For a while it looked as though the upper echelons of the incoming Trump administration would be populated largely by wealthy white men in their latter years with little experience in governing.
The president-elect is a 70-year-old billionaire real estate and entertainment mogul. Commerce Secretary-to-be Wilbur Ross is a 79-year-old billionaire bottom-fishing investor. Treasury Secretary-to-be Steve Mnuchin, a tadpole at 53, is a multi-millionaire investor and former Goldman Sachs executive. White House strategist and president-elect-whisperer Steve Bannon is a 63-year-old millionaire publisher and filmmaker who also once worked at Goldman. Attorney General-to-be Jeff Sessions is a 69-year-old millionaire (though he does have deep experience as a senator and Alabama politician).
However, that seems to be changing fast, at least in the gender department. The new batch of official nominees and candidates for cabinet-level positions include a group of women diverse in age and ethnicity.
In fact, Trump could wind up with more women in cabinet-level positions than the six currently serving in the Obama administration. But like the men appointed so far, almost every one of them is a billionaire, multi-millionaire or millionaire, though some have had governing experience.
Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary-to-be and wife of Amway heir Dick DeVos, is a 58-year-old billionaire with no formal government experience. Elaine Chao, the pick for Transportation Secretary, is a 63-year-old multi-millionaire; she was born in Taiwan and is a former Labor Secretary married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Nikki Haley, 44, the South Carolina governor who Trump wants to appoint as ambassador to the UN, is from a family of Indian Sikhs, and while not fabulously wealthy, she qualifies as a millionaire.
Now two more candidates who are women have popped up: Former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, 52, is being talked about as a potential secretary of Veterans Affairs. And Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment and a twice unsuccessful candidate for senator from Connecticut, could be tapped as chief of the Small Business Administration.
Both fit the gold-plated mold. Palin is said to be worth about $12 million, and the fortune McMahon and her husband Vince amassed from professional wrestling is said to be as much as $500 million.
An analysis by the website Five Thirty Eight points to lower education levels rather than lower income levels as a crucial common denominator among Trump voters. But there is no question that white, working-class Americans helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency. And there is a certain irony in the fact his so-called populist movement is leading to government led by the ultra-rich.