The two Donald Trumps

The GOP establishment is panicking in the streets. Sandwich boards reading "The End is Near" may soon become the uniform of the Republican elite, and the #NeverTrump crowd is gearing up for Armageddon. Trumpocalypse 2016 is upon us.


Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE's coronation as the presumptive nominee has left many GOP elites in a collective how-did-this-happen stupor. They're shocked that the candidate who stood center-podium in every debate — or every debate he bothered to attend — went on to win the nomination.

The establishment's contempt for Trump supporters is second only to Trump supporters' contempt for the establishment. But it's no surprise that your average thousand-dollar-suit-wearing, Ivy-League-grad political leader sees Trump through vastly different eyes than your average working-class American.

The Republican divide is not ideological. It's not conservatism vs. populism. To put it in –isms, I think it's best described as the establishment's let-them-eat-cake-ism vs. the Trump supporters' will-I-have-a-job-next-week-ism.

What the establishment sees: A guy with no clear ideology.

Flip through a recent issue of National Review or The Weekly Standard and you'll find declaration after declarations that Trump is not a true conservative. The conservative media applauds ideological entrenchment, even though it is responsible for the current gridlock in Washington. They promote a gear-jamming ideologue because many of their readers are ideologues. These publications are nothing more than conservative versions of Salon or The Huffington Post.

What a Trump supporter sees: A negotiator who will bring checks and balances back to Washington.

Trump constantly touts his ability to "make deals," and while his touting is often outrageously hyperbolic, his willingness to be a dealmaker is appealing. The presidency was not designed to thwart, threaten or leap over Congress. Lawmaking power is enumerated to Congress by the Constitution and that's how Trump supporters want it to work.

In his press conference after the original Super Tuesday, Trump said "You can't go around just signing ... executive orders. ... Does [Obama] ever go and deal with Congress anymore? Does he ever speak to the Senate? Does he ever speak with congressmen and get them into a room and get things done?"

Trump supporters want an executive, not a king.

What the establishment sees: An extreme view on illegal immigration.

"What Donald Trump is proposing is a wall that can't be built," said former Florida Gov. and presidential candidate Jeb Bush (R) on a radio show called "The Cats Roundtable." "It's not conservative and it's not realistic," Bush continued, and he's hardly alone in his criticism. Just Google "Trump border wall" and you could spend weeks swimming in all the skepticism from Republicans.

What Trump supporters see: A guy who understands that when he negotiates with Congress, he will get less than what he asks for, so he asks for everything: a great big border wall and mass deportations.

He knows he won't get that, but he also knows that if you show up at the bargaining table with all-out-surrender as your opening offer, you've already lost — just ask Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Lincoln Project expands GOP target list, winning Trump ire China sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong MORE (R-Fla.). Democrats wouldn't be caught dead negotiating under those circumstances, but the GOP establishment has decided it's a sign of good leadership to meet the other side three-quarters of the way down the road.

What the establishment sees: A guy who doesn't play their game of good manners and mutual respect for the political aspirations of everyone in the room.

Good manners are overrated. After all, they didn't manage to carry any of the 16 non-Trump candidates to the nomination. They didn't work for GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 and they didn't work for John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSarah Palin offers Harris advice: 'Don't get muzzled' McSally gaining ground on Kelly in Arizona Senate race: poll Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump MORE in 2008.

What Trump supporters see: A guy who does his own dirty work.

The media are good at labeling people and forcing them to wear the stamp of one defect on their forehead. For Trump, it's the word "bully." Set aside the naivete for a moment and recognize that everyone who ran for president is a bully (except Ben Carson, but how did that work out?). In his article, "Jeb Bush Is Meaner Than He Looks," Larry Sabato explains: "Most presidential candidates have a streak of ruthlessness in them — even the nice guys. Make that especially the nice guys. They're mild-mannered and courteous in public, so someone else has to do the dirty work of winning for them."

Trump takes some cheap shots — most of them are silly and not worth the time the media spends on them — but while most Trump supporters like him in spite of these cheap shots and not because of them, they respect that he has the spine to do his own dirty work in plain view of the voters.

The establishment should take the sage advice of Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans Cheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama MORE (R-Tenn.) and "chill." If Trump really is the spectacular dealmaker he claims to be, both sides should be seeing the same Donald Trump come convention time.

Zipperer is assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College.