The establishment, like the deep state, is not a monolith, meaning that, as vulgarly conceived, it does not exist, and it never has. Karl Marx understood as much. In his analysis of the French coup that brought to power a “caricature of the old Napoleon” by the name of Bonaparte, “whom even his enemies do not make out to be a sorcerer,” Marx observed that it was only through divisions amongst the ruling class that a classless usurper—with his “childishly silly proposals”—was able to consolidate control over the state.
First as tragedy, then as farce, then as Donald J. Trump. In the 21st-century satire that is real life, we once again saw an establishment divided, but few perceived it as such. Writers left and right saw the winner of the most votes, Hillary Clinton, as the singular expression of establishment interests, and the former first lady who gave $100,000 speeches at Goldman Sachs, found it hard to shake off that descriptor.