Who is the GOP establishment? Part One

There name is said all the time in politics.  The Establishment.  But who are they?  Who is in this amorphous group?  Do they all meet somewhere and have a secret handshake?

If I were Alex Jones these would be easy questions to answer (in case you’re wondering Jones would answer the questions – evil globalists, bankers/businessmen/the Council on Foreign Relations/Bildeberg Group/Masons, and they all meet a Bohemian Grove annually).

But I am not a raving nut so it’s not that easy for me to answer those questions. So it’s going to take a few posts.

To start off with let’s look at what the Establishment is not anymore. The Establishment is not some group of Northeastern liberals trying to keep hold on to the party.  That idea of the Establishment was born out of the Goldwater/Rockefeller convention_aug08_4_631fight.  It was the Establishment – wealthy, connected to big business, socially moderate, internationalists, who accepted the basic tenets of the New Deal and Keynesian economics – who first put Eisenhower over Taft, who made Nixon accept their platform in 1960, and who heavily supported Nelson Rockefeller over Barry Goldwater.  Calling them the Establishment was a rallying cry for Goldwater supporters in the South and small towns we were generally distrustful of wealth, the Northeast, and big cities.

If you want to learn more about this fight I strongly recommend you read Rick Perlstein’s amazing book Before the Storm.

The supporters of Eisenhower and Rockefeller were the Establishment because they came from money and well connected families in New England and the Northeast.  They went to Harvard and Yale. They were the elites.

Following 1964, this group’s power in the party declined as both parties became more ideological and as the GOP became Southern party in makeup, ideology and leadership.  In fact now, since the Republican party on a national level (including the House and Senate) has been annihilated in New England, New York and New Jersey, it is silly to say that the Establishment are still the people trying to make the GOP the party of Nelson Rockefeller or George Romney.



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