Keep one thing in mind when looking at the data from Gallup’s latest poll of the Republican field. Their sample includes “Republican-leaning independents” as well as registered Republicans. That’s important, because it helps explain Donald Trump’s sudden resonance in the field:
Donald Trump debuts in a first-place tie in Gallup’s latest update of Republicans’ preferences for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination among potential contenders. Trump ties Mike Huckabee at 16%, with Mitt Romney close behind at 13%. Sarah Palin is the only other potential Republican candidate to earn double-digit support.
The April 15-20 Gallup poll finds Trump leading the field among moderate and liberal Republicans, with 21% supporting him. Huckabee is the leader among conservative Republicans. Huckabee’s support and Trump’s support differ between ideological groups, while Romney and Palin get similar support from both ideological wings of the party.
Among the lower-ranked candidates, Newt Gingrich’s support and Michele Bachmann’s support tilt decidedly conservative. Trump is the only potential candidate who shows notably stronger appeal to liberals and moderates than to conservatives within the GOP.
Let’s point out, though, that even where differences exist, they’re rather small — the consequence of a large field with no one frontrunner at this stage. Huckabee’s support split is 13/18 in moderate-to-liberal/conservative voters; Trump’s is 21/13, Romney 14/13. Between the three of them, that accounts for 48% of the moderate-liberal voters and 44% of the conservatives, leaving plenty of room for another candidate to grab the brass ring when the race gets serious. Interestingly, Palin in fourth place splits almost evenly between the two, 11/10.
The Boss Emeritus did some digging on Trump and comes up with what should be a kayo on Kelo:
Too many mega-developers like Trump have achieved success by using and abusing the government’s ability to commandeer private property for purported “public use.” Invoking the Fifth Amendment takings clause, real estate moguls, parking garage builders, mall developers and sports palace architects have colluded with elected officials to pull off legalized theft in the name of reducing “blight.” Under eminent domain, the definition of “public purpose” has been stretched like Silly Putty to cover everything from roads and bridges to high-end retail stores, baseball stadiums and casinos.
While casting himself as America’s new constitutional savior, Trump has shown reckless disregard for fundamental private property rights. In the 1990s, he waged a notorious war on elderly homeowner Vera Coking, who owned a little home in Atlantic City that stood in the way of Trump’s manifest land development. The real estate mogul was determined to expand his Trump Plaza and build a limo parking lot — Coking’s private property be damned. The nonprofit Institute for Justice, which successfully saved Coking’s home, explained the confiscatory scheme …
Trump has attempted to use the same tactics in Connecticut and has championed the reviled Kelo vs. City of New London Supreme Court ruling upholding expansive use of eminent domain. He told Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto that he agreed with the ruling “100 percent” and defended the chilling power of government to kick people out of their homes and businesses based on arbitrary determinations:
“The fact is, if you have a person living in an area that’s not even necessarily a good area, and government, whether it’s local or whatever, government wants to build a tremendous economic development, where a lot of people are going to be put to work and make (an) area that’s not good into a good area, and move the person that’s living there into a better place — now, I know it might not be their choice — but move the person to a better place and yet create thousands upon thousands of jobs and beautification and lots of other things, I think it happens to be good.”
Silly conservatives still believe that the person who owns the property should decide what kind of private-sector use should be made of it, not the government, and not wealthy developers who play footsie with politicians to take what doesn’t belong to them. Property rights are the core of freedom; in fact, they are the first rights mentioned in the Constitution for that reason. Long before one gets to the First Amendment, Article I Section 8 grants the responsibility to Congress to “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries[.]” And in the Fifth Amendment, we find that the Constitution mandates “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Here’s my question regarding the Trump boomlet. If Republicans want to rally behind a pro-choice (before campaigning), pro-single-payer health care (before campaigning), pro-Kelo mercantilist, what exactly is wrong with Rudy Giuliani? His positions were far to the right of Trump’s on these issues before Trump decided to show up at CPAC, plus Giuliani has had a track record of success in executive office that didn’t involve strongarming people out of their property. Or for that matter, what exactly is wrong with Huckabee, Romney, Pawlenty, or the rest of the candidates whose conservative credentials activists question, in light of Trump’s sudden Republican advent?
Update: CNN demonstrates that Trump will be a pretty easy target if he wins the nomination:
I’d guess that Eliot Spitzer might have some personal animus he’s working out here, but that’s the point, isn’t it? Why offer the easy target?