If the ‘swamp’ is code for the entire bipartisan establishment, the country is in deep trouble.

When I was on Senate staff in the final years of the Bush administration, a faction of die-hard ideological conservatives — soon to be known as the “Tea Party” — had coalesced around Senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. I called them the “Alamo faction,” because they would rather go down in glorious defeat than compromise on any of their principles. Among the main targets of their ire were “earmarks”: the specific appropriation of different pots of money for a mind-boggling array of special interests.