The US Chamber of Commerce is upset. For years, they have shaped Republican policy, spending millions of dollars trying to push the Republican Party towards a business-first economic message that seems incapable of talking about anything but “job creators.” The most special of special interests, the Chamber is by far the largest lobbying organization in the United States, generally backing “pro-business” Republicans who they think will fight for their goals above all else. They find social conservatism distasteful at best, and a liability to their supposedly winning economic message at worst — a message which has nevertheless struggled to secure any wins. In 2012, Mitt Romney was crippled by his inability to make economic appeals to anyone not already represented by the Chamber.
And now, in 2016, there’s Donald Trump. The presumptive Republican nominee disagrees with the Chamber on nearly every issue. Worse still, he has spent his campaign railing against the lobbyist-owned Republican establishment the Chamber has spent millions over the years to create. Now, the Chamber spends its time live-tweeting critiques of Trump’s trade policy speeches, clearly miffed that the Republican nominee doesn’t ask for their edits beforehand.
The growing rift within the Republican Party is often blamed on the Tea Party, or on Trump, but it has existed for years, exacerbated by the Chamber’s influence. They are the reason many Republican elites fail to offer anything to the middle class except a vague suggestion that workers’ economic prospects might improve if only their bosses were richer. Continue Reading