Somewhere between disastrous and cataclysmic

Paul Waldman at the Washington Post underlines the obvious: if you think Trump is going to do away with “the establishment,” you’re smoking something.

This was near the heart of Trump’s appeal to the disaffected and disempowered: Send me to Washington, and that “establishment” you’ve been hearing so much about? We’ll blow it up, send it packing, punch it right in the face, and when it’s over the government will finally be working for you again. And the people who voted for Trump bought it. After all, he’s no politician, right? He’s an outsider, a glass-breaker, a guy who can cut out the bull and get things done. Right?

But the idea that he would do this was based on a profound misunderstanding of what the establishment actually is, and who Donald Trump is.

An organizational chart of Trump’s transition team shows it to be crawling with corporate lobbyists, representing such clients as Altria, Visa, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Verizon, HSBC, Pfizer, Dow Chemical, and Duke Energy. And K Street is positively salivating over all the new opportunities they’ll have to deliver goodies to their clients in the Trump era. Who could possibly have predicted such a thing?

Everyone. Absolutely everyone. Mr Rich Guy favors policies that help rich guys; stop the presses!

What are the priorities Trump and the Republican Congress will be pursuing right out of the gate? There’s the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, of course. “Take that, establishment!”, 20 million people can say when they lose their health coverage. Next on the list is that eternal Republican priority, cutting taxes. If you’re waiting for your fat rebate from the government once the establishment has been sent packing, you’re in for a shock. It won’t actually be Trump’s plan precisely that will pass Congress and he’ll sign, it will be some combination of what he wanted and what congressional Republicans want. But the two share a driving principle in common, and you may want to sit down while I tell you that helping regular folks is most definitely not it.

No, their commitment is to be of service to that most oppressed and forgotten group of Americans, the wealthy. Trump’s tax plan would give 47 percent of its benefits to the richest one percent of taxpayers. Paul Ryan’s tax plan is even purer — it gives 76 percent of its cuts to the richest one percent in its first year, and by 2025 would feed 99.6 percent of its benefits to the top 1 percent.

One in the eye for those establishment types, right? Making the obscenely rich even richer; that’s how it’s done.

Now to be clear, the fact that in some ways — hiring lobbyists, cutting taxes for the wealthy, gutting regulations — Trump is going to be little different from any other Republican president doesn’t mean that he isn’t uniquely dangerous. He’s reckless, impulsive, vindictive, hateful, and authoritarian, and his presidency is going to be somewhere between disastrous and cataclysmic, likely in ways we can’t even imagine yet.

But one thing it will not be is a threat to the establishment, or the system, or whatever you want to call it. The wealthy and powerful will have more wealth and power when he’s done, not less. There’s a lot that Trump will upend, but if you’re a little guy who thinks Trump was going to upend things on your behalf or in order to serve your interests, guess what: you got suckered.

I expect what will happen is that an army will come to all our doors, break them down, and take away all our stuff to sell on eBay, proceeds to benefit the rich.

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