By Michael Schwarz,
Former President Donald Trump’s next generation of foot soldiers have begun preparing for the long game.
That game, as Trump’s supporters have learned in recent years, will involve wresting control of powerful federal agencies from arrogant career bureaucrats and then making those agencies — should they still exist in some form — subordinate to the sovereign American electorate.
According to Politico, a group of young D.C.-based conservatives already has plans in motion to achieve that goal.
Meet the group training young, Trumpian conservatives to staff the next Republican White House👇 https://t.co/tyzF8J1L0I
— POLITICO (@politico) November 3, 2023
American Moment, a small conservative organization founded in 2021 and backed by Republican Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio, has set up shop in an office on Pennsylvania Avenue, east of the U.S. Capitol.
The group’s goal should warm the hearts of anti-government conservatives everywhere. “On the agenda: How to take over the federal government, one junior staff position at a time,” according to Politico.
American Moment has focused on both practical concerns and political principles.
On the practical front, the organization has developed summer fellowships and D.C. internships that help build databases of talented young people who could serve the next Republican administration, not as Cabinet officials but as aides and staffers.
The group’s principles, meanwhile, are reflected in its long-term plan, which Politico described as to “wage war on the ‘deep state’ and entrench the populist political revolt that began with the Trump administration.”
This organization of young conservatives — to put it mildly — has taken on a challenge of historic proportions.
Since the late 19th century, progressives have steadily and lovingly build their administrative state into a behemoth. And they have proven themselves uniquely suited to the task. After all, they adore government.
Progressives, in fact, have the natural temperament of the relentless busybody. They need to regulate other people’s affairs the way a drowning man needs oxygen.
Conservatives, on the other hand, have always preferred what Thomas Jefferson called “a noiseless course.”
“[I]f we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy,” Jefferson wrote in 1802.
Thus, when it comes to staffing bureaucracies, conservatives begin at a disadvantage.
Another challenge lay in recruiting young people, whose directionless enthusiasm and relative lack of knowledge makes them natural leftists. Then, of course, the propaganda they absorb in universities helps inflame this tendency.
Recent evidence, however, suggests that some younger people have trended conservative. The Hill noted in July, for instance, that high-school boys have drifted rightward just as high-school girls have drifted leftward. As the culture descends further into madness, we might expect an even more pronounced conservative reaction.
To their credit, American Moment also recognized a major problem with the Trump administration. In short, notwithstanding all his appealing ideas, the 45th president had trouble finding good help.
To be sure, some of this might have stemmed from Trump’s inexperience with the D.C. establishment. Otherwise, one struggles to understand how he could have opposed neoconservative foreign policy goals, such as perpetual war and regime change, while simultaneously bringing a war hawk like John Bolton into his administration.
Finally, if it plans to dislodge the existing deep state, American Moment will have a lengthy fight on its hands.
More than a decade ago, I visited D.C. with a friend from graduate school, a fellow historian and liberty-loving conservative. As we walked the streets and glanced around at all the imposing buildings that housed various federal agencies — buildings that projected authority and permanence — he made a remark that I have never forgotten.
“I’ll tell you,” my friend said, “if the Founders could see this, they’d say, ‘You know what, we’ll take our chances in the British Empire.’”
Thus, American Moment faces a challenge of historic proportions indeed.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.