Two of Donald Trump's senior policy advisers argue that powerful interests have aligned to rig a long-standing institution of American presidential elections against their candidate — a conspiracy that has nothing to do with campaigning or casting votes, and everything to do with economics.
Economist Peter Navarro of the University of California at Irvine and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross say Washington think tanks — the time-honored forecasters of how candidates' economic plans might change the country — have conspired to underrate the job-creation potential of the Republican nominee's proposals and overstate how much they would add to the federal debt.
The duo say those think tanks are acting to boost Democrat Hillary Clinton and to advance the interests of large corporations that fund their research, and that news reporters are playing along. The think tanks reject the claims, saying the Trump campaign is simply practicing bad economics.
[The Trump team] said the forces working against Trump include corporations channeling money to supposedly independent researchers to promote their business interests, journalists who lack "the ethics or responsibility" to report the truth on complicated policy matters and an organization that Navarro calls "the Darth Vader of globalism."
"There's no conspiracy," said Marcus Noland, executive vice president and director of studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think tank Navarro dubbed "the Darth Vader of globalism" in the interview.
Among the other think tanks that the Trump team has issues with is the Tax Policy Center (TPC).
It should be noted, however, that the Trump team has also embraced certain think tanks, such as the conservative Heritage Foundation, and has a number of think tankers advising the campaign.