For years now, pundits have been tantalized by the notion that Donald Trump would make an historic pivot, roll back his most chaotic ideas, and return to the comfortably narrow range of political debate. During the campaign, Trump always frustrated this triumph of hope over experience. But in the last several days, Trump has actually pivoted.
It’s just that he’s pivoted into Jeb Bush.
Coinciding with (and presumably motivated by) the ceremonial throwing-under-the-bus of Steve Bannon, Trump flip-flopped on at least half a dozen campaign promises just on Wednesday, in an embrace of the politics of National Economic Council director and ex–Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, who I guess is honorary president now.
Some may breathe a sigh of relief that Trump has ditched his white-supremacist sidekick and thrown in his lot with global cooperation and harmony (though the continued presence of Jeff Sessions and the rise of a national deportation force suggests Bannonism is more alive than Bannon, at least in some areas).
But Cohn-ism is also deeply harmful to any American outside of an executive suite. The new agenda is rooted in aggrandizing the economic power of the 1 percent and keeping the tide of corporate welfare flowing. It turns out Trump doesn’t resent elites; he just wants their approval.