April 22, 2024

As Brian Beutler pointed out in his Off Message newsletter, this was worthy of alarm bells: “The question of whether elites, particularly center-right elites, choose to abide fascism is central to the survival of democracy.” In a later post, Beutler dove deeper into Dimon’s rhetoric, and found evidence that whatever ties that might have bound him to the more high-flown ideals of our democracy were fraying:

I’d bet a large sum of money that Dimon knows Donald Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election. I’d bet almost as much that Dimon knows Trump has promised to establish a dictatorship on “day one”; that he has demanded immunity for any crimes he committed from 2017-2020, and any that he might commit from 2025 onward…. And yet to hasten another round of tax cuts and reduced bank regulation, Dimon will tell the world he thinks Trump is a populist everyman who gets a bad rap.

There’s no way to know for sure whether the political media will successfully discern the con of Dimon plumping Trump as a “populist everyman,” especially given the fact that over the course of the Trump era, they have continually conflated “populism” with “boorishness.” Still, this isn’t the worst development from the perspective of those who are running Democratic campaigns this year—it would be ideal to raise the salience of a Wall Street embrace of Trump, especially considering Biden’s vastly superior record on labor. As TNR contributor KJ Boyle documented at length, life for the average worker got vastly worse during Trump’s reign.

Biden’s vital corrections to that grim era may, in fact, be the very reason that Dimon is looking to the orchestrator of the attacks on the U.S. Capitol for relief. It wouldn’t be the first time such an alliance was attempted: Back in 1933, a cabal of financiers attempted to orchestrate what came to be known as “the Business Plot,” a plan to overthrow President Roosevelt’s government via an ersatz uprising of aggrieved veterans. They made the mistake of asking retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, the famously repentant author of War Is a Racket to lead it, only to learn the hard way what a blunder it was to ask a man of great integrity to lead a campaign against democracy when he instead sold the coup plotters out. Suffice it to say, Donald Trump does not offer similar impediments.