If you are a conservative Donald Trump supporter here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Are you concerned by how Obama has expanded executive power and circumvented Congress? If so, knowing Trump’s personality, do you trust him to reverse this executive overreach or is it more likely that he will expand it in the name of “getting things” done? Would you be ok with a further erosion of the Constitution if the right guy was “getting things” done?
- Are you at all concerned by how sensitive Trump is to criticism and how sharply, and at times, personally he turns on his critics? Is it unreasonable to think that he might be tempted to use the power of government agencies he would control to silence his critics or exact some measure of vengeance upon them?
- Are you at all concerned by how easily swayed Trump is by flattery? When you combine this trait with the one above you end up with a leader who does not in fact surround himself with the best and brightest people. He instead has a tendency to be surrounded by those who feed his ego and reinforce his own opinions, even those that might be flawed.
- Does it at all concern you that while Trump says he is a Christian, when asked in an interview if he has ever asked God for forgiveness he said no? Does this inability to show the slightest humility even before God give you any cause for concern? Does it lead you to believe he would be more or less inclined to be forthright with the American people if his decisions or policies do not work out as planned?
- Do his past political contributions to liberals bother you at all? Do you dismiss it as the cost of doing business in his line of work? If so, are you ok with people who buy influence from politicians? If he wasn’t currently running for President would you still think of him as a conservative if he was donating money to Hillary so as to help protect his future business interests?
- Does his past praise of President Obama or Hillary Clinton bother you at all? If it was a failure to see them for what they are, does that give you any doubts about his ability to read people? If he was simply giving them insincere praise to curry favor with them are you comfortable with that kind of duplicity in a person? Would that lead you to question his sincerity when speaking to voters?
- Does it make you at all uncomfortable when he or his surrogates attack people who had been considered conservative warriors prior to this election? Do you think Glenn Beck is a fraud? Do you think Mark Levin is no longer a conservative? Both men were writing best-selling conservative books (some of which you might even own) and rallying the Tea Party while Donald Trump was giving money to liberal Democrats and establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell. If a conservative raises legitimate criticisms about Trump will you turn your back on that person and dismiss them as washed-up or controlled by the establishment?
- Do you hate all of the deal making that Republicans like Boehner, McConnell and Ryan have done? What will you think of Trump when he makes similar deals? He has said he can deal with the establishment and liberal Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Would you trust any deal that those people are a part of? Do you think the mere force of Trump’s will can get Pelosi to support a conservative agenda? Or are you willing to accept the inevitable compromises Trump will say he needs to make to get things done? Will you accept a comprehensive immigration bill so that Trump can get his wall built, even if it means giving amnesty to some or all illegal immigrants?
- Have you grown more loyal to Trump as a personality than to the views you think he represents? He said (I assume jokingly) that he could shoot people and not lose a single supporter. That statement reveals that he thinks that who he is is more important than what he does. This means that he could change any of his stances and he would expect you to still support him. If you could tolerate him shooting someone, surely you would stand by him as he decides that abortion is ok, amnesty is fine, or gun control is needed – at least that is what he thinks. How do you feel about that?
If you say you are a conservative that supports Trump and you don’t find yourself at all conflicted by the above questions, I can only ask if you really are conservative. I don’t mean this as some litmus test, nor do I claim to be some judge of who is conservative and who isn’t. But I do think that I have pointed out some unusual twists of logic that a Trump supporter would have to perform to conform to any reasonable definition of conservatism.
Maybe you’ve just decided to shelve some of your conservative views because you just like Trump’s style and the fact that he has given a voice to the anger and frustration you feel. That is certainly understandable. You have a right to use this as an excuse to support Trump. But you don’t have the right to label those who have chosen not to shelve their conservative principles as frauds or traitors to the cause of conservatism. We are not the ones who have left the movement.
Lastly, ask yourself who you would be supporting if Trump was not running for President. Who has done the things that you profess to like so much about in Trump? Who has stood against the Republican establishment in Washington? Who was vilified for shutting down the government to try to stop the funding of Obamacare? Who worked to undermine the Gang of 8 immigration bill and point out the disingenuousness of its supporters? Ted Cruz did all of these things.
Even if your preference isn’t Cruz, you certainly shouldn’t be viewing him as an enemy to the things in which you believe. And it makes no sense for you to view those who support him as traitors and frauds. Agree to disagree, but don’t burn down the entire Tea Party/Conservative movement. No candidate can win with only half of their party’s support. And with each passing day Donald Trump is making it harder for those of us who didn’t just wake up to conservatism 5 minutes ago to support him.