The Two Establishments of Trump and Hillary

Both candidates are from the establishment - but from different ones.

We've heard a lot of talk this election cycle about "revolt against 'the establishment'."  Base voters in both the Democratic and Republican parties seem to be disgusted with "the establishment" and are voting against candidates whom "the establishments" have selected for them.  We've read a lot of such talk and we've even written some.

This isn't unique to America.  The British revolted against "their betters" and voted to leave the European Union and voters in other European countries are defying their majority parties and voting for "far right" or "nationalistic" parties.  As an anonymous European leader who fears for his job put it: "If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones."

Culture and Economy Make a Country

The pro-diversity elites scorn the unwashed masses as incurably racist, but wanting to preserve one's native culture isn't racist.  French-Canadians in Quebec who wanted to preserve their Frenchness as a small minority in a sea of Anglo-Saxons weren't racist, they just want their children to learn the same songs they learned when they were school children.

Twenty years after their last failed independence vote, it's too late - the Quebecois have been swamped by a rising tide of foreigners, particularly Muslims.  Voters are correct in believing that our diversity-loving rulers are a threat to their way of life; Tony Blair has even admitted his efforts to bring about cultural change in England.

In voting for Brexit, the British seized their last chance; the Quebecois missed it and are now demographically doomed.  On current trends, Fr√®re Jacques will be replaced by "Allahu Akbar!" - and if you think that doesn't matter, you haven't been paying attention to world history for the last few decades if not centuries.

Cultural fears combine with economic uncertainties.  Regardless of their actual economic state, a great many voters say that America is heading in the wrong direction.  They fear that things will either get worse slowly or suddenly fall apart very fast.  Very few ordinary voters, in America or elsewhere, feel any economic security at all.

These two forces combined can easily produce discontent with "the establishment" who have led us down a destructive path to somewhere the average voter is increasingly realizing he does not wish to go.  Despite all the rising voices of protest, our elites keep both feet firmly on the throttle.

Who's the Establishment?

Hillary Clinton is exhibit "A" for the establishment.  She's moved in high-level political circles for four decades.  Her main qualification for being President is that she's had command of enough public and private resources for long enough to persuade the Democratic party movers and shakers that they want her to have the top job regardless of the wishes of the party base.

Having fed at the public trough since becoming mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981, Bernie Sanders is just as much an establishment figure as Hillary but with a different view of how things ought to be.

Then there's Donald Trump.  He's worth more money than Mr. Sanders and Hillary put together.  He's clearly in the 1%.  That makes him an establishmentarian by definition, but he's from the business establishment, not the political establishment which nourishes Hillary and Mr. Sanders at our expense.

As The Donald might say, that's a "uuuuuge!" difference.  Mr. Trump's billions ultimately came from the free individual choices of millions of American customers.  Nobody forces anyone to gamble in the Trump Taj Mahal or stay at Trump Towers; people decide that they want to do those things and compensate Mr. Trump for the privilege.

In short, Mr. Trump makes money by offering goods and services which customers voluntarily choose to buy with whatever money is left over from their earnings after Hillary and Mr. Sanders have used the force of government to take whatever cut is demanded to feed the political establishment.

Vive la Difference!

The Washington Post reports that the Clinton Foundation, of which Hillary is co-head, has collected $3 billion or so over the years.

This doesn't count the $675,000 Goldman Sachs paid her for "speaking" nor does it count the fees she received from Wal-Mart, nor does it count the still-secret donations from foreign countries.

Our article "Risk-Free, Government-Guaranteed 2000% Return On Investment" discusses a New York Times article which told how a Bush supporter got a 2000% return by giving money to the Clinton foundation in return for a favor from then-Senator Hillary Clinton.

The Times' 2009 article showed that buying politicians is a far better investment than buying stocks, especially buying Clintons.  They've clearly developed a reputation for being "honest politicians," that is, having been bought, they stay bought long enough to deliver the goods.  That's good for whomever can afford Bill's speaking fees, but anyone why buys Clintons expects a far greater return, and we end up paying for whatever the Clintons let their customers take from us.

The Donald, in contrast, doesn't have the political power to deliver on bribes, but, as a successful dealer in New York real estate, he's surely paid his fair share of them.  He knows how the game is played, but at the end of the day, he doesn't get a return on his investment buying politicians without persuading people to give him money in return for goods and services.

There's all the difference in the world.  There is nothing wrong with a shopkeeper taking your money when you give it to him in exchange for something you bought.  Yes, he makes a profit, but you freely agreed to the exchange because you wanted the item you bought more than you wanted the money you paid for it.  You could have walked out of the store and kept your money if you didn't think the purchase was worthwhile.

And we all understand that when a mugger sticks you up with a gun on the street and demands your wallet, that's a felony.  Anyone who's found himself in that unfortunate position probably hoped a policeman happened to walk round the corner just then and put down the thief for good.

Would it matter if the thief, after taking your wallet, tossed you a Snickers bar?  No: he's still a thief, and you still didn't have any choice in the matter.

How about if the thief, for some bizarre reason, tossed you the keys to his car?  Well, maybe you wouldn't call the police, but you still wouldn't be exactly happy.  For one thing, maybe his car is green and you wanted blue.  Once again, even though the value of the car probably is greater than what's in your wallet, it's the lack of choice that makes it theft.

What choice do we have about what we pay the government and what it spends our money on?  In theory, we have the right to elect representatives who will do our bidding.  In practice, as we've documented countless times over the years, our elites like Hillary learned long ago how to avoid the "will of the people" and do whatever they please.

Honest Grift and Honest Graft

Traditional Democrats believed they were "promoting the general welfare" by handing out checks to the undeserving instead of lining their own pockets.  Vice President Joe Biden has been in government for longer than most of us have been alive, but his personal wealth is no more than you'd expect from anyone earning $173,000 per year or the inflation-adjusted equivalent.  His policies are mistaken, but he personally is an honest man.

Hillary, in contrast, persuades governments and individuals to give her money by threatening to hurt them, or - worse - by offering to use her power on their behalf.  That is the very definition of political corruption, though she's managed to skeeze, or bribe, or threaten, or lie her way out of legal trouble time after time.

Has Donald Trump ever stolen anything?  Yes, he famously took a widow's house in the infamous Kelo Supreme Court decision - but unlike the government and taxes, he didn't just "take" it.  He had to pay full and fair market value as determined by an independent court of law.

Some would say that Mr. Trump stole from small businessmen and workers when he put his companies into bankruptcy to escape debts.  That's a fair argument, as long as you also acknowledge that it's equally theft when an individual person files for bankruptcy to escape their own personal debts.  Most Americans don't feel this way, and never have; indeed, one of the core principles of America's founding was getting rid of "debtor's prisons" to allow people a fresh start.  Every time that happens, some other poor schlump gets the shaft by not getting paid what he's rightfully owed.

Anyway, in a corporate bankruptcy, the CEO is not allowed to decide who will be paid what.  That's the role of an impartial judge, who often reject the CEO's proposals and fire him so they can be be as generous as possible to the creditors.  Would that the IRS's judges looked on "your" money the same way!

The Benefits of Bankruptcy

Some of his critics make much of Mr. Trump's several bankruptcies.  This is a plus, not a minus: those sobering experiences have taught him that it's possible for him to fail

In contrast, elitists like Mr. Obama who come up through our Ivy League colleges never experience failure, so it doesn't occur to them that they could ever be wrong.  After all, aren't they among the Best and the Brightest?  Mr. Trump, in contrast, knows that it's possible for him to make "uuuuuge" mistakes, so he'll keep his eye out for risks.

When has Hillary ever "failed" at anything in her own eyes?  She's always gotten away with her illegal schemes, no matter how egregious, and nobody important on the Left criticized her for her mistakes in Libya.  Why should she even consider the possibility that she could ever be wrong when nobody she has to listen to, like a judge, rubs her nose in it?

The key differences between the two rivals for our votes boils down to:

  • Hillary has become wealthy through taking bribes which are thinly cloaked as speeches.  Mr. Trump has become wealthier by offering products which people voluntarily choose to buy.  Which would you rather have in charge of the IRS or the Justice Department, to name but two?
  • Hillary has never failed at anything she'll admit; Mr. Trump has had his nose rubbed in failure many times for all to see. 

Which of them will be more careful in navigating a dangerous and unpredictable world?

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Politics.
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