The Status Quo vs. Donald Trump

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Unless something dramatic happens (certainly possible in this election), I believe Donald Trump will win the 2016 election quite easily, and I believe this victory will be driven by the resentment vote. Forget card-carrying Democrats and Republicans, they will vote along party lines. The key to this election is, and always has been, independent voters. I believe the following chart from Gallup tells you all you need to know about who will decide this thing:

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By definition, most of the 43% of Americans who identify as independents have serious misgivings about the two-party system and its so-called “luminaries.” As such, both Trump and Clinton should be battling aggressively for this key voting bloc. Unfortunately for Hillary supporters, only one of them is. The other candidate is rallying the status quo from both parties under one large, oligarch-funded tend of cronyism, militarism and business as usual. Earlier this week, I highlighted how the resentment vote against mainstream media would play a key role in tipping the scales to a Trump victory (see: The Death of Mainstream Media). Today, I want to look at how the resentment vote also targets the two-party political oligarchy.

Taking a step back, it’s become clear to me that many members from the corrupt status quo of both useless political parties are making a huge calculated error by coming together so publicly against Trump. By rallying so aggressively and passionately around Hillary Clinton, the worst of the worst from America’s oligarchy have succeeded in the impossible. They have made a billionaire reality tv star look like a counter culture iconoclast.

When Trump first ran for President, I looked on incredulously as he attempted to portray himself as an anti-status quo stalwart. As someone raised in New York City, I literally grew up with this man’s face plastered all over the papers. In my particular corner of the planet, he was more ubiquitous in the media than the President. Yet as we stand here in September 2016, less than two months away from this momentous national election, the man has remarkably morphed into an anti-status quo symbol in real life. How did this happen?

The incredible irony of the situation is that in its failed attempts to make him unacceptable, mainstream Republicans have made him palatable. Trump couldn’t convincingly turn himself into “outsider” on his own. He needed help, and he has received it in droves from the GOP establishment. Meanwhile, the most pathetic part of it all is the fact that these so-called “conservative thought leaders” and politicians still don’t understand how absolutely despised they are by the general public. They think their “stand against Trump” hurts him, when in reality it just makes him grow stronger and gives him the street cred he never had before.

As an example of what I mean, let’s take a look at some excerpts from yesterday’s Politico article: Clinton’s GOP Supporters Expect Something in Return:

Republicans backing Hillary Clinton want history to reflect they didn’t help Donald Trump win the White House. But that’s not the only reason they’re bucking their party’s line.

Access, appointments and influence over a Clinton administration’s policies is the just dessert that a growing slate of conservative policy wonks, Capitol Hill veterans and former GOP administration officials say they expect for endorsing and in some cases raising money for the Democratic presidential nominee. 

And they’re already getting it. From messaging help delivered by Clinton’s communications team to direct and regular access to senior staffers and in-person meetings to discuss policy and strategy, Republicans who have abandoned Trump say the Democrat has given every indication that the GOP view will be reflected in her administration.

After she is sworn in, these Republicans say, they expect positions in a Clinton administration that go beyond the one or two seats that are typically reserved for opposition party experts in any White House that aims to win bipartisan support and cast itself as a solutions-oriented bridge-building operation. Indeed, while Barack Obama hired Robert Gates and Ray LaHood to run his first-term Defense and Transportation departments and George W. Bush tapped Norman Mineta to lead the DOT, many Republicans this cycle envision GOP voices sprinkled throughout the upper echelon of a Democratic administration.

Still, Clinton’s team isn’t shy about its efforts to win over some of the very same people responsible for policies that their party has run against in previous presidential election cycles, including former George H.W. Bush White House aide Brent Scowcroft and former George W. Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, and Leslie Dach, a former Walmart executive who worked for both the Clinton and Obama administrations, have taken the lead on the GOP recruitment effort by tapping more than two decades of contacts the two men developed in moving back and forth through Washington’s revolving doors. They’ve been identifying and wooing potential Clinton supporters from different GOP policy, political and business circles, and several Republican defectors who have gone public with their endorsements say the campaign has been quick to swoop in and help them publish and distribute statements and op-eds declaring support, to coordinate media interviews and assisting in wider Republican networking efforts.

As you can see, a Clinton Presidency will be a grotesque amalgamation of the worst revolving door crooks in the Republican and Democratic parties. Oh, and John Podesta’s brother gets paid $140,000 a month by the Saudis.

By embracing Clinton, these Republicans say they’ve also gained an easy entry point to communicate with the campaign’s senior brass on both policy and political tactics. Come 2017, they hope their campaign access translates to a new Clinton administration.

Some of the Republicans backing Clinton say the bar isn’t exactly that high for the Democrat when it comes to their specific policy issues too. Richard Painter, a former chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush White House who endorsed Clinton last month, said he’d like a promise from the Democrat that she wouldn’t increase taxes. But most important, he said, was for Clinton to keep pushing on Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, and not to pick someone with a more liberal track record.

Clinton’s left flank is paying close attention to the Republicans’ rising stock too, and they are threatening to blast the Democrat should she win and then govern with anything less than a progressive mind-set.An early warning of just how close they’re watching: Critics of free trade and fracking ripped Clinton earlier this summer after she put a Democrat — former senator and Obama Interior Secretary Ken Salazar — into a job leading her transition efforts.

Ooooh, they’re “threatening” her once she’s already in there. Could Democrats be more pathetic?

Of course, useless politicos from both parties lining up behind Clinton is just the tip of the iceberg. Wall Street financiers are particularly into her. Recall the following from the post, Hillary Clinton is in Deep Trouble – “Hordes of Wall Street Executives” Descend Upon Philly:

Hordes of industry executives will descend on the city to celebrate Hillary Clinton’s nomination for president and renew close associations that vexed the Democratic standard-bearer throughout her primary battle with Bernie Sanders. 

Blackstone, one of the nation’s largest private equity firms, will hold an official reception in Philadelphia on Thursday featuring its president, Tony James, sometimes mentioned as a possible Treasury Secretary in a Clinton administration. 

Hedge fund managers and top Democratic donors including Avenue Capital’s Marc Lasry and Boston Provident’s Orin Kramer will also be on the scene as will Morgan Stanley executive and former top Clinton aide Tom Nides. Executives from Citigroup, JPMorganChase and other large banks will also prowl the streets and bar rooms of Philadelphia.

The financial contingent will be in an especially good mood following Clinton’s selection of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate.Kaine has shown a willingness to fight for regional bank relief from the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. But more than that, he’s not Elizabeth Warren, the potential VP pick that long had Wall Street terrified.

Republicans with ties to the financial industry will also be there, a sharp contrast to Donald Trump’s convention in Cleveland, which Wall Street largely shunned over fears of the GOP nominee’s populist agenda on trade, immigration and Wall Street reform.

So who’s “with her.”

1) Neocons and other notorious Republican crooks.

2) Wall Street oligarchs.

Does this matter? Of course it does. The problem for me is I don’t like who Trump surrounds himself with either, particularly that bully-thug Chris Christie. I also can’t support him because he fails on several key issues that are most important to me (see video below for more).

But this isn’t about me. This is about the American voter, and the more time passes, the more I understand the motivations of the vast majority of Trump supporters. It isn’t xenophobia or racism, it’s a vote against the status quo and the way they’ve strip mined and destroyed this country. It’s a FU vote and a major gamble, but it’s not as irrational or hateful as you might think.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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Michael Krieger

As far as my academic and professional background, I attended college at Duke University where I earned a double major in Economics and Spanish. After completing my studies in 2000, I took a job at Lehman Brothers where I worked with the Oil analyst in the Equity Research Department. In 2005, I joined Sanford C. Bernstein where I served as the Commodities Analyst on the trading floor. About halfway through my time there, I started to branch out and write opinions on bigger picture “macro” topics that no one else at the firm was covering. These opinion pieces were extremely popular throughout the global investment community, and I traveled extensively providing advice to some of the largest mutual funds, pension funds and hedge funds in the world. I loved my job, but as time passed I started to educate myself about how the monetary and financial system functions and what I discovered disgusted me. I no longer felt satisfied working within the industry, and I resigned in January 2010. At that point, I started a family investment office and continued to write macro pieces on economic, social and geopolitical topics. That summer, I drove cross country for six weeks and ultimately decided to leave the crowded streets of Manhattan for the open spaces of Boulder, Colorado, where I currently reside.