Boy howdy, I love a good conspiracy theory! The fake moon landing. The guy on the grassy knoll. And now here comes the Deep State.
Almost certainly you’ve heard of this if you follow far right-wing websites. The theory in a nutshell: President Donald Trump was duly chosen by the people of this country, and that triggered a secret, pernicious, and relentless campaign to undermine his power and delegitimize his election. This effort is led by —take your pick: A) a shadow government dedicated to denying voters any influence, B) a clandestine rear guard of the Obama administration hiding out in the bureaucracy (my guess would be the basement of the Department of Agriculture — no one would ever look there!) or C) everyone in D.C. who hates the fact an interloper won. Hmmm. Come to think of it, where are the Clintons?
Now in fairness, the president’s defenders aren’t entirely loopy in this belief. D.C. resists change like a cat resists a bath. Some Democratic members of Congress have spoken openly about confronting, obstructingand derailing as much of the Trump agenda as possible because they think his policies are wrong, he ridicules their ideas, and his vision of America is wildly different from their own. Democratic Representative Ted Lieu from California even tweeted “#We are DeepState” to describe “whistleblowers, press, judges, legislators, cooks, teachers” who are resisting Mr. Trump’s rule.
As a member of the press, I can tell you I have been invited to no meetings, so I don’t know what he’s talking about. And I have no idea how cooks are involved.
Nonetheless, for the president’s defenders, such declamations dovetail with the other “evidence” of a conspiracy — the damaging leaks, allegations about Russia, scorching headlines, court rulingsand protests which have plagued the new president. If you think he is doing a fine job, it’s easy to see this as the workings of a cabal trying to unfairly and un-Constitutionally destroy him.
But here is the thing — of course the Democratic opposition wants President Trump marginalized, just as Republicans wanted the same for Barack Obama. There is nothing secret about that and it’s not a theory. It’s a fact of life in D.C. It even has a name. Hardball politics. And every new president must learn to play.