Plutocratic Pissing Match

No sooner did I write about the real deep state than it got into a spat with the president.

The Koch brothers’ political donor network consists of over seven hundred members who give at least $100,000 per year. For the math-challenged — I needed a calculator, so that includes me — that comes to a minimum war chest of $70 million, although according to Bloomberg News, “Plans call for the network to spend about $400 million on state and federal policy and politics during the two-year cycle that culminates with November’s balloting.” [Italics mine, because I’m still having trouble believing that number.]

The network met last weekend in Colorado Springs — I guess Branson wasn’t good enough—and expressed in forceful but polite terms its disapproval of our president’s divisive tone, inability to compromise, and, most important, his tariffs. Remember, the real deep state is about the absolute freedom of capital. From its perspective, the government should not be involved at all in economic affairs.

And so of course Trump fired back in a series of tweets. Unlike the mainstream media, I won’t quote those tweets. You know how they sounded.

Ah, the narcissism of small differences. Trump has brought a bunch of Koch heads into his administration — including Mike Pence — and they’ve delivered spectacularly for the real deep state, to the point where last year’s massive tax cut for the wealthy wasn’t enough and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is floating the idea of unilaterally enacting another tax break on capital gains.

This plutocratic pissing match, as New Yorker writer Jane Mayer called it in an NPR interview, is actually about “two very strong-minded billionaires [Koch and Trump] who are very used to getting their own way.” Both believe they are (or should be) in charge of the Republican Party. But Koch’s outlook is globalist and libertarian. Trump’s is nativist and populist.

This morning The Fabulous Wife asked, “Who do you root for?”

“The Democrats,” I said, although that brings up another subject that would be funny if it weren’t so tragically absurd. (Maybe I’ll write about it in a future post. Sorry in advance to my politics-hating readers.)

Seriously, though, if those were our only political options, which would I choose? I’d have to go with the Koch network. I think it’s less motivated by anger, fear, resentment, and (as we’ve come to learn) cruelty than Trump’s base. And ultimately, I’d rather be the subject of indifference than persecution.

Former Risk Manager at UC Berkeley, author of four books, ectomorphic introvert.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store