From anywhere in the country, one could practically feel the glee that conservatives like Ann Coulter and millions of Americans felt when Donald Trump came out and said that illegal immigrants were raping and murdering citizens. It was the type of straight talk that many in the Republican party have craved after years of “tough” politicians tiptoeing around the issue.
With one interview and thousands of media outlets reporting it, Donald Trump’s candidacy was rocketed into the stratosphere. He secured lifetime supporters in the days following the interview, the type of supporters reminiscence of Ron Paul’s and Patrick Buchanan’s. They’re the type of supporters who now believe that Trump can do no wrong.
He found a niche shortly after that which resonated even further. The idea that America is no longer great and needs to be made so again is a powerful truth that has been simplified into a hat slogan but that makes the point nonetheless. Other candidates have been saying similar things, but not so properly encapsulated. If his immigration statements were the defibrulators to get the party’s heart pumping again, his call for American exceptionalism was the IV pumping life-sustaining drugs into the party’s veins.
He had the conservative’s attention. Then, he proceeded to show how liberal he really is in thoughts, actions, and understanding of the condition of America today. Here are the problems that are quietly surfacing just beneath the haze of rhetoric that he’s been able to build up.
An Economic Plan Devoid of Mathematics
The one thing I actually liked about President Bill Clinton is that he had an economic plan that worked. Granted, it fed off of success that carried over from the Reagan/Bush years, but despite too many worthless programs, it wasn’t the most leftist plan we’d ever seen. Some could argue it was more fiscally conservative than that of President George W. Bush, but the 9/11 wrinkle makes the math behind the plans incomparable.
As I noted, Trump’s plan is to raise expenses and lower revenue. I agree with lowering taxes but he has to realize that he can’t do all that he’s promising with infrastructure, military, and immigration without gutting other pieces of the government. So far, he hasn’t really discussed what government programs he’d scuttle in order to make up for less tax revenue and higher costs. Instead, he points to the economic prosperity that Americans will enjoy when he brings all of the jobs back. That last point, bringing back jobs, can be done but it will take years. His tax plan and increased expenses would be in place and hurting the country well before the economic growth he’s prophesying.
Individually, he’s latching onto conservative ideas of lower taxes and strong military. When his plan is viewed as a whole, it is a pipe dream proposal with the type of pie-in-the-sky concepts that ring better in the ears of moderates and progressives.
Okay, so it’s not a black and white left vs right issue. We’ve talked about it here. It’s being talked about everywhere. The part of the story that is relevant to this article is that Trump feels like eminent domain is simply misunderstood. He said that Republicans simply needed to be educated on what it really does.
This type of attitude is wrong on many levels, but for this story the takeaway is that Trump is representing support of eminent domain as a conservative value. It plays perfectly into the left’s narrative that the GOP is out to keep everyone down and to benefit corporations over individuals. This is a concept that Republicans in general and conservatives in particular need to distance themselves from, but Trump wants to bring it squarely into the public view as our plan for corporate takeover.
Never mind that the five Supreme Court Justices who pushed Kelo vs New London in favor of eminent domain were the five most liberal on the bench at the time. This is being converted to a Republican platform item by Trump in the eyes of Joe Uninformed Voter.
Weakness in the Middle East
President Obama said, “If Russia wants to go and fight ISIS, you should let them.”
Wait a minute. That wasn’t Obama. That was Trump. It just sounded like something Obama would say. Sorry for the confusion.
Hillary Clinton suggested that we should let ISIS and the Syrian government fight, then we’ll take over the remnants.
Hold on. That wasn’t Clinton. That was Trump once again. Sorry, it just seemed like the type of foreign policy debacle that Clinton made during her tenure at the State Department.
Trump had some crazy ideas when he was on 60 Minutes, but none were scarier than his thoughts on the Middle East. As we are seeing, the Trump style of problem solving is playing out in Syria as Russia has effectively inserted itself into the most strategically important lands in the world. The Trump/Obama plan is not about national security or protecting our interests. It’s about naive weakness in the face of an American people rightfully fatigued by military action in the region. This is where the unpopular perspective for a conservative is the only real answer.
Granted, he was bold in his statements about how to handle Iraq, but even those sentiments echoed shallow.
When the issues are less visible than immigration but important nonetheless, Trump has been everywhere on the board. He was pro-choice before switching to pro-life. He was for legalizing drugs before being against it. He was for an assault weapons ban before he was against it. He wants to fix social security by choice; he’ll give his up and he hopes that other rich people will not cash their checks.
I’m not one of those who feels like people can’t become more conservative over time. I think that’s part of the conservative appeal; we get wiser with experience. However, I sense very little sincerity when he talks on the issues for which his opinions have evolved. It’s as if he is trying to appear conservative for the sake of the election rather than truly believing half of the things that he’s saying. It would be different if it were a couple of issues. It’s several.
Perhaps the most insincere he seems is when he talks about his faith. It’s sadly a hard choice in today’s society for politicians to be vocal about their faith and Trump’s lukewarm appeal to get the evangelical vote has felt contrived. There are many reasons that Trump doesn’t seem like a true conservative by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s in the realm of his faith that I feel he’s doing whatever he can to pull the wool over our eyes.
Few would argue that his perspective on immigration isn’t conservative. On that issue, he seems very sincere. Unfortunately, it’s the one area that conservative values seem to be in play. On everything else, he seems to be moderate on the surface and liberal at heart.