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Paul Krugman Explains What Drives GOP Establishment Support of Trump

Last updated on July 17th, 2023 at 09:01 pm

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*

Many Americans may be under the misguided belief that establishment Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are solidly behind Donald J. Trump for president due to his extremism, bigotry, misogyny and overall disgust at anyone not white. However true that may be, and it is true according to the past eight years of Republican legislative efforts and opposition to equal rights for all Americans, Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman thinks he’s figured out why the leadership of the GOP is staying with Trump despite he appears to be taking the Republican Party straight to the proverbial Hell. That after-death excursion to Hades is something that is not happening, but more on that in another article.

In Mr. Krugman’s column on Friday, he wasted a few of his 800-plus word allotment to express what many Americans already know about the GOP standard bearer. Paul Krugman called Donald Trump “an ignorant, wildly dishonest, erratic, immature, bullying egomaniac.” He forgot racist, misogynist and bigot, but railing on Trump was not the subject of his column; explaining why top-level Republicans still support Trump was. Apparently the still firm support from the GOP leadership after the disgusting “second amendment remedy” remark prompted Krugman to weigh in on the Republicans who “don’t care about shunning racism, preserving democracy and freedom of religion, or…avoiding nuclear war” because they still stand behind Trump.

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Krugman reminds readers that all of the GOP’s proposals are “con jobs,” and that they only want to cut taxes for the rich,” and that a Hillary Clinton victory will make their tax-cutting frenzy impossible. Krugman even came up with a “magic number,” thirty-four, that’s driving the Republican leadership’s support for Trump.

Thirty-four (percent) is the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate for the federal tax rate enjoyed by the richest one-percent of income earners in 2013. That rate is a result of President Obama and Democrats’ Herculean battle to finally let the Bush tax cuts on the highest income expire from their previously low 28 percent. Every American, including the ultra-wealthy, still kept their “Bush tax cuts” up to about half-a-million dollars in income. Obviously, a Clinton victory will put a stake in the GOP’s heart and plan to slash taxes on the uber-rich as is their disastrous wont, but a Trump presidency will mean that Republicans can cut, if not eliminate, taxes on the rich permanently as remuneration to the Koch brothers for spending tens-of-millions to preserve control of Congress and state legislatures.

In fact, Krugman railed on the long lusted-after Republican dream of eliminating a tax that affects a minuscule percentage of the population; those with an estate valued at about $11 million. The average net worth of a middle class American is roughly $300 thousand, and that is only if they own their home outright; few American homeowners, by percentage,  actually don’t have to pay off a mortgage. The 50 percent of the working population living in poverty due to slave-wages likely have no net worth whatsoever.

The point of Krugman railing on the “estate tax” elimination is that it will only serve the needs of the very richest Americans, and why Republicans are despicable for supporting a hate-monger like Trump. They know Trump will be a rubber-stamp presidency of any tax elimination proposal for Americans in Trump’s income category. As Krugman put it, no American should be the least bit astonished that the Republican leadership and conservative punditry support Trump’s morally bankrupt and inherently racist agenda, or in Krugman’s words “made a Devil’s bargain with Trump” because he promises to implement their entire agenda.

It is curious that Mr. Krugman is just now expressing what many Americans knew as Trump’s Republican rivals fell during the primary, and especially after he won the GOP nomination. Perhaps it was the “second amendment remedy” comment that incited Krugman’s assault on the likes of Ryan and McConnell. Look, if leading Republicans supported Trump after he questioned the integrity of a highly-respected Hispanic judge because, as this column noted in early June, Donald Trump agreed with Ryan that Social Security has to go, then it can hardly be shocking that they’re with him after a Second Amendment remedy statement.

Some of the GOP leaders, and most of the base, may feign disgust over some of Trump’s remarks, either made on the stump or during interviews, but they agree in principle on everything Donald Trump represents because Republicans created the base that gave him the nomination. However, Mr. Krugman is right to rail on the Republican leadership because they supported Trump throughout each and every one of his stunningly outrageous statements.

Republicans are never going to change or alter their agenda of serving solely for the good of the richest Americans. That is not any kind of revelation because it is and has been the very foundation of conservatism since Ronald Reagan’s disastrous tax-cutting atrocity. Where Mr. Krugman accurately explained what is really different about the Republican movement with a bigoted fascist leading the Party was his remark that,

All that has happened this year is a move of those white nationalists from part of the supporting cast to a starring role.”

Truer words Krugman could not have uttered, and sadly, the preponderance of the bigoted white nationalists would suffer the same as the rest of the non-white, non-rich and non-Christian population under a Trump presidency and they all know it. But like the Republican leadership, they’ll put up with a world of economic badness and needless wars if they think their particular agenda is implemented, whether it is founded on enriching the already filthy rich or purging the nation of non-white non-Christians. It is, no matter how one appraises it, a bunch of malcontents “making a Devil’s bargain” for wealth or white supremacy no matter the cost in human terms or the existential threat to the continued existence of the United States.

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