by Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect, January 20, 2017
Donald Trump’s inaugural address, for which the heavens wept, culminated a strand of American conservatism that has been with us since Republicans began attacking Franklin Roosevelt. It is to refocus any anti-elitist sentiment away from finance and big business, and toward the political establishment.
In one form or another, it has long been a defining motif of the American right, stretching from Joe McCarthy’s allegations of treason by striped-pants diplomats, to George Wallace’s attacks on pointy-headed bureaucrats, to Ronald Reagan’s war on government, up to Trump’s assault today on Washington for selling out the (largely white) factory workers to the benefit of—as Trump put it—themselves.
“Their victories were not yours,” he noted. Their days of power, of betraying American workers, were at an end.
Missing from his indictment, of course, was the real American elite: Wall Street
Missing from his indictment, of course, was the real American elite: Wall Street, which urged CEOs to boost profits by offshoring labor, and those CEOs themselves, who have linked their income over the past quarter-century to their ability to boost those profits by suppressing wages (no better way to do that than to substitute developing-world workers for those here at home). As Trump told the tale, it was Washington alone that shuttered the factories and reaped the gains—not the masters of our economic universe who made the really big money from all these shifts, and used that money to fund the politicians’ campaigns. Trump wasn’t wrong to assail the Congresses and presidents who promoted trade accords at the expense of the factory and mill towns, but his indictment was strategically sanitized….
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