Category Archive 'Issues'

19 May 2016

Reminding Trump Supporters: Trump Is Not a Conservative

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Gerard van der Leun yesterday reached down into a comment thread at to pull out this pearl of wisdom from artfldgr:

Remind me again where Trump, at least currently, is not a conservative?

Taxes, check.
Deficit, check.
Immigration, check.
Sanctuary cities, check.
Strong defense, check.
Supreme Court, check.
Veterans, check.
Common core, check.
Iran deal, check.
Israel, check.
Healthcare, check.
Pro-life, check….
Oh, yes, Planned Parenthood.

Taxes ? Healthcare? Trump is on the record on both sides on nearly all of these issues but, although he does talk about reducing some taxes on businesses and lowering the top tax rate, he has also been promising to raise taxes on the wealthy, and he has, more decisively than on any other issue than the Wall, come out for single-payer Universal Health Care. “I’m going to take care of everybody. … The government’s gonna pay for it.” (Breitbart)

Immigration? Well, Trump plans to build that ridiculous and symbolically-atrocious Wall, and I believe he would probably do that, but he also (unrealistically) has promised to deport 12 million people. The vision of weeping women and crying children being herded at bayonet-point to deportation cattle cars probably does please some of the Alt-Right Nativist crowd, but artfldgr is overlooking the fact that Trump has also, in the course of making those promises, repeatedly also promised that “the good ones,” i.e. the illegal immigrants lacking criminal records, would be allowed to return on “an expedited basis.” (Hot Air)

Pro-Life? Planned Parenthood? Well, the old, pre-presidential candidate Donald Trump was a basically religion-free, high-living playboy, who was, as of 1999, “very pro-choice” and probably a donor to Planned Parenthood. (On the Issues) What with running for the GOP nomination and all that The Donald “has evolved.” But he hasn’t evolved so much that he did not have five different positions on abortion in three days.

The argument that Trumpshirts most commonly employ in demanding that more discriminating conservatives should fall in line and start supporting Trump has to do with the alleged superiority of his Supreme Court appointments to Hillary’s, and just yesterday Trump released a list. That list was a good list, but… did that list really mean anything?

Ilya Somin, this morning, responded, pointing out that you just cannot trust Donald Trump about those appointments, any more than you can trust him on anything else:

I see little cause for rejoicing. That’s because there is little reason to believe that Trump will actually stick to the list. A list released as an obvious campaign ploy is a far less compelling indication of Trump’s intentions than his many years of commitment to using the power of government to censor his critics, and trampling on constitutional property rights. Just last week, he threatened to use the IRS to harass the owner of the Washington Post if that paper continues to cover him in ways he dislikes. Unlike on many other questions, on these two Trump has been remarkably consistent since long before he ran for president. Trump also plans to undermine the Constitution in numerous other ways.

When he discovers that most, if not all, the people on the list would be at odds with his longstanding commitments, a President Trump could decide to nominate other jurists, who are more in line with his own longstanding preferences. And he could easily find any number of excuses for deviating from the list.

Longstanding commitments count for more as an indication of Trump’s (or any candidate’s) real intentions than campaign ploys. Moreover, as co-blogger Orin Kerr points out, Trump admits that the list is not a true commitment but merely one that he plans to use as a “guide” because it is “representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value.” A “plan” to use the list as a “guide” is not the same thing as a commitment to choose only people whose names appear on the list.

In sum, we should not be fooled. Trump’s list is not a true commitment, and it does not outweigh a consistent record of opposing important constitutional rights and limitations on government power. There is still every reason for principled advocates of limited government to continue to oppose Trump.

Strong Defense? Under Trump, it’ll be Yuge. It’ll be the greatest, the absolutely best Defense. Trump will have a wonderful Defense. After all, he was sent as a teenager to military school, and he has the equivalent of combat experience, he has assured us:

Draft-dodger Donald Trump once said that the danger he faced from getting sexually transmitted diseases was his own “personal Vietnam.”

In a 1997 interview with shock jock Howard Stern, Trump talked about how he had been “lucky” not to have contracted diseases when he was sleeping around.

“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there. It’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam-era,” Trump said in a video that resurfaced Tuesday on Buzzfeed, “It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”

Some may be uneasy, of course, entrusting Defense decisions to a guy who doesn’t actually know what the nuclear triad is.

Israel? Well, Trump has doubtless promised to be a friend to Israel. (He certainly is not going to offend Jewish voters in New York City.) But… Trump has also associated himself with Isolationism, and invoked the (thoroughly discredited) pre-WWII America First movement. There obviously a certain large quantity of historical illiteracy at work here, but that kind of talk was quite adequate to alarm a large number of US allies (Reuters) including Israel (Haaretz).

Basically, when you come right down to it, Trump has been on both sides of most issues. Trump has only the dimmest understanding of policy issues. Trump is poorly educated, not well-informed, and un-intellectual by temperament. Trump is unprincipled. He values fame, money, and success, and he is indifferent to ideology and ideas. Trump is very, very obviously extremely selfish and the crassest kind of pragmatist. He isn’t conservative, because he isn’t anything in the political ideology department. He is just for Trump. If he slipped into office, Donald Trump would have a great time. He’d bang more White House interns than Bill Clinton ever did, possibly occasionally on live television. He would feather his own nest, and he’d do things for people in a position to assist him or the Trump Empire.

He would probably forget everything on artfldgr’s list the morning after the Inauguration, and when it came time to appoint the next Supreme Court justice, he’d be about as likely to name his sister, former Apprentice Omarosa, Judge Judy, or Kim Kardashian as anybody on the list some right-wing expert drafted for him to release yesterday. By then, Trump will have forgotten all about that list and lost the original copy. He will have completely different fish to fry, and he will no longer need your vote. Once he no longer needs you, the Art of the Deal says you are irrelevant.

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