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Donald Trump is the establishment, no matter what he says

https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/presidential-campaign/300579-donald-trump-is-the-establishment-no-matter-what-he

Republican nominee Donald Trump claims to be the anti-establishment candidate who will shake up the status quo in politics.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, Trump is the poster boy for the establishment in the United States. Rather than change, a Trump presidency guarantees business as usual in America. That is business that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the ordinary Americans that he falsely claims to represent in this campaign.


Conventional pundits have failed to challenge Trump's phony outsider persona because they have myopically looked at only half of what constitutes the American establishment: the men and women who hold political office. The other half of the establishment consists of the wealthy special interests who manipulate the political system for their own ends.

The business establishment is far more important than the political establishment. Politicians come and go. Party power rises and falls. But the wealthy special interests are always with us.

How effective is Trump's establishment of wealth? A recent study by political science professors Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape the policies and decisions of our government. They concluded that "economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."

Trump is the epitome of this most critical part of the establishment. He has manipulated our political system for one and only one end: his own enrichment. Nothing could be more emblematic of Trump's complicity in money-driven establishment politics than he openly confessed history of buying politicians. "As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do," Trump told The Wall Street Journal in July 2015. "As a businessman, I need that."


Donald Trump is the establishment, no matter what he says
© Getty Images

Republican nominee Donald Trump claims to be the anti-establishment candidate who will shake up the status quo in politics.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, Trump is the poster boy for the establishment in the United States. Rather than change, a Trump presidency guarantees business as usual in America. That is business that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the ordinary Americans that he falsely claims to represent in this campaign.

Conventional pundits have failed to challenge Trump's phony outsider persona because they have myopically looked at only half of what constitutes the American establishment: the men and women who hold political office. The other half of the establishment consists of the wealthy special interests who manipulate the political system for their own ends.

The business establishment is far more important than the political establishment. Politicians come and go. Party power rises and falls. But the wealthy special interests are always with us.

How effective is Trump's establishment of wealth? A recent study by political science professors Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape the policies and decisions of our government. They concluded that "economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."

Trump is the epitome of this most critical part of the establishment. He has manipulated our political system for one and only one end: his own enrichment. Nothing could be more emblematic of Trump's complicity in money-driven establishment politics than he openly confessed history of buying politicians. "As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do," Trump told The Wall Street Journal in July 2015. "As a businessman, I need that."

Trump's contributions are carefully targeted to maximize Trump's personal benefit. A 1980s Newsday study found that Trump was the single largest donor to members of the New York City Board of Estimate, which then had the authority to approve all land-use development projects.

Beyond contributions, he has lobbied Congress to open — not close — the loopholes that benefited him personally at the expense of ordinary taxpayers who have to make up for this tax avoidance. And he has lobbied to for concessions and tax breaks to benefit his personal business.

Trump's cozy, insider relationships with the political half of the establishment, beginning with connections first gained from his politically well-connected father, have been integral to building his personal wealth. For his first major business venture — the renovation of a hotel in Manhattan — Trump received an extraordinary 40-year abatement on property taxes from the city. He also gained a $163.8 million tax break on Trump Tower, his opulent building in midtown Manhattan.

Trump has also won special tax breaks for construction at his opulent Mar-a-Largo club in Florida, paying property tax only on the value of the clubhouse and not on the approximately $9 million value of the golf course itself. In 2011, after his Atlantic City, New Jersey, bankruptcies, Trump cut a deal with the administration of Gov. Chris Christie (R) that cut an overdue state tax bill of $30 million down to just $5 million.

Jared Meyer, a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, sums up Trump's establishment history of working the political system for his benefit: "All Trump is doing is using his political influence and taking advantage of how naïve lawmakers are on economic-development projects to get special treatment that no one else gets." He concludes, "It's a pretty messed-up system when people can use their money and political influence to get a special deal that no one else can."

In claiming that he will change the system that has made him rich, Donald Trump is trying to pull off the greatest con in American history. Remember, his children will be still running his enterprises if Trump becomes president. For anyone who still thinks that Trump is suddenly going to mend his ways and help the average American at the expense of his family, I have a big bridge in my hometown of Brooklyn that I would be happy to sell you.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqXDscVMTHw]
McConnell used Trump. Trump was putty in his hands. He could get him to sign anything with a compliment. "Oh, that's brilliant Donald." The next day. "People say I'm brilliant, a lot of people are saying that."

 
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