Video: Club for Growth ad slams Trump as "just another politician"

If there’s one line of attack that actually hits at the core of Donald Trump’s popularity, it’s this shot from the Club for Growth’s Action PAC. The conservative budget hawks have launched their announced anti-Trump campaign today with two 30-second TV spots aimed at demolishing the perception of Trump as a conservative, anti-Establishment populist. The first compares Trump to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — unfavorably:

Not only has Trump been all over the map on key economic issues – but he has taken several positions that are downright horrendous!

  • Trump came out for socialized medicine that was to the left of Obamacare, and he still thinks it works.
  • Trump proposed the largest tax increase in U.S. history. That’s not easy to do, but Trump did.
  • Trump not only supported eminent domain to take people’s private property so developers could use it for casinos and amusement parks, he’s tried to do it himself!
  • Trump jumped on board with Obama’s tax-the-rich mantra, dismissing a flat tax because he wants rates that “graduate upward.” Note to Donald: that’s the system we have in place.
  • Trump doesn’t just saber-rattle about trade wars, he wants to take up the sword and rush the U.S. into massive trade wars with huge tariffs that would be a devastating tax on American businesses and consumers.

Club for Growth Action takes more specific aim at a particular bête noire for conservatives — the Kelo decision. The Supreme Court’s ruling approved the seizure of private property through eminent domain to transfer to a private party rather than to public property for improvement, a decision that created so much anger on the Right that an attempt was made to get Justice David Souter’s home town to seize his house in a similar manner. Not surprisingly, Trump loves eminent domain seizures for private urban renewal projects:

The ads are well conceived and constructed, but … will they have any impact? Club for Growth Action plans to spend $1 million on this buy in Iowa, so they’re putting some investment behind it. It won’t be possible for Trump defenders to accuse Club for Growth of supporting Jeb Bush or the GOP establishment, but they may not even bother refuting these attacks. Intellectually they score points, but people have been scoring intellectual points on Trump for months. How’s that working out?

At this stage, both Trump and Bernie Sanders have built large followings on emotional connections to frustrations among all voters with seemingly unresponsive leadership in both major parties. Deconstructing policy statements and history probably won’t have a significant impact at this stage, but it may set up more detailed rebuttals later in the fall, when voters begin to invest more carefully in their primary choices.

All the same, it would be interesting to see Trump confronted on Kelo in tomorrow’s debate. Government seizure of private property for the enrichment of wealthy developers is hardly a populist position, and it could make for a revealing moment from the man who continually brags about his wealth.