What is the Washington Cartel?  Who are they? What do they want?

Senator Cruz has referred to a “Washington Cartel” on more than one occasion during this year’s Republican primary campaign.  I’m not exactly sure whom he includes in the group and what he thinks their agenda is but I believe they are the same folks I have been writing about and railing against for ten years.

I want to thank the Senator for coining the term because it fits neatly into my thesis that “We the People” have had very little to say about what happens in America for some time.  I believe our government is and has been owned “lock, stock and barrel” by the Washington Cartel for several decades.

So what makes up this cartel?  Tea Party activists have loosely referred to them as the establishment.  I have referred to them as globalists along with other terms to indicate they no longer have American interests at heart.  Some call them “crony capitalists” or purveyors of a new world order.

President Reagan believed in a sovereign America and insisted on rules-based, fair trade.  The Washington Cartel believes in free (laissez faire) trade and open borders.  They think that we don’t need to produce things in America anymore.  They have bought into the flawed theory of post-industrialism which is the idea that advanced economies don’t have to manufacture products any longer.  They believe an advanced economy can be sustained by a service and financial sector alone.

The Washington Cartel is made up of investment bankers, Wall Street CEOs, trans-national corporate CEOs and others who own enough of our political leaders that they control virtually everything they need to keep pushing their global agenda.  They push for open borders, laissez faire trade, and tax avoidance for their overseas profits.  Through campaign donations and other means, they control enough of our political leaders to do whatever they see fit. They decide what legislation gets passed and what gets blocked regardless of what the voters want.

The Washington Cartel has held our government in a tight grip for a long time and the negative consequences are becoming increasingly clear.  Resistance and anger continue to grow because no matter what the voter does, nothing changes.

Now that we have another presidential campaign before us, the anger is reaching epic proportions.  What is the locus of this anger?  I believe it centers on the lack of progress on the economy and, in particular, a persistent lack of jobs and wage stagnation.  This anxiety about jobs and the economy is not a partisan issue.  On the left, unions are upset about millions of jobs outsourced to foreign nations.  On the right, small business owners and employees have lost their businesses.  Most Americans know someone who has lost their job or business to foreign competition.  They attribute this to bad trade deals/policy and immigration.

The vast majority of Americans know that when we ship 0ver 30% of our manufacturing jobs overseas and allow cheap, illegal workers to work in our factories, the eventual outcome is not going to be good.  This is the result of open borders and laissez faire trade.

Along comes Donald Trump to gather up the angry Republican voters, and that propels him to the top of the Republican heap.  And, out of nowhere comes Bernie Sanders doing the same thing on the Democrat side.  Political pundits see this phenomenon as separate and therefore minor problems in each party. I think it is a much broader uprising from the political center affecting both parties in different ways.  If this anger is left unaddressed, the entire political process will be upended in the very near future.

What have “The Donald” and “The Bernie” been espousing to marshal these angry citizens into a constituency?  While they agree on little, their interviews and stump speeches always include railing against illegal immigration and bad trade deals.  These issues have caused the loss of millions of American jobs, the loss of our manufacturing base, a shrinking middle class and a fading American Dream.

How many campaigns have you suffered through hearing candidates say that jobs and the economy are the top priority?  I cringe every time I hear a politician call for Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!  When asked what they will do or have done to fix our broken immigration system and our flawed trade policies, they quickly change the subject.

What makes the 2016 campaign different is there are two surprise candidates who have seized this moment and tapped into the discontent and outright anger amongst voters of all stripes.  Messrs. Trump and Sanders are telling the voters – vote for me and I will fix our bad trade deals and illegal worker problems.

So I say to Messrs. Trump and Sanders: Keep taking on the Washington Cartel.  Stay in the race and keep beating this drum until the “Washington Cartel” can no longer ignore Main Street, USA.

One thing we can say with some certainty is that the constituency supporting The Donald and The Bernie will not be ignored.  Both political parties will eventually suffer the consequences if this anger isn’t addressed.  We also know that the anger of this constituency centers on a lack of jobs and an anemic economy.

Rest assured this will be a very interesting and significant election cycle, and trade policy and immigration are subjects that will not fade away.

Frank Shannon served in the U.S. Army, was an engineering/operations manager for AT&T for 27 years, was the owner of a small manufacturing business for 23 years, served as Colorado Chair of the Coalition for a Prosperous America and moved to Mesquite in 2013.