish-breaker Donald Trump has faced over the last four years — from an unremittingly hostile news media to the coup-plotting Deep State operatives within the FBI and DOJ to left-wing activist federal judges to the culture-distorters in Hollyweird and the impeachment-seeking Congressional Democrats — perhaps his most damaging foes have indeed been within his own party. It can be convincingly argued that had the GOP leadership not worked so assiduously to undermine and sabotage his Presidency, Donald Trump would have enjoyed even more success than he already has.
Yet, he does have so many successes that he can point to with pride. From record low unemployment to rising wages and the return of manufacturing jobs, to a soaring stock market, energy independence, renegotiation of job-killing trade deals, originalist judicial appointments, historic criminal justice reform, and victory over ISIS. The list goes on and on.
Think of what he could have accomplished had he enjoyed the united support of his party which held Congressional majorities unmatched since the 1920s in the aftermath of the 2016 election. However, the GOP leadership in Congress was monopolized by Establishment swamp monsters like Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy in the House and Mitch McConnell in the Senate. Their first loyalty was to their corporate donors, not to the populist agenda of Donald Trump.
Illegal immigration is the classic example.
No one seriously doubts that the Republican Party elites love open borders as this policy keeps wages down and ensures plenty of inexpensive labor in the form of agricultural workers, construction workers, housekeepers, gardeners, and nannies. That’s the reason the GOP has never stopped illegal immigration despite controlling Congress between 1994 and 2006 and again between 2010 and 2018 along with twenty years of GOP Presidents from Reagan to Bush the Elder to Bush the Younger. Republicans in the Senate like John McCain and Marco Rubio were part of the “Gang of Eight” amnesty advocates. Twelve Republicans voted recently to overturn the President’s emergency declaration on border security. The GOP obviously places profits ahead of politics as uncontrolled immigration is on the cusp of cementing a demographic realignment in the U.S. that will make Republicans a permanent minority party.
When Donald Trump became President, he could have received funding for the Border Wall, if only House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had cooperated. They refused. Ryan, a shill for corporate interests, promised Trump funding for the Wall but failed to deliver. McConnell repeatedly used the excuse of the Senate’s misused filibuster rule to sit back and do nothing, despite the fact that he could have abolished the filibuster with a simple majority, party-line vote.
In fact, McConnell’s adamant refusal to touch the supposedly sacrosanct filibuster rule ( which appears nowhere in the Constitution ) except for confirming judges was the reason that much worthwhile legislation coming out of the House never went anywhere. Suddenly, sixty votes were required to get anything done legislatively. Chuck Schumer and his merry band of Democrat obstructionists were essentially given veto power over the Trump agenda by McConnell.
The repeal of Obamacare was another fiasco that has to be laid at the door of Congressional Republicans. They campaigned over and over on this signature issue, but when it was time to produce they could only lamely terminate the individual mandate and nothing else. This should surprise nobody. After all, the giant health insurers were the biggest fans of Obamacare as it forcibly corralled new customers and the Republican Party – like the Democrats – are heavily funded by insurance companies. And, again, it was RINO John McCain who sealed the doom on even a partial repeal of Obamacare with his infamous “thumbs down” in the summer of 2017.
Trade is still another issue where the GOP is at war with its own President. Donald Trump has railed against America’s mushrooming trade deficits since the 1980s. His position in favor of fair trade has never wavered. Yet, this position which elevates the needs of Main Street above the greed of Wall Street made him an even more dangerous pariah among the party elites who profit off outsourcing American jobs and factories to low-wage Third World countries. They were outraged when he cancelled TPP, slapped tariffs on China, and threatened to tear up NAFTA. There was bold talk in Congress of overturning the tariffs and withdrawing the President’s trade authority – something unheard of during the breezy “free trade” days of Clinton, Bush and Obama.
Even on foreign policy where one might expect greater unity within the President’s party, Trump has been sabotaged. The President campaigned on a non-interventionist, “America-first” platform that sought to disentangle the U.S. from perpetual war abroad and force freeloading allies like Western Europe, Japan, and South Korea to start paying the cost of their defense. Yet, even modest attempts by the President to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan and pressure NATO to pay up elicited howls of protest from the “neo-conservative” peanut gallery inside the GOP. The President was accused of abandoning our friends, empowering Russia, and groveling to dictators. The “neo-cons” have dominated the GOP foreign policy establishment since the Bush era. They are largely responsible for the catastrophic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the mindless meddling in the Libyan and Syrian civil wars and the relentless saber-rattling against Iran, and remain wedded to the wholly unConstitutional position that it is the job of the American military to police the planet. Unfortunately, a top “neo-con”—John Bolton – currently serves as the President’s National Security Advisor. A proponent of 24/7 war, Bolton is rumored to have torpedoed the recent Vietnam summit with Kim Jong Un.
As the saying goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies? President Trump must feel the same way with many of the members of his own Party. The President was elected on a populist promise to confront and take down the Washington political establishment and to unseat the permanent invisible government. Each day, he is fighting the good fight with some successes and some setbacks. Isn’t it time that the Republican Party join him, instead of working with the so-called Resistance to take him down?
Dr. James Veltmeyer is a prominent La Jolla physician voted “Top Doctor” in San Diego County in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017. Dr. Veltmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you like my commentaries and podcasts? Help me get the message out to a wider audience by making a donation today. Thank you for your support!