One of the strongest arguments in favor of Trump is that if he won it would represent a stunning rebuke to the governing class in Washington—of both parties. That is one reason why Trump is essentially running as an independent, attacking both parties after having effected a hostile takeover of the Republican Party.
I’ll have more to say about this starting Friday, but for now it is important to take in a story the Washington Post’s “Wonkblog” reported a couple weeks ago that has not received the attention it ought:
By Jeff Guo
Recently, Johns Hopkins University political scientists Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg conducted a study of the unglamorous D.C. bureaucrat. These are the people who keep the federal government humming — the Hill staffers, the project managers and all those desk workers who vaguely describe themselves as “analysts.”
As Bachner and Ginsberg argue, civil servants exercise real power over how the government operates. They write and enforce rules and regulations. . . For all their influence, though, nearly all of these technocrats are unelected, and they spend most of their time with people who are just like them — other highly educated folk who jog conspicuously in college tees and own a collection of NPR totes. . .
In their new book, which is part ethnography and part polemic, Bachner and Ginsberg argue that Washington’s bureaucrats have grown too dismissive of the people they are supposed to serve. Bachner and Ginsberg recently sent around an informal survey to selected members of this technocratic class, and the results, they say, were shocking.
“Many civil servants expressed utter contempt for the citizens they served,” they write in their book, “What Washington Gets Wrong.” “Further, we found a wide gulf between the life experiences of ordinary Americans and the denizens of official Washington. We were left deeply worried about the health and future of popular government in the United States.”
This is not rocket science: if our “public servants” disdain the public they are supposed to be serving, then they not serving the public interest but their own. That’s why a lot of people are supporting Trump. (There’s quite a bit of poll data showing that Trump’s stances on trade and immigration are not the big draws for his candidacy.) Whether Trump, if elected, is the right person to do something serious about this (term limits, yesterday’s Trump gimmick, is not serious) is another question. Stay tuned for that.