On social media there has been a lot of discussion in the last year about the political theory of a war between the two rival elite factions of the American establishment since the 1960s known as “The Yankee and Cowboy War,” plus who is behind its current version, and how it’s affecting the Trump movement. So far, I haven’t seen a full explanation on how the war between the elites started and how it then morphed into a Uniparty war on Trump and his movement, nor how and why the conservative “cowboy” corporate elites from the 60s-70s ended their secret war against the liberal “yankee” eastern elites — by merging step by step during the 1980s-90s into the Uniparty of today.
The following tells the details on the history of the Cowboy and Yankee War theory between the two main factions of American elites in the 1960s-70s, how it then changed and merged to become the Uniparty, and where we are today with their supposed war against the neo-Cowboy Trump movement.
Mike Benz who worked in the Trump administration has been one of the people writing a lot about The Yankee and Cowboy War political theory on X.com along with his expositions on the “censorship industry” that has arisen in the last handful of years as a supposed part of that war. The censorship industry seems to be mostly comprised of academics and ex-government people seeking to make money off of selling their services to corporations and political elites who want certain information pushed and other information pulled from the public “conversation” by any means available. Either through propaganda, intimidation, bribery, or more and more by software programs and AI.
The Yankee and Cowboy War was a political non-fiction book from the early 1970s written by the ex-president of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Carl Oglesby, which was the prime mover of the anti-war movement in the 1960s:
Oglesby first came into contact with members of SDS in Ann Arbor in 1964. He wrote a critical article on American foreign policy in the Far East in the University of Michigan’s campus magazine. SDSers read it, and went to meet Carl at his family home to see if he might become a supporter of the SDS. As Oglebsy put it, “We talked. I got to thinking about things. As a writer, I needed a mode of action […] I saw that people were already moving, so I joined up.” He left Bendix in 1965 and became a full-time Research, Information, Publications (RIP) worker for SDS.
After leaving the SDS he became an important writer, teacher, and political theorist, at M.I.T. and Dartmouth College. Oglesby was forced out of SDS in 1969, after more left-wing members accused him of “being ‘trapped in our early, bourgeois stage’ and for not progressing into ‘a Marxist–Leninist perspective.’”
In 1970 he was a featured speaker at the “Left/Right Festival of Liberation” organized by the California Libertarian Alliance. This type of bridge building was not unlike Oglesby; three years earlier, he had written that, “…in a strong sense, the Old Right and the New Left are morally and politically coordinate.”
Oglesby moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he founded the Assassination Information Bureau, an organization that has been credited with bringing about the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations. He wrote several books on the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the various competing theories that attempt to explain it. According to Oglesby, Kennedy was killed by “a rightist conspiracy formed out of anti-Castro Cuban exiles, the Syndicate, and a Cowboy oligarchy, supported by renegade CIA and FBI agents.”
In The Cowboy and Yankee War the author says that his theory, which became a popular topic and inspired books by other writers and academics, was based on the work of two highly influential political writers: Historian Prof. Carroll Quigley, who taught at Harvard, Princeton, and Georgetown — and whom Bill Clinton cited as an influential mentor; and the seminal work of the sociologist who coined the concept of The Power Elite in his book of that name, C. Wright Mills.
To really understand the concepts Oglesby writes about in The Cowboy and Yankee War it is necessary to be familiar with the theories of Quigley and Mills in order to get a fuller picture of which Ogelsby only gives a sketch of in his book.
C. Wright Mills is famous for his socio-political theory of The Power Elite, which states that America is ruled by a ruling class of moneyed elites who are led by a group among them which he calls The Power Elite. That theory is similar to James Burnham’s previously stated and still very influential theory of political power in America which he called The Managerial Elite. The difference between them is that Burnham taught that a class of corporate managers, the CEOs and directors of large corporations, were taking power away from the older elite Eastern establishment class aka the “old money” families of the Northeast. The idea is that the rich elite families that had dominated banking, industry, and politics in America since the Civil War and earlier, were being replaced in political influence as giant corporations became too large and complex for those elites to directly control. They needed experts, technocratic managers, who thereby formed a class who were replacing the old money families in political influence.
Some other journalists and sociologists claimed to have disproved Burnham’s theory by showing through their research into stock ownership, which Burnham had no access to when he came up with his theory, that the rich families mostly retained control through family offices, holding companies, and other complex financial means available to them. Just because you didn’t see a member of the original family as an executive or director that doesn’t necessarily mean they are not in control, i.e., they have representatives as executives and directors. And on top of that, the “technocrat managers” were in reality being assimilated into upper-class “high society” rather than creating a new managerial elite class for themselves.
Contrary to this view, the evidence presented in the final third of this chapter shows that (1) members of the upper class own a large share of the privately held corporate stock; (2) many superwealthy stockholding families in the upper class continue to be involved in the direction of major corporations through family offices, various types of investment partnerships, and holding companies; and (3) the professional managers of middle-level origins are assimilated into the upper class both socially and economically, and share the values of upper-class owners.
That data was incorporated into sociologist C. Wright Mills theory of The Power Elite, which postulates that the top leaders of various sectors of society socialize together and thereby have formed a cohesive and covalent bond as a ruling “elite class” in America.
Prof. Carroll Quigley in his books speaks about how the politics of the 20th century until the early 1960s, when he published, was very similar to what Mills had written. He said he was given access to the private historical files of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he revealed that the history of the 20th century was a story of an “Eastern Establishment” which had controlled American politics through various means at their disposal.
Quigley also taught that there arose a new elite class of rich and influential people after WWII, most of them from outside the Northeast elite class who had different social and political values than the old New York-Boston-Newport-Philadelphia-Washington nexus. The new elite class made their fortunes in the military-industrial complex (MIC), and in extractive industries (mining, oil, gas), land development, etc., mostly in what is called the Sun Belt states. Their political worldviews were similar to the pre-world war more libertarian, populist, and right-wing of the GOP who opposed American involvement in the world wars, and who called themselves nationalists. Those right-wing libertarians and populists included many Democrats from southern and western states who didn’t abandon the Democrat party till the 1960s-80s. They were attached to different political parties because of the region of the country they were from, but socially and politically they shared a similar conservative, religious, libertarian, and populist outlook. Their political leaders were people like Barry Goldwater from the GOP, or LBJ and Lloyd Bentsen from the Democrats.
Those socio-political theories and histories by Mills and Quigley shaped Oglesby’s “Yankee and Cowboy War” theory which posits that a conservative and libertarian elite class, mostly made up of a newer moneyed social class (rich after 1900) based mostly in the south and the west, mainly in Texas and California, whose membership included Democrats and Republicans, were at war with the older moneyed fiscally conservative but culturally liberal Eastern Establishment elites for control of the government — in order to control government spending for their own agendas.
The Eastern Establishment aka Yankee elites were similar to the Sun Belt Cowboy elites in that both were represented in both political parties, e.g., eastern elites like Nelson Rockefeller and George HW Bush were in the GOP while other eastern elites like Averell Harriman and the Kennedy family were Democrats. They were a single social class connected by long time family and business ties who had been the ruling class in America since the Civil War. They were being challenged for control of government by the newly rich conservative and libertarians mostly from the Sun Belt. That is what The Yankee and Cowboy War is about, specifically focusing on how that war led to the Kennedy killings and Watergate, among other things.
One thing he talks about is how he believes the mafia aka The Syndicate, was aligned with and worked with a group from the Cowboy faction of elites in the JFK assassination. That idea is based on the history of The Syndicate seeing themselves being betrayed by JFK after he allowed RFK as his Attorney General, to “go after organized crime,” which was mostly controlled by the Syndicate.
JFK had previously developed relationships with a few leading members of the Syndicate through various family and social connections in Las Vegas and Chicago, (e.g., his family owned the massive Merchandise Mart in Chicago, they sold it in 1998 for $1 billion in today’s dollars) and his father Joseph Kennedy had connections going back to the prohibition era when organized crime worked with the legal liquor business in America, Canada, and Great Britain to get past the alcohol ban in America by selling “medicinal alcohol.” The law said that medicinal alcohol was legal, so organized crime and the previous legal liquor businesses worked together to make or import alcohol and sale it on a massive scale supposedly as medicine by adding something “medicinal,” like ginger extract. They got away with it by paying off corrupt police and government officials. After prohibition ended, they were so well stocked that they were able to then dominate the legal liquor business in America, of which Joseph Kennedy became a major player.
JFK also had a close friendship with Frank Sinatra and his “Rat Pack” of celebrity pals. JFK’s sister Patricia married a member of Sinatra’s Rat Pack, movie star Peter Lawford. All of them famously mingled with leading members of The Syndicate in their Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe resorts. Those Syndicate leaders were said by Syndicate researchers to be angry with Frank Sinatra because he had promised them that if they helped JFK win Illinois with their influence over unions and the Chicago political machine, that they would have a pal in the White House. Instead, they were investigated and made a public spectacle out of by RFK. That led to their being involved in their assassination plots according to the researchers and Oglesby.
The two political factions, Yankees and Cowboys, were then noticed by academic researchers to have ended their war in the 1980s. Researchers were trying to prove if the Yankee and Cowboy thesis was viable in the 1980s under Reagan by researching the financial associations, political donations, prep-school and elite college associations, memberships in elite clubs and the Social Register, etc., of leading members of the “Cowboy” aka conservative elites. They discovered that more than 50% of elites associated with “cowboy conservative politics” came from the Eastern Establishment aka Yankee elite. In other words, the Cowboy elites and Yankee elites merged by the 1980s.
Not all of them merged of course, but most of each ruling class appears to have merged and ended their factional war, with casualties from the Kennedys to Nixon, Howard Hughes and others. The research showed that the financing of conservative elite organizations in the 1980s, was in fact by many rich Eastern Wall St. related elites — which explained why their merger could more openly be seen in public by their coming together in the Reagan-Bush administrations. They ruled the country for 12 straight years after the Cowboy faction ended their war with and then joined the Wall St. faction. George “Poppy” Bush, Reagan’s VP, came from a family that was a quintessentially Eastern Establishment Wall St. dynasty, directly connected to the Rockefeller oil empire and the entire old money elite of NYC-Philadelphia-Newport-Palm Beach “society.”
In policies and personnel Reagan’s presidency was clearly a merger of conservative Goldwater and liberal Rockefeller Republicans, Cowboys and Yankees. The Democrats were at that time still under the dominance of a liberal elite coalition with labor unions, and whose Southern Democrat contingency had been leaving the Democrats for the GOP since the 1960s. That sped up in the ‘70s and ‘80s when the GOP reached out to the Christian evangelical community. The religious community had not been very political until abortion galvanized them. The GOP consciously created space in the GOP for the large evangelical community of ex-Southern Democrats to transform the GOP into full support for “Christian family values” by aligning with prominent Christian evangelicals and TV celebrity preachers.
Look at the membership of The Heritage Foundation, a traditionally conservative cowboy elite political group, whose members are also members of traditionally Yankee elite groups like The Council on Foreign Relations. The Yankees and Cowboys in the Democratic party, exemplified by JFK and LBJ respectively, their elite's control over the party had always been challenged by labor unions, progressives, and leftists. Then in the 1950s-70s by women’s rights groups, African American groups, student groups, antiwar groups, gay rights groups, and so on.
Liberal elites had always been aligned with both parties with families and businesses supporting the GOP and the Democrats as a way to try to control politics in America. That history is written about in Prof. Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, he showed how Wall St. and the “Eastern Establishment” had always tried to control politicians and organizations from all political parties at the national level. From communists to the farthest right-wingers, they were almost always there behind the scenes, trying to guide the leadership by financial support and creating media outlets for them under their own control. Their merger with the cowboy conservatives in the GOP was in part to make it easier for them to control political power in America. But there were still anti-establishment Democrats they had to contend with after the 1960s had radically transformed America.
The Democratic Party changed and thereby became harder to control during the 1960s countercultural revolution. Rich families had traditionally been represented generationally in trying to rule over America, but the cultural transformation of the 1960s led many children of the elites to rebel against “the system.” Young heirs of the richest families were becoming hippies, new agers, yogis, leftists, communists, drop-outs, and were often intent on using their family money to support leftist causes. This led to the success of the New Left in moving Congress to make new laws to protect consumers, minorities and women’s rights — but especially worrisome to the corporate elites were their anti-war attitudes and their radical environmentalism.
Younger college age Rockefeller family members famously came out as anti-oil because of the environmental damage they said their oil companies were causing, and during the 1960s some wanted to use their influence for anti-war activism. Patty Hearst joined up with a revolutionary leftist group that had kidnapped her. Ford and Mellon heirs dropped out moved to India and became yogis like Steve Jobs would do in the future. The world was changing, and in large part this was behind the merger of the Cowboys and Yankees who united to fight the seemingly inevitable at the time, rising tide of revolt against their rule — leading to the clarion call of the legendary Powell Memo from future Supreme court Justice Lewis Powell.
After Jimmy Carter’s landslide loss to Reagan some leading Democrats were apparently then invited and joined the then newly merged cowboy and yankee elites in the GOP. This can be seen most clearly with the creation of The Democratic Leadership Council by “Third Way” centrist New Democrats, whose mission it was, they said, to convince the Democratic party to leave the New Left and Labor coalition with the party. Because, after all hadn’t the massive success of the Reagan Revolution, which was in reality simply the merger of Cowboy and Yankee elites, hadn’t that shown that the Democratic party was on a losing path for the future, they pleaded. If the Democrats wanted to win and gain power, wouldn’t it be smarter to join up with the Wall St. corporate elites? That was the New Democrats message.
And they convinced the Democrat party elites that they were right. They were rewarded by their gaining exactly what they were trying to achieve, the support of the corporate (merged) elites for 1st the Clinton/Gore and then the Obama/Biden administrations. They wanted someone other than Biden for 2020 but felt they were left no choice because of Bernie Sanders popularity, which they were totally against, plus the lack of support by the public for the Uniparty candidates. The Clinton people were running the Kamala Harris campaign, but she clearly had no chance, so they then hoped that Buttigeig or Klobuchar would gain popularity.
When it was clear it was going to go to Bernie Sanders if all of them stayed in, they got the other candidates to pull out and push all their supporters to get behind Biden. Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy had been their failed attempt at a Hail Mary because they really didn’t want Biden because they knew the political baggage he was carrying — his son and brother’s business ties being widely known. They were able to keep that under wraps through the liberal media’s desire for a Democrat win, but they knew it would eventually come out.
The Uniparty was born 1st with 2 seasons of Clinton/Gore and then 2 seasons of Bush/Cheney, like it had been agreed upon. It looked like they had plans for another 2 seasons of Hillary Clinton and then 2 seasons of Jeb Bush. Obama’s popularity must have surprised them, and then Trump really surprised them. But in one sense America had always had a uniparty since the Civil War. After the southern elites lost power to the northern eastern establishment elites in the Civil War, till the 1950s the political power in Washington D.C. had mostly been a battle between rival eastern establishment elites — Rockefellers vs Morgans vs Fords vs Mellons, etc. They fought each other, not too harshly, over how they would rule over America, and then the world. But at the end of the day, they lived in their own shared social world, intermarrying with each other’s families almost exclusively. A world of mansions and yachts, of relentless travels on cruise ships to Europe and the world, of gaining noble titles by marrying into the European aristocracy, of debutante balls, of exclusive clubs, of exclusive prep-schools and exclusive colleges, of exclusive Wall St. brokerage houses, law firms, insurance firms, investment firms, private banks, massive industrial concerns, whose inherited businesses and wealth-based class was interrupted every so often by the inclusion of the newly super-rich who joined their ranks.
They ruled over America not only by the sheer massive scale of their wealth but also by the planning of their hired teams of business advisors, lawyers, accountants, private armies (Detective agencies) and hired politicians. When the average family was making a few thousand dollars a year they were making tens and hundreds of millions. The scale of their wealth was something the world had never seen before.
There used to be something called the “Society Pages” in newspapers, which were gossip and highlights of the lives of the ruling class. But as time went on the lives of the ruling class were replaced in the newspapers, which the elites owned, by the lives of movie celebrities. Since the beginning till WWII, Hollywood had been churning out movie after movie about the lives of the rich East Coast elites, portraying them as silly eccentrics, or as greedy and evil. Ever since, they have tried to keep their lives as private as possible, trying to disappear from the public’s imagination. When widely admired academics like C. Wright Mills and Carroll Quigley shined a light on them and their control over America, many academics with ties to the elite families rushed to claim their books as “outside the mainstream and therefore irrelevant” even though they showed irrefutable academic proof of their claims.
The Uniparty was born when the Democratic party left its traditional alliance with Labor after Southern Democrats defected to the GOP. They joined the cowboy and yankee corporate elites from the GOP whose goals are many but includes keeping the working class from gaining enough power to challenge their political agendas. Another of their agendas is to create a unipolar world order, with them in charge. Most of the politicians in the Democratic party and many in the GOP serve the interests of the merged Uniparty corporate elite class who are striving to rule the world for “justice” and “democracy.”
So where does Donald J. Trump fit into all this?
When the Cowboys and Yankees merged in the Reagan Revolution — not all of the cowboy conservatives liked it, even though it appeared they did by their associations and donations. There were still many devout Christians, conservative/libertarians, and conservative/populists, who wanted to stick to their principles. They wanted American policy to favor Americans, they didn’t want America to be the leader of a global police force, or a global economic union, or a force for social or cultural change around the world by social engineering and military intervention. They wanted American politicians and policies to be focused on the concerns of Americans. Trump comes out of that milieu, his father was a supporter of Barry Goldwater, the leader of the Cowboys in their war against the Yankees in the 1950s-70s.
When the Uniparty under Clinton and Bush II set off to conquer the world for the creation of a worldwide economic and political union, aka NWO, the Neoliberal World Order, those older cowboy conservatives and libertarians who didn’t like the Uniparty, along with younger socially conservative populists and Christians aka neo-Cowboys, rallied against the Uniparty led by old cowboys like Ron Paul and others of his ilk. Some of them very rich and influential. They then came together under Trump after he proved himself to them to fight a new “Uniparty and Cowboy War.”
Trump and his neo-Cowboy MAGA are fighting for control of the American government and by extension want to stop supporting what is left of the tattering wannabe Unipolar Neoliberal World Order.
If they win, will they really try to stop the forming of the full Unipolar Neoliberal World Order? That was a pie in the sky agenda when first attempted in the 1970s through to the Obama years. It is an even further out-of-reach pie now. Ever since the Internet has been able to inform billions of people every day about the American control over the world, it has made so many of them so angry and wanting out of the American orbit, that they are joining together to oppose America. Whether it is for religious, nationalist, or economic reasons — they want out of the American Neoliberal World Order aka Pax Americana aka Rules Based Order — because on the internet they are shown every day that the Rules Based Order in reality means that “America makes the rules while we follow their orders.”
A unipolar world is now out of the question because of that. Yet the Uniparty is stuck in a rut trying to make it come true — because a lot of people are making a lot of money by that attempt. Meanwhile, the economy tumbles, wars start and grow, causing massive destruction and havoc on a mass scale, while millions of people end up on the streets living or burning and looting.
This is not a good thing for the elites, but that is what happens when you can’t read the writing on the wall. In the past the elite class was careful to not be seen as the cause of suffering around the world by control over mass media. They can’t hide that anymore because of the wide access around the world to the Internet. Which is why censorship is so important to them now.