A colleague recently cautioned me against writing too “establishment”. Now while I have great respect for this person, I fear they do not quite understand the term.
People use it as a pejorative, seemingly describing the established power they don’t like or they think is in control. But it is a relative term, as the entire purpose of politics is to get elected to office and establish control. So your “establishment” can be my “leadership” and vice versa. No one gets involved in the political process to ensure that their candidate or party does not become an established power.
Granted, there are the civil service mandarins in DC who do certainly make up an establishment. But each regime appoints their share. Thus they are a natural outgrowth of the democratic process. Yup, they are relatively unaccountable and hopefully professional. But like the sumner rain, they will always be with us. They are a necessity to a functioning government.
My colleague was referring, in my situation, to the Republican Party establishment as evidenced in the current Senate and House leadership. I like them. They strike me as Reagan Republicans. What I don’t like, sorry to be redundant if you’ve heard me before on this, is the populist wing of the Republican Party as evidenced by Trump and many, not all, of his followers.
I simply do not like cult of personality politics, no matter who the object of devotion. I refer to the above leadership as Reagan Republicans not because they took or take every word the Gipper uttered as divine writ. But because they agreed with a majority of his policies. They seek a restoration of his particular ideological establishment.
If Trump supporters did exclusively that, and some do, I’d have less of a problem. Many of the 45th president’s policy achievements were excellent. But their bizarre quasi-deification of the man, combined with his behavior per the aftermath of the 2020 election and J6, makes him anathema to me.
The alternatives, many establishment backed, are good. The Republicans have a good bench that comes with much less baggage, all politicians come with some baggage, than does the exiled King of Mar-a-Lago.
It’s because, unlike Trump, they didn’t come to prominence overnight. Politics and government are hard dirty businesses that take quite a while to master. The personal aspect of the game even longer. Those who have paid their dues and come up through the ranks of the powers that be realize bulldozing your way over DC and picking unnecessary fights will not gain you the personal allies you need to get a lot of legislation through an even friendly Congress.
Given old school ties are deep, they can draw on those connections to be effective, not just whine from the outside that the establishment they oppose is not doing their bidding.
The same people in the Republican Party who are kvetching about the Republican establishment now liked it just fine in the White House during the last administration. Oh, you say, that wasn’t an establishment but a rebellion against it? Grow up and smell the java. Thousands of executive branch appointees and political gunslingers constitute an establishment. It may be your people or the opposition. It’s still an establishment.