There is a very interesting post
over at Peter's discussing political polarization. A comment left by McChuck jumped out at me:
The "Never Trumpers" are part of the Left, not the Right. They are infiltrators and Wormtongues. They are the approved opposition, the Washington Generals. They have finally being so obvious about their true loyalties that anyone with eyes to see and ears to listen can tell.
"You may think these thoughts, but not those. You may go this far, but no further. Now, the conservative case for eating the flesh of the innocent."
To take a leaf from Polifact, I would rate this "mostly true" - everything after the first sentence is spot on. And the first sentence is also sort of right, but our "left" vs. "right" thinking is two dimensional, and so has hidden the really nefarious games that the GOP has been playing for decades. If we expand our thinking just a little, a lot falls squarely into place.
Picture our classic "left" and "right" as a horizontal line but instead of the old labels let's use "Perfectability of Mankind" and "Traditionalist" as the labels. Much of this captures the social issues that are so divisive in the political conversation today. The GOP can correctly claim that it exists on the Traditionalist side of that spectrum.
But now let's add a vertical axis, representing the desired size of government (smaller or bigger). We get something that looks like this:
Conservatives in the way we're used to think about them are in the lower left - traditionalists who believe in smaller government. Communists (and actually fascists as well) believe in the perfectability of mankind and are quite eager to use a vastly expanded government to bring this about; they inhabit the upper right. The political establishments are (mostly) about not rocking the boat too much but have a galaxy of hangers-on, all feeding at the public trough; they are in the upper left. It's important to emphasize that these types really don't
want to upset the apple cart by radical changes. Lastly, there is almost nobody in the lower right: people who want to perfect humankind but don't really want any part of government. About the only example I can think of is the Branch Davidians who got burned to death by the ATF in Waco.
Now let's populate the current political Who's Who into this quadrant:
Yeah, nobody I can think of is in the lower right. The upper right is who you'd expect - Big Chief Sitting Bulls**t, Bernie, and AOC. Obama may or may not be here (more on this later). But the interesting bit - and the bit that gets to McChuck's comment ("The Never Trumpers are part of the left") is in the upper left quadrant. Let me explain.
That quadrant is perhaps best labeled as "Grifters". All
of those mentioned are in it for the filthy lucre. Not one of the republicans listed (all of whom I should point out have impeccable Establishment credentials) lifted a finger to reduce the size of government, and indeed were enthusiastic in their use of big government to oppress their opponents - all of whom were in the lower left quadrant
. Where were all the GOP complaints about the IRS targeting the Tea Party? Who in the GOP Establishment stood up against the smearing of Sarah Palin? Who was complaining about ballooning Federal Regulations*? Where were National Review and The Weekly Standard in all this? [crickets]
The Establishment is about using ever increasing government to feed their swelling army of clients. The difference between the Republicans and Democrats is actually pretty small - look at the massive expansion of spending under George W. Bush. The Deep State lives right there, in the upper left, and all the people listed are 100% Deep Staters.
Now what else is interesting is that the core bases of each party are much more motivated by social issues which the parties play up to distract everyone from, well, the graft. As long as the rubes keep chasing the laser dot then the Powers That Be can relax and go back to the money machine. Both parties play this game, with Obama perhaps the most successful Democrat to do so (which is why even though I show him in the upper right he is probably in the upper left/Establishment quadrant). With him it was a lot of pretty murmurings of transformation to the base while in many ways governing as the 3rd and 4th George W Bush administrations.
In short, the Democratic Party lies to their base and the GOP lies to their base. They have been for decades.
But Donald Trump breaks this cozy arrangement. I would tentatively put him in the lower left quadrant. Yes, the Federal Budget is still out of control, but Congress is firmly in the "Establishment/Grifter" camp and Congress passes the budget. This isn't something that he can do much about (yet - we'll see if it gets on his radar or not). But he has been enormously successful in slashing regulations in a very short time, and people vastly underestimate just how important this is
. If he doesn't do anything other than this for the rest of his two terms, this will be a major sea change for America.
And so to McChuck's comment - the Never Trumpers are violently opposed to Trump, but they're all in the upper left. That's more evidence that Trump is seen as being in the lower left, or he wouldn't get that sort of visceral reaction from them. Livelihoods are at stake, if Trump can dry up the gravy train - and the best way to understand government regulation is as a gravy train for the connected class. All of the complaining about Trump's tweets and how he is mean is transparent drivel. When they say it's all about the principle, it's really all about the money.
* I would like to point out that it was Richard Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency, and George H. W. Bush who established the wetlands protection regulations.