First it was Luther Strange who went down to defeat. Then it was Bob Corker who, seeing the handwriting on the wall, threw in the towel. Then, the man behind it all, Steve Bannon, declared “all-out war” on the Establishment, announcing a targeting package of Senate Republican incumbents, including Roger Wicker in Mississippi.
Now, in the latest escalation of tensions, conservative leaders – Tea Party Patriots, Senate Conservatives Fund, & FreedomWorks – are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to resign for his failure to enact any part of the Trump agenda – a border wall, repealing Obamacare, and confirming conservative judges to the federal bench, to name but a few.
Think it can’t happen? Ask former House Speaker John Boehner.
Alongside Bannon’s declared “revolution” against the GOP is the well-moneyed Senate Conservatives Fund, led by former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, who is vowing to also target the same batch of Republican Senate incumbents:
Cuccinelli explained that his Senate Conservatives Fund plans to target seven out of the eight Republicans who will run for re-election in 2018, which includes Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Dean Heller (R-NV), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and John Barrasso (R-WY), a member of Senate leadership. Cuccinelli revealed, “We’re targeting everyone except for Ted Cruz.”
These entrenched Senators represent an established political machine that is in control of our government in Washington. They hold the leadership positions and have grown wealthy as a result of their power grab.
Consider Mitch McConnell’s net worth and how much it has grown in recent years on the salary of a member of Congress: A Senator’s salary was $75,100 in 1985 when McConnell began his Senate career but today is $174,000. As Majority Leader, though, McConnell earns a bit more, $193,400 annually.
But from 2007 to 2014, according to the Washington Post, McConnell’s net worth quadrupled. Today it’s estimated to be in the range of $22.8 million, and may be as high as $36.5 million, making him one of the wealthiest members of Congress and the richest in the Kentucky delegation.
This Establishment we are now at war with is very reminiscent of the most notorious political machine in US history, the infamous Tweed Ring – the Democratic political machine that ran New York City – that amassed great wealth from corruption and vote-stealing. Boss William Tweed, who ruled over the outfit in the 1860s and 1870s, presided over a ring that stole as much as $200 million.
But with a fed-up public, and the rise of reformers in the old Democratic Party, the Tweed Ring came crashing down at the hands of Samuel J. Tilden and by 1871 the gang was scurrying out of town like rats off a sinking ship.
Those old political machines, they say, don’t exist today. But they do, just in a different form and wearing a different suit. Corruption never ends; it just finds a new way inside the levers of power.
With the rise of new reformers like Chris McDaniel, Corey Stewart, Kelli Ward, and Roy Moore, and with a public angry at Establishment malfeasance, the cracks are beginning to spread.
So is this the beginning of a movement that will bring down the whole sordid house? Let us hope so.