Donald Trump isn’t Ronald Reagan. He never has been and he never will be. But there are people out there who somehow believe Trump is emulating Reagan’s strategy of “expanding the base” in some of his campaign speeches. John Nolte’s coverage of Trump’s Dallas speech at Breitbart demonstrates how Trump is moving left.
Those of us outside a provincial bubble saw the following…
Trump got 20,000 Texas conservatives to applaud at the idea of taxing the rich.
Trump got 20,000 Texas conservatives to applaud at the idea of President Trump muscling a CEO not to move his company overseas — an Obama-esque abuse of executive power.
Trump got 20,000 Texas conservatives to applaud at the idea of rethinking free trade.
Trump got 20,000 Texas conservatives to applaud when he said he would not shred Obama’s Iran deal on day one but would instead try to make it work with stronger inspections.
So what’s happening here?
It is painfully obvious that Trump is already laying the policy groundwork for a general election campaign. He’s not looking past the nomination, but he is also not boxing himself in with policy proposals he won’t be able to wriggle out of should he win the nomination.
There were probably closer to 15-17K at the American Airlines Center on Monday, not 20K. And it’s doubtful they were all conservative. One woman told The Dallas Morning News she was supporting Trump but would stop if he decided to support something conservatives tend to back.
“If he’s in favor of supply-side economics, I’m off the bandwagon. My income has been stagnant for 15 years.”
For those wondering what supply-side economics is, it’s also known as Reaganomics. It’s something which conservatives have typically stood for for the last 30+ years. It’s not the only point which should bother the conservatives who are supporting Trump. There are politicians who aren’t “freedom and liberty” types praising Trump for allegedly making good points. Buzzfeed noted Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio likes Trump.
“Yeah, I mean racism and sexism aside, those things you mentioned are certainly rational observations about our crumbling infrastructure and the need to invest, our failed trade policy. You know, yeah he happens to be in the right place on those things and I wish the other Republicans who are running to match his racism and sexism would run to match his position on taxing hedge fund managers, changing our trade policy and investing in infrastructure, but unfortunately they just seem to be taking the bait of his racist-sexist stuff and leaving on the table the good stuff, like taxing hedge fund managers.”
DeFazio isn’t a “Blue Dog Democrat” or “Reagan Democrat.” He’s got a 21% lifetime score from FreedomWorks, a 15% lifetime score from Heritage Action, and an F from Conservative Review. So he’s not exactly the kind of guy conservatives should want praising a candidate on economic issues.
Don’t forget what the bastion of conservatism (note sarcasm) Planned Parenthood said about Trump.
“Donald Trump seems to have realized that banning all abortions, shutting down the government, and defunding Planned Parenthood are extreme positions that are way too far outside the mainstream for even him to take. We hope that the rest of the GOP field will wake up and reconsider their extreme and unpopular positions on defunding preventive care, abortion bans, and the other economic issues that women and their families care about.”
This is the same Planned Parenthood conservatives want defunded and are furious at GOP leadership for not doing so. This also is the same Planned Parenthood which those on the Right became shocked and outraged by the videos from Center for Medical Progress. Remember, Jeb Bush was criticized for being part of a foundation which gave plenty of money to Planned Parenthood. Wasn’t Mitt Romney called a “flip-flopper” on abortion? Why isn’t Trump being held to the same standards? Is it seriously all about his personality and his stance on immigration?
It isn’t just leftist politicians and advocacy groups who have praise for Trump. The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a piece called “In GOP war on Social Security, only Trump gets it.”
For some reason, just about all the leading candidates other than The Donald have taken a deeply unpopular position, a known political loser, on a major domestic policy issue…What this means is that the eventual Republican nominee — assuming it’s not Trump — will be committed not just to a renewed attack on Social Security but to a broader plutocratic agenda.
Krugman has been called the “World’s Worst Economist” by The Oxford Club, the “Brian Williams of Economic Bloggers” by Zero Hedge, a hypocrite by Jonah Goldberg, and an ignoramus by Ace of Spades. But it’s okay for him to praise Trump because it’s Trump, right? It sure shouldn’t be.
So if Trump is trying to expand the GOP base, how can he do this by moving away from what supposedly makes the Republican Party the Republican Party? Aren’t other candidates, mainly Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie, vilified for not being conservative enough? Didn’t this also happen to Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman in 2012? If Trump is pushing the party’s positions to the left, shouldn’t those who claim to be supporters of more freedom and lower taxes be fighting against this? Are Trump’s alleged Tea Party supporters that blinded by his immigration rhetoric and strong man appearance they can’t sit there and plainly see why he’s NOT someone in favor of freedom and liberty? Doesn’t the Tea Party stand for “Taxed Enough Already,” which goes completely against what Trump is preaching when it comes to hedge fund managers?
This isn’t trying to expand the base by pointing out the benefits of freedom and liberty. This isn’t Rand Paul going to Howard University or Berkeley to discuss the problems of NSA spying and how the Patriot Act is being abused. This isn’t FreedomWorks teaming up with the Center for American Progress on reforming the justice system to keep authorities from unconstitutionally seizing property and money from innocent people. This isn’t Republicans and Democrats all across the nation agreeing to make it harder for eminent domain to happen. This is promoting an expansion of government. Just look at what he said last night on the VA system.
“We’re gonna create a whole new system, we’re gonna take this system apart, and if they’re not doing the job the veterans are going to go to private doctors, private hospitals.”
So Trump wants to keep the VA system active (i.e. single-payer health care) and might allow vets to go outside the system. This isn’t freedom and liberty, it’s keeping the government in something it shouldn’t be involved in. Trump’s comments about “repealing and replacing Obamacare with something great,” just means he believes the government should be involved in health care. How many Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians freaked out about Obamacare and said it “still sucked” after five years? But it’s okay for Trump to declare he’ll do “Donaldcare” because he’s not Obama. Remember, Trump said this in Phoenix over the summer.
“I know this doesn’t sound very conservative, but we’ve got to take care of everybody, not just the people up here.”
He’s right, it isn’t conservative and the fact there are people who claim to love “freedom and liberty” who are kneeling at the alter of Trump is just mind-boggling. Is he funny? Sure. Does he appear to be stronger than most of the other field? Sure. But that shouldn’t immediately mean conservatives should rush towards him and ignore all the red flags about Trump’s policy positions. Honestly, the cult of personality surrounding Trump is a lot like the cult of personality which surrounded Obama in 2008. Conservatives like Trump because he’s “an outsider,” but if an outsider is taking leftist positions, how in the world does this help? Short answer: it doesn’t. To proclaim otherwise, or to say Trump is “expanding the base,” is just laughable, frustrating, and sad at the exact same time.
Trump has to be held to the same standards as other candidates. If he’s not, then his supporters are just being inconsistent.