The Myth of Trump as an “Anti-Establishment” President

During his campaign, many conservatives in the United States characterized Donald Trump as an “anti-establishment” candidate. Trump flaunted his slogan “drain the swamp,” which is meant to mean ridding corruption from the US government. However, this claim has revealed itself to be a sham. A clear example of this is his recent intervention in Syria in which the US military launched fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian military facility that housed weapons used by the Syrian government to carry out chemical attacks. Trump had expressed during and before his campaign that he was against attacking Syria:

However, following the attack he explained that he changed his position, supposedly due to the civilians killed by chemical attacks by Bashar al-Assad.

“My fellow Americans, on Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians using a deadly nerve agent. Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many — even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”

It seems as if Trump was looking to fulfill communist predictions about the hypocrisy of the capitalist system, as he is using humanitarian concern for civilians as an excuse for a profit-based military intervention which kills more civilians. In the past, also, Trump has approved of numerous attacks which have killed scores of civilians, as well as a Yemen attack that killed a little girl. It seems he doesn’t find it reprehensible to kill children in the Middle East if it was a US-led attack, but if it’s performed by a foreign leader, it necessitates being” saved” by the US superhero though provocation of further war and murder of more civilians. The United States has constantly been militarily intervening in other countries with so-called “regime change” as a key goal, overthrowing democratically elected leaders in nations like Iran and Guatamala and replaced with violent authoritarians for the sake of oil deals or weakening Soviet influence. Similarly, this attack on Syria is based on profit. Missile-manufacturing company Raytheon’s stock value increased by nearly $5 billion due to the attack. Trump’s phony and hypocritical rhetoric that attempted to justify this attack is simply a representation of him coming out with excuses for capitalist profit, and is certainly not anti-establishment. Further meddling in the Middle East, as seen with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, who the United States helped gain power, has led to more turmoil and the creation of more armed rebel groups. The working-class must resolutely oppose imperialist warfare, not on the basis of support for al-Assad, whose regime is by no means friendly to the workers as preached by some fake left organizations, but rather on opposition to the U.S. ruling class.

On April 12, Trump repudiated his earlier criticism of NATO. No matter what candidate gets elected, the U.S. capitalist-imperialist machine cannot be in any way curtailed, with different political positions signifying different sections of the bourgeois ruling class differing on how to best deal with an issue, with different interpretations of how to acquire the best interests for their class. The only way inroads in U.S. imperialist power have been and can be made is through a constant opposition from the working class.

Another instance of Trump’s pro-establishment activities is his approval of a bill that 6% of the US population agrees with (HuffPost/YouGov survey, March 31), which repealed the FCC regulations that would have required permission from users before companies could breach the user’s privacy and abuse their “browsing history, geolocation and financial and medical information” for profit.

“There is literally no public support for this bill. Its only advocates are the nation’s biggest phone, cable and Internet companies. There’s no longer any question — if there ever was — whose needs this administration intends to serve. But people everywhere are on high alert to the serious threat to the free and open Internet. And they will fight back.” (Craig Aaron, President of the advocacy group Free Press)

It’s no surprise that the telecommunications industry has lobbied large sums of money to nearly every Republican of the US Congress, giving some members of Congress hundreds of thousands of dollars. This clearly defies his statement in his inaugural speech in which he pledges,

We are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, we are transferring power from Washington, and giving it back to you.

While Trump claimed to criticize exploitation within the financial industry during his campaign, he chose Steve Mnuchin, a hedge fund manager, as Secretary of the Treasury. Even the bourgeois Democrats criticized Mnuchin for the aggressive foreclosure practices of homeowners at OneWest. OneWest has also been accused of redlining and rejecting loans for racial minorities. Having a corrupt major banker in his cabinet leads Trump very far from the anti-establishment facade he attempts to convey.

So does repealing the few financial regulations, such as the Dodd-Frank Act, established by the Obama administration which avoided some of the practices which infamously allowed the 2008 financial crisis to occur. The bottom line is that, no matter what rhetoric is employed by any bourgeois candidate, only sustained opposition from the working class can actually lead to any change.

As socialists, we do not believe the issue can be sorted out through bourgeois “democracy.” Because decisions in capitalism are taken based on profit, the government is constantly violates human needs and any right of the people. Since military aggression against foreign countries is such a reliable money-making device, imperialism cannot be curtailed by any bourgeois candidate but rather is inevitable in capitalist society. Even if a reformist like Bernie Sanders had won the election, he cannot change the fundamental logic of capitalism and the bourgeois state, but rather would be subservient to it. Choosing between who runs capitalist society is like choosing between what cities to bomb. Reforms can only be extracted through the working class struggle, and the capitalists are constantly trying to roll them back in order to make more profit. The working class cannot exert any change through running for the executive positions of the capitalist state. What is needed is to establish the political supremacy of the working class through socialist revolution.


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