The ‘centrists,’ the establishment political class, are calling for their troops to rally to push back against the hoi poloi and their ‘populist’ candidates.
Less than a year into Trump’s presidency, Washington is already witnessing nascent cries for the establishment to return.
In both his op-ed, “A Call to Revive America’s Political Center,” and July 5th on-air interview with C-SPAN, political commentator Morton Kondracke spoke in post-Trumpian terms but failed to grasp the spirit of the political revolution that was the 2016 US Presidential election. Kondracke argued that “the left and the right are tearing the country apart.” Nothing is blatantly incorrect about that sentiment. He spoke of the “polarization and paralysis” which prevents anything significant from getting done in Washington. Nothing factually wrong with that either. As a solution, he proposed a campaign to get elected many, many “moderates” who would fight for “centrist” and “bipartisan” policies. Again, nothing wrong with that sentiment per se: Moderation is a virtue.
But the who, not the what, is where his argument falls apart and where most anti-Trump political commentators have got it wrong. Who are Kondracke’s “moderates”? As he casually stated in his C-SPAN interview: “You know [if] you had Colin Powell and Bill Gates and [Facebook’s] Mark Zuckerburg and [Starbuck’s] Howard Schultz and Condi Rice… and all these people systematically advocating for centrist policies, we would get somewhere.” In his article he provides an even longer list of politicians, military officials, and businessmen who are firmly part of the establishment that the American electorate clearly turned away from in the most recent elections, and who Kondracke thinks now ought to get involved in funding and executing a “centrist revival,” which presumably would save America.
Kondracke also touts Country Forward as an example of a supposedly “bipartisan” group, a super PAC with a “centrist policy agenda” which is trying to get “moderates” elected. And who has Country Forward enlisted to help write its policy agenda? Bill Kristol, yet another elite whose influence was most felt in Bush 43’s administration disastrous decision to invade Iraq. Kondracke excitedly adds (with curious naïveté) that “former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been invited to participate [in Country Forward].” Tony Blair, of course, is a former British leader who to this day is wildly hated by ordinary Brits for how excitedly and uncritically he jumped on the bandwagon to invade Iraq.
These “centrists” are the elite culture despised by voters