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Tomgram: Nomi Prins, Trump Wins (Even If He Loses)

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Jared Kushner, Campaign Adviser-in-Law

Ivanka's husband, real-estate developer Jared Kushner, tried to persuade one and all that his ownership of the New York Observer didn't make the paper's endorsement of The Donald any less objective.

Before the turn of the twentieth century, the Stillmans (bankers) married the Rockefellers (industrialists) to breed young Stillman-Rockefellers who controlled a chunk of the banking sector for decades while advising multiple presidents. Depending on the fate of Donald Trump's presidential bid, perhaps the 2009 Jared-Ivanka merger (wedding) will someday be seen in the same light. It was, after all, witnessed by an array of movie stars, television personalities, and politicians like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and present New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

If Trump is elected, Kushner could wind up appointed, say, Secretary of Real Estate. (Okay, that post doesn't actually exist -- yet.) Kushner set up critical meetings between Trump and key Republican dignitaries and leaders that were meant to elevate his father-in-law's relationship with the party establishment.

In early May, the New York Times reported that "Donald J. Trump has asked his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to begin quietly compiling a blueprint for a transition team should he win the White House in November." If his recent actions are a guide, Kushner will undoubtedly try to snag some significant establishment players as the race progresses.

Paul Manafort, New Campaign Manager

Manafort, a man of controversy, comfortable with wealth and luxury (though refusing any cash compensation for being on the Trump Train), has 40 years of work for the Republican Party establishment under his belt. In addition to being a former principal at the lobbying firm of Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, he played a leading role in George H.W. Bush's nomination at the 1988 convention, Bob Dole's in 1996, George W. Bush's in 2000, and John McCain's in 2008.

For a campaign selling anti-establishmentism, having a manager from the inner circles of D.C. might seem like sheer Trumpocrisy, but such seeming contradictions are the essence of The Donald.

Manafort, by the way, has kept an apartment in Manhattan's Trump Tower, which, as we know, is "one of the world's elite luxury residences, catering to public figures, athletes, celebrities, and other affluent sophisticates." In other words, he's establishment with a view.

Michael Glassner, Deputy Campaign Manager

Glassner is another classic insider. An adviser to the George W. Bush campaign of 2000, he became a top adviser to Sarah Palin in the 2008 election (which may have been a recommendation in Trump's eyes). He had also once been an adviser to Bob Dole and the Southwest regional political director for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. Glassner is one of the small team of Trump's establishment guys reportedly responsible for his chaotic preparations for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Donald F. McGahn II, Chief Legal Counsel

McGahn, one of Washington's best-connected lawyers, is legal counsel for Trump and a partner at Jones Day, the elite law firm that lists anti-trust and government regulation as its top specialties. By February 2016, the firm had already received more than $500,000 in payments from the Trump campaign.

According to MSNBC's Zachary Roth, McGahn "was a crucial player in creating the out-of-control campaign finance system that his boss now denounces." He has helped connect Trump with Republican congressional leaders at his D.C. offices, further dispelling the myth that Trump is anti-establishment.

Steven Mnuchin, National Finance Chairman

Not to be outdone by Hillary's Wall Street connections, Trump recently bagged a former Goldman Sachs partner to run his fundraising operation (the one he used to say he didn't need). In terms of Mnuchin's own political contributions, like the firm he once worked for, he's spread the wealth around. He donated to both Romney and Obama. He also contributed to Hillary Clinton's Senate and presidential campaigns. In 2012, he donated $20,000 to the Republican National Committee. Overall, Mnuchin has contributed more than $120,000 to political groups over the past two decades, slightly favoring Democrats.

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Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's Tomdispatch.com ("a regular antidote to the mainstream media"), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and, most recently, the author of Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch (more...)
 

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