Did Trump Just Sell Out?
Let’s not dance around it – Reince Priebus is part of The Establishment, and Trump just picked him to be his Chief of Staff for the incoming administration. This selection has already caused some people to question whether or not Trump was ever serious about fulfilling his campaign promise to “Drain The Swamp”, but such concerns this early in the game are totally unfounded and more alarmist than anything. In his first post-election interview with CBS, Trump directly addressed these criticisms head-on, saying that:
“Everybody's a lobbyist down there, that's the problem with the system -- the system. Right now, we're going to clean it up. We're having restrictions on foreign money coming in, we're going to put on term limits, which a lot of people aren't happy about, but we're putting on term limits. We're doing a lot of things to clean up the system. But everybody that works for government, they then leave government and they become a lobbyist, essentially. I mean, the whole place is one big lobbyist. I'm saying that they know the system right now, but we're going to phase that out. You have to phase it out.”
Paying attention to the President-elect’s words, it’s plain to see that he’s resorting to his characteristic businessman pragmatism in accepting the reality that he must work with some elements of the Old System as part of his historic quest to replace The Establishment. Supporters and detractors alike should temper their enthusiasm and criticisms of Trump and realize that he was never going to instantly transform the US with the snap of a finger. His election was revolutionary because it’s the first time that an American President was elected who is fully dedicated to changing the entire status quo and upending it to the betterment of the average American, and Trump’s “political incorrectness” and unceasing attacks on “liberalism” during the campaign testify to his commitment to see this happen.
The Global Stakes At Risk
Trump wants to “Make America Great Again”, but he doesn’t want to send the whole system into collapse while he attempts to do so. Most people remember the disastrous Soviet experience of the late 1980s when Mikhail Gorbachev was so obsessed with changing the status quo that he inadvertently (?) brought the whole country down and destabilized the global situation. Trump wants to avoid such a pitfall, and all of his international Great Power peers would prefer for him to steer clear of doing anything which could rapidly result in the US’ uncontrollable destabilization and subsequent self-destruction. The reason for this is clear, and it’s that for better or for worse, the rest of the world is still dependent on the dollar as the global reserve currency and is connected to the US economy to varying extents.
The sudden removal of the US as a worldwide player and the unexpected severe weakening of its economy (whether brought about by the Clintonian Counter-Revolution’s riots and/or the governing paralysis that some Establishment Republicans want to create, et al.) would surely result in a global crisis at this point because alternative multipolar financial, monetary, and other institutions either aren’t yet in place or haven’t fully matured to the point of instantly replacing the US’ structural legacy. Russia and China would rather see the US progressively morph from the retreating unipolar hegemon that it currently is and into a responsible “Great Power among equals” than to unexpectedly collapse and bring the whole world down with it. This is also the logic behind why they don’t want to see the EU totally collapse in a sudden fashion either, since it could result in less dramatic but still severely negative consequences for these stakeholders.
To return back to the main focus, it’s not just in economic-financial-monetary terms that the US’ self-implosion would impact on the rest of the world either, but also in a military-security sense too, not least of all because the tens of thousands of American troops stationed abroad could either “go rogue” like the World War I-era Czech Legion did or could contribute to global instability by selling their arms and services on the black market. Simply put, it’s in everyone’s interests – Americans, Russians, Chinese, Europeans, and others – to see that the Trump transition and the Second American Revolution play out as stably as possible, and for the 45th President to not irresponsibly shock the system too much in inadvertently bringing the US to the verge of collapse. With this understanding in mind, Trump’s quoted words about having to “phase [the Swamp] out” make a lot more sense, since he also realizes everything that’s at stake if he childishly stops playing by “all the rules” and thus prompts a near-immediate systemic breakdown.
The State Of Affairs In The Swamp
Priebus is the archetypical Establishment player in Washington, although he’s one of the few which loyally stood with Trump throughout the campaign and carried through on his pledge to help the Republican nominee with organizational and other “back-end” support. Most importantly, he’s the Chairman of the Republican National Committee and “knows how to get things done” in the Old System. This is important for Trump because of the global stakes that are at play if The Establishment Republicans in Congress are co-opted by the Clintonian Counter-Revolution and decide to throw the whole country into political deadlock by refusing to go along with any of the President’s legislative proposals. No one should forget that although the Republicans control both houses of Congress, this doesn’t mean that they have to necessarily do everything that Trump wants them to.
Most of the figures in power are part of the same Establishment that Trump wants to dismantle and replace, and there’s not much pressure for them to do what he wants if they’re “political kamikazes” and decide to “sacrifice” their careers in order to paralyze the first two years of full Republican control over the government. Midterm elections won’t occur for another 2 years, so the Democrats won’t have a chance at returning to power and tipping the legislative balance in their favor until then, which is why they need to co-opt Establishment Republicans (which isn’t too hard of task to do) in order to make it impossible for Trump to govern by anything other than Executive Order, which he probably won’t resort to as much as Obama did in order to not be seen as the “fascist dictator” that his opponents are desperately painting him out to be.
In a “democracy”, these political representatives would be accountable to the people who elected them and thus disinclined from going against their pro-Trump popular wishes and risking defeat the next time their electoral cycle comes around, but in the oligarchy that the US has descended into, the political opportunists in power have a plethora of ways to safeguard their personal interests other than sitting in office. All that they need to do is be elected just once and a bunch of doors open before them, providing lobbying gigs, investment opportunities, and other excessively high-paying rewards for being part of The Establishment’s elite club. Whether one likes it or not, most of Trump’s “fellow” party members satisfy this profile and are not naturally attracted to “sacrificing” their own interest if The Establishment and the Old System whisper in their ear and promise them that it’ll all be okay so long as they partake in the “institutionalized-political” form of the Clintonian Counter-Revolution by simply blocking all of Trump’s legislative proposals and making it impossible for him to govern.
The Priebus-Bannon Power Duo
The challenge that Trump and the People of the United States face is in providing some of these Establishment Republicans with a stake in the New America and progressively phasing them out of the Old System and into the New one that is being built. It’s not known at this time what sort of conservations are being had or what kind of incentives (both positive and negative) are being proposed to assist with this daunting duty, and it might never be revealed what these in fact are, but one of the best “messengers” to relay them and interface between the Trump Administration and the Republican Establishment is Reince Priebus. Considering everything that was just described thus far, it’s pretty hard to think of anyone better suited for this position, which is part of the responsibility that the Chief of Staff entails. If one is realistic, pragmatic, and sober-minded, then it makes perfect sense why Priebus was selected for this important and high-profile role. After all, Trump isn’t a dictator and can’t dismiss Congressional Representatives just because they stand in his way, which is why he needs a “messenger” that “speaks their language” and “knows the system” in order to help the President get what he wants out of it in “persuading” them to follow his will.
In parallel, the appointment of Stephen Bannon as his Chief Strategist demonstrates that Trump is visibly balancing between the New and the Old Systems, lending further credence to his quoted claim that he wants to “phase [the Swamp] out” and demonstrating the high level of responsibility that he’s taking in doing this as stably as possible (per the global risks at stake which were expounded upon earlier). Bannon is the ultimate outsider and used to run Breitbart News before joining the Republican nominee’s campaign over the summer, and his network has consistently remained so loyal to Trump that it can be counted as one of the reasons why “The Deplorables” were able to decisively unite before the historic election. The fear mongers who claim that Trump has “sold out” are obviously giving too little credit to Bannon and his ideological influence on the President and his base, because if they understood just how important this man has been in maintaining the bond between the candidate and his supporters, then they wouldn’t jump to such naive conclusions just because he was “passed up” as Chief of Staff.
The Clintonian Counter-Revolution
Some of the voices that have arisen against Trump and promoted this narrative allege that he’s a “sell out” because he’s working with Establishment Republicans, though there’s no responsible way around him doing this apart from either becoming the “fascist dictator” that the “politically correct” “liberals” and their followers imagine that he’ll become and/or grinding everything in the US to a halt out of paralytic political deadlock, both of which run the very real risk of adversely impacting on the rest of the world if it results in the US’ sudden systemic collapse. To give them the benefit of the doubt, most of these individuals are either too zealous to countenance that, but it also can’t be discounted that an unknown portion of them are intentionally siding with the Clintonian Counter-Revolution out of their innate desire to see Trump fail. It should be interesting to observers of mainstream and social media to note that it’s pretty much only just the Democrats, Independents, third-party voters, and those who didn’t vote that are trying to get Trump supporters to turn on their candidate before he even has a chance to govern.
There’s no “conspiracy” in the sense that some nefarious figure or another is with coordinating each and every single person writing anything at all that’s critical about Trump, but it’s just that the US is so intensely polarized right now that many people are vehemently exercising their freedom of speech on their own initiative and doing so to advance whatever the narrative may be which is important to them, such as in this case that “Trump sold out”. It does indeed provide a “right-wing” complement to the “leftist”-“liberal” narratives being propagated by the Clintonian Counter-Revolution in appealing to the part of his electorate which might be so overly passionate about the President-elect that they have difficulty understanding the broader long-term strategy behind why Trump is pragmatically working with some members of The Establishment, and it’s these people who are most predisposed to falling for this alarmism. In a sense, this has strong parallels with the “super patriots” who allege that Putin “sold out” just because he didn’t launch a World War II-style invasion of post-Maidan Nazi Ukraine or due to his pragmatic diplomacy with the US, EU, “Israel”, Saudi Arabia, and other unipolar actors.
The people advancing these “doom and gloom” warnings about why this or another “hero” “sold out” their base are usually just trying to sway the minds of the pro-government constituency away from their leader in order to indirectly promote the individual critic’s political agenda of lessening support for this actor. They typically present themselves as offering “enlightening insight” in order to gain a trust-making inroad with the targeted audience, usually masquerading as (or honestly believing themselves to be) an active or passive supporter beforehand in order to make their delivery more effective. In the case of Trump, this is why so many “third party”, “independent”, or “non-voters” are engaging in this behavior because they presume that others will see them as “neutral”, “above the fray”, and/or as “knowing better” due to their political choices and thus be able to gain more trust among pro-Trump Republicans than any Democrat conceivably can. Plus, they’re speaking in a language which could be attractive to a certain segment of Trump voters, though obviously the most naïve of the naïve because the President-elect hasn’t even had a single day to govern yet to prove whether these prognoses are correct or not.
Constructive criticism and varied scenario forecasts that are produced with positive intentions are welcome expressions of democratic thought and can help to break through the groupthink which prevents many people from seeing the objective reality around them, but there are also weaponized information products and deliberate subversions that sometimes camouflage themselves in order to blend in with legitimate discourse and thus create an even more confusing and multi-layered Hybrid War than the one presently being fought. It’s obvious that a Clintonian Counter-Revolution is underway which seeks to undermine the Trump Presidency so that the Second American Revolution is stopped and reversed before it ever has a chance to threaten The Establishment and the Old System, but Trump supporters are already well aware of this after having successfully withstood the hitherto most intense psychological warfare operation ever conducted on the minds of Americans during the 18-month election campaign.
The present Clintonian Counter-Revolution psy-op is poised to be just as bad if not worse, so all information consumers (especially those who back Trump) should stick with their gut judgement and rely on the discretion that they honed during the mass media’s relentless attacks against Trump to sift through each and every one of his decisions and draw their own conclusions about whether they’re “sell outs” or pragmatic choices, bearing in mind the prevailing circumstances and the situational-personnel hand which he was dealt as the consummate outsider who all of a sudden became the chief decision maker in The Establishment. There are indeed well-intentioned and legitimate concerns that Trump might end up “selling out” or underperforming in his herculean task to “Drain The Swamp” and fulfill other revolutionary campaign promises, and it’s perfectly alright to raise challenging questions whenever the circumstances relevantly present themselves, but jumping the gun and confidently alleging that Trump has already irreversibly failed over two months before he even begins to govern is intellectually dishonest and reeks of a self-interested political agenda to assist the Clintonian Counter-Revolution.