We got a pretty good amount of pushback for our Battlefield post on Friday exploring how Donald Trump is giving evidence of driving conservatives out of the GOP – and then over the weekend he went and said this…
That was in the context of his reversal on his tax plan, which formerly called for a lower top tax bracket. Trump now says he wants tax breaks for the middle class and the rich “have had a great run” and don’t mind higher taxes. Which would greatly shrink the distance between Trump and Hillary Clinton on the tax issue and bolster the idea that what Trump is going to do is run a campaign as far to the left as he can in order to make himself simply a more entertaining version of the New York liberal at the top of the Democrat ticket.
But on what planet is it a good idea for him to declare “it’s the Republican Party; it’s not the Conservative Party?”
By saying that he’s now saying the GOP is not conservative. The GOP has been trying to brand itself as conservative since Reagan. Well, that’s over with Trump as the nominee.
Of course, Trump says he’s conservative. Every time he says that, he dismisses conservatism. Like a week or so ago when he said “I’m a conservative but at this point who cares? We’ve got to straighten out the country.”
Or, trashing Jeb Bush in California two weeks ago when he said “I’m conservative, but I’m, like, smart, too.” Signalling that it isn’t smart to be a conservative (perhaps he’s right about that, but it hardly ought to give conservatives a warm feeling about him that he thinks so).
Or last year when he tweeted this…
I’m a conservative, but the weakness of conservatives is that they destroy each other, whereas liberals unite to win.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2015
Maybe the fact Trump is philosophically unmoored and simply doesn’t care about ideology at all, and is running for president in a naked pursuit of political power, and has thus judged conservatism in deed rather than just in name is a net negative, is a wake-up call for conservatives that we’ve lost the culture war and we’re no longer seen by a large portion of our own party and a majority of the electorate as out of touch. We’re not convinced of that at the Hayride and if this Trump tack to the Left continues we feel relatively certain he will be slaughtered in November; that’s not proof only a conservative can win a presidential election for the GOP but it would prove someone who repudiates conservatism can’t.
But before we even get to that analysis we need to recognize the obvious – not only is Trump not a conservative despite his throwaway lines that he is one, but he is actively attempting to alienate and belittle conservatives within the GOP.