Home | About | Donate

How Trump the Populist Became Trump the Corporate Shill


How Trump the Populist Became Trump the Corporate Shill

Robert Weissman

Just before his inauguration six months ago, Donald Trump said in a news conference that pharmaceutical companies are "getting away with murder."

Trump correctly noted that "we're the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don't bid properly" because of a law that bars the government from negotiating with drug companies and lowering prices for Medicare beneficiaries.


All America is beginning to wonder just what will happen to us and our country if this autocratic billionaire has his way and continues to change us from a democracy into an oligarchy! The thing is that he is really doing it too. He is intentionally changing things towards that end and seeking to make those changes permanent.

It really looks like people were expecting (more or less) to see a more typical conservative republican administration kicking ass and teaching those liberals a thing or two! However, we are all seeing that Trump is going way past that more standard Reaganesque conservative bias. Trump is actually changing us from being a democracy into something else...

...just what that will end up being isn't all that clear but it is starting to look like it won't be what even the republicans were truly expecting.


Mr. Weissman,

Trump has never been a populist. I lived in New Jersey for more than 20 years, his stomping ground along with New York, and he was always known as a sleazebag and a crook among New Jerseyans (it's a small state). I knew people who sold high end real estate who couldn't STAND him because he was personally disgusting and often shafted them. So his actions as president were not surprising. He doesn't care about being presidential, honest, decent, honorable, or any other quality human beings hold highest -- just rich and powerful among the low-lifes. I wonder why the Republicans cannot see him as he really is? I suspect they're naive and stupid.


Trump never was a populist. He's a cutthroat billionaire businessman. Whether the promises made to coal miners, the protectioinist talk about re-instating tariffs to help the manufacturing sector, the pullback on empire, etc., it was all a ruse. He cast his campaign net as wide as possible to snag the gullible. Trump, or Pence, or Ryan or any other R exist for one reason: protect and advance the interests of wealth and corporations. This includes deregulation, lowering income tax rates (while increasing regressive ones), dismantling the welfare state, breaking public and private unions, and controllig the narrative that everyone is directly reponsible for their station in life.

Trump as populist... Ol' Debs would be spinning like a top in his grave if he heard this one.


I think the Repubs are deluding themselves that they can control the Trumpenstein monster they created.

Are they naive? Maybe they are just so cynical that they are blinded towards what is truly happening? Repubs figure that first they will get the things they want by letting Trump take the heat and then they will sweep in and htake over from him. Hmmn? Maybe you are right about their being naive and stupid after all.


.... and Hillary Bush-Clinton has been a corporate shill forever .......


and what has DT done which is not 100% Rethugrican?


Well, most of them are egotists, too. Maybe none of us can predict what will happen...


"The improbable claims from a flamboyant New York real-estate developer who once hawked Angus steaks. Millions of Americans bought Trump's promises and were justifiably upset at a government that works for the powerful rather than the people. Trump made a mockery of his pledge, bringing the same corporate lobbyists he denounced into his government now working through former employees and representatives and giant corporations designing and carrying out policy to an extent unequaled in American history."

(had to hear that final paragraph again, begging your pardon slightly edited)


The US is becoming a fascist country. From nakedcapitalism.com:

"In early 1944, the New York Times asked Vice-President Henry Wallace to, as Wallace noted, 'write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?'

Vice-President Wallace’s answer to those questions was published in the New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan.

'The really dangerous American fascists,' Wallace wrote, 'are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information.

'With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.'

In this, Wallace was using the classic definition of the word 'fascist'—the definition Mussolini had in mind when he claimed to have invented the word. (It was actually Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who wrote the entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana that said: 'Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.' Mussolini, however, affixed his name to the entry, and claimed credit for it.)

As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is, 'A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.'"

I wonder what Americans who fought the fascists in WWII would think of the today's US. If any country is doomed to repeat past mistakes it's the the "exceptional" United States of Amnesia.


My father (and mother) grew up in the (great) depression, He in the CCC's and then the Army Air Corps in WWII, and at the end of his life when little Georgy W came to town, Dad was so fucking mad that, if he had his real teeth he could have chewed nails.


I suppose this author missed Trump's published policy positions about huge corporate tax cuts, a big military buildup, "market based healthcare reform", slashing regulations against corporations across the board, etc.

No, this author thought they guy was actually a populist.

Echoes of the alt-left absurd arguments in support of Trump during the campaign. Oh yes, the guy was a real populist only to be captured goes the pathetic meme!

Next thing you know, this author will tell us how he's been captured by the neocons, and the left made him become a war monger.

I find it truly bizarre that the alt-left projected left ideology onto Trump's "drain the swamp", while they never asked directly "Drain what from what swamp?".


The "swamp" Trump and his White Nationalist side kick had in mind was of course the "swamp" of the "Administrative State".

Oh yes of course, he nixed TPP. Wall Street has been devastated!!!

The author eventually comes around to a comprehensive acknowledgement that Trump himself has taken all of these actions himself, in regard to appointments, etc.

So drop the vaccuous meme already that the globalist union busting, job outsourcing billionaire Trump was ever to be "captured".

Good clucking grief.


Trumpo the Klown was NEVER any kind of real populist. He just played one, with the help of our money-grubbing M$M, on TV. It is deeply tragic for our country and the world that so many suckers believed his shameless, deceitful bullshit. Six interminable months in office and he has already betrayed them and made the rest of the world cringe at his incompetency and recklessness.


More info about Wallace as FDR's VP is found in Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" on YouTube. In brief, FDR wanted Wallace to succeed him and had endorsed him for the Democratic nomination for the 1944 convention. A cabal of Demo insiders (much like today's DNC) rigged the convention and eventually got the nomination for Truman, a mediocre man without any of the progressive ideas and vision of Wallace. Truman went on to approve the dropping of two A-bombs on Japan and sign into law the 1947 National Security Act which was the seed crystal for our current and ubiquitous surveillance state. Wallace would not have done these things and I consider it a tragedy that our country lost out on what could have been an exceptional presidency.


Mine lived during the Depression too. My dad was too old for the army; he worked in the Bureau of Economic Warfare. My mom helped build Liberty ships. After WWII they both worked, and met, at the ILWU, one of the few left-wing unions that McCarthy, J Edgar Hoover, and the Taft-Hartley Act didn't destroy. I think they were heart-broken by the destruction of labor unions under Reagan, both dying in 1989.

Today we're feeling the impact of that destruction -- there is no longer a counterbalance to the corporate and plutocratic power in the US.


Thanks. I hadn't realized that FDR still supported Wallace. Wallace ran as a 3rd party candidate. My dad worked on his campaign.


Do not let the repugs off so easy: naive and stupid, yes but I would add that they use the emperor of evil for their own self-aggrandizement (lower taxes on uber-wealthy and corporations, dismantle the social safety net, beef up defense even more, and ingratiate all their moneyed and corporate donors in the process)...their intentions are inhumane and cruel. The best part is that they are hitching themselves to a runaway train wreck and will plummet off the cliff with him and his trash tribe.


Sadly though the groundwork for the transformation was laid out far before Trump and his GOP buddies got into power. They just have the privilege of hammering in the final nail of the coffin.


Yea, he was a crony of Roy Cohn. Enough said!


The Powell memo. It's the blueprint for fascism and it has been wildly successful. Most Americans do not even know about its existence.