One of Donald Trump’s (and Ted Cruz’s) rallying cries this campaign season has been against “the establishment,” referring to the large network of political, media, and business interests that is perceived by many to dominate the Republican Party.
Last December, Chuck Todd of NBC likened Trump’s appeal among Republican voters “to a rebellious teenager smitten with the bad boy on the motor bike, Donald Trump, and the parents — in this case, the Republican establishment — are taking a very dim view of that relationship, terrified that a Trump nomination would wipe out Republicans up and down the ballot.”
Todd’s piece showed Republican leaders (i.e., the “establishment”) House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, then-candidate Senator Lindsey Graham, and others speaking negatively of Trump.
One of the perceived behind-the-scenes leaders of the Republican establishment, Karl Rove, was also very nervous about a Trump nomination. In his January 6 Wall Street Journal column, Rove warned about the consequences of putting Donald Trump on top of the GOP ticket.
“If Mr. Trump is its standard-bearer, the GOP will lose the White House and the Senate, and its majority in the House will fall dramatically.”
Rove also said that in contrast to Trump, “Any of the other candidates, if nominated, will best Mrs. Clinton in a close race and help the GOP narrowly keep the Senate.”
More recently, Rove wrote on March 30 that Trump’s poll numbers were “staggeringly bad.”
According to Real Clear Politics, Rove is right: Trump loses to Hillary Clinton in the seven most recent polls by an average of 9.9 percent, and to Bernie Sanders by 16.3 percent.
Meanwhile, Rove has become one of Trump’s targets.
Is The “Establishment” Supporting Trump Behind The Scenes?
But, behind the scenes, something entirely different is happening. Politico has reported that Rove’s Super PAC, American Crossroads, is telling its donors that they can not only help get Trump elected president, but also preserve many Senate seats where vulnerable Republicans are running for re-election.
Crossroads spokesman Ian Prior likewise told Politico that rather than supporting Trump, the goal is to beat Clinton, whom he said is the object of “intense dislike and distrust.” Prior predicts a closer race than most imagine, “regardless of the GOP nominee.”
Conservative Media Establishment Backs Trump
Trump has also benefited from preferential treatment from conservative media, especially Fox News, as the Inquisitr has previously documented.
On March 2, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the company that owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and other media outlets, tweeted that it was time to rally behind Trump.
Yesterday, The Post endorsed Trump, just five days before the New York Republican primary. While its editorial cited Trump’s errors, — calling the wall at the Mexican border “simplistic,” and his language “divisive” and “coarse” — The Post then swatted those weaknesses aside, asking,”But what else to expect from someone who’s never been a professional politician and reflects common-man passions?”
The Post also called Trump “an imperfect messenger carrying a vital message.”
Donald Trump Was (Is?) Part Of The “Establishment”
The irony in all of this is that in the very first Republican debate, last August, Trump admitted to giving money to both Republicans and Democrats. Motioning to the other candidates, Trump said, “Most of the people on this stage I’ve given to, just so you understand.”
“Not me,” Mike Huckabee said, to the laughter of the audience.
Trump then went on to talk about how he got Hillary Clinton to come to his wedding because he gave to her foundation.
But the moment reflected perhaps the greatest irony of all in the 2016 presidential race: the candidate who got, and continues to get, great mileage out of railing against the “establishment” has openly bragged about being part of that same establishment.
[Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images]