Populist Trump’s Meandering on Conservative Issues

Trump has Spoken Consistently Conservative ( but Only when it Matches his Populist Views) since the Campaign Started

However, on non-Populist Issues, Not So Much

The following list of departures from common conservative principles suggest that Trump will likely stray on:

  1. Men in girls’ bathrooms — As the newest detail on the possible divide between  Trump and conservatives, the transgender issue offers a glimpse at any non-conservative tendencies Trump might harbor.
  2. Abortion — Although Trump started with a definite pro-choice view, changes preceding a 2011 interview with CBN seem to have put him on the pro-life side (to a degree).
  3. Second Amendment — When he wrote his book in 2000 (The America We Deserve), Trump completely supported Clinton’s ban on assault weapons. Since then, Trump has gained a respect for the Second Amendment (at least in speeches).
  4. Freedom of Religion
    • A 7 December 2015 American Conservative article suggests that Trump’s ban on non-American Muslims entering the country as a form of religious discrimination.  However, this suggestion flies in the face of the fact that the Alien Enemies Act (1798) allows the deportation of certain types of people in order to protect the American public.  Not only was the Alien Enemies Act written by the same individuals who wrote the Constitution, this still-active law has never been found to be in conflict the constitution.
    • An 18 January 2016 Religious News Service article pointed out Trump’s claim at Liberty University that he would protect Christians.
    • Conversely, Mr. Trump has exhibited a capability to at least verbalize the repression of religious freedom when the person using that freedom stands against him.  On 3 May 2016, Fox News conducted a phone interview with Trump during which the reporter played a clip of Rafael Cruz encouraging a group of Christians to vote for his son, Ted Cruz.  During that interview, Donald Trump said “I think it is a disgrace he is allowed to do it” (that is, Trump stood against Rafael Cruz being able speak his mind regarding Ted Cruz in a religious setting).  This statement was likewise documented by the Daily Wire, Bloomberg Politics, USA Today, Business Insider, the Hill, and other notable publications.
  5. Obamacare — Although Trump seems to know that the American people want to get rid of Obamacare, his reaction seems to be inserting even more governmental interference.
    • As far back as 2000, Trump pushed his support for a universal healthcare system. That support was noted and mentioned in a 18 April 2011 Business Insider article.
    • In a 17 July 2015 Newsmax article, Trump validated the need for getting rid of Obamacare, but still expressed support for “healthcare for everybody.” Specifically, he said “So I’m very liberal when it comes to healthcare. I believe in universal healthcare.”
      Obamacare only subsidizes the people who do not have insurance.  Still, it has caused the failure of certain insurance companies and numerous hospitals.  Since socializing such a small part of the US system has resulted in these failures, does socializing the whole system seem like the best idea?  Likewise, since Britain has experienced such cost overruns and long waits, does this seem the way to go?
    • A 3 February 2016 Newsmax article suggests that Trump’s and Sanders’ healthcare alternative plans are nearly identical.
    • A 29 February 2016 Breitbart article, Trump voiced support for the portion of Obamacare that forced religious organizations to deny their conscience or pay millions in fines:

      “During Thursday’s CNN Townhall event, when pressed by moderator Anderson Cooper on the ‘benefits’ of the ObamaCare mandate, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said, ‘Well, I like the mandate.’ He then went on to blast ObamaCare as a ‘disaster’ and President Obama as a liar.

      Trump made clear that he is not for single payer healthcare and wants to allow private insurers to compete across state lines. Trump is, however, in favor of taking care ‘of those who cannot take care of themselves.’ We do not want ‘people dying on the streets,’ Trump said.”

  6. High Taxes — Considering that Republicans abandoned President George H. W. Bush in his bid for a 2nd term due to his abandoning his “no new taxes” pledge, Trump seems to be taking a decidedly anti-conservative/pro-Democrat path:
    • A 22 September 2015 Washington Post article points to the Club for Growth’s quote of Trump saying, “I know people making a tremendous amount of money and paying virtually no taxes, and I think it’s unfair.” To me, this seems a lot like the class warfare tactics used since President Johnson started leading the Democrats.
    • Of the #1 killer of family farms and family businesses, a 28 September 2015 Politico article quoted Trump as saying, “A lot of families go through hell over the death tax.” However, no solution was offered to this ongoing crisis of governmental confiscation of family businesses.
    •  While Trump was working to seem conservative to the Southern voters, he is quoted in an Anderson Independent Mail article dated 15 February 2016 as saying of his abandoned plan to lower taxes: “We will bring a lot of additional companies in because our tax rates are going way down.”
    • In a 10 March 2016 article by WJLA, Trump acknowledged one reason that he should seek lower taxes when he said “They don’t like seeing bad trade deals, they don’t like seeing higher taxes, they don’t like seeing a loss of their jobs.”
    • In a Reuters article dated 7 May 2016, Trump backed off his promise lower taxes on all people and announced a tax hike on the rich when he said, “I am willing to pay more, and you know what, the wealthy are willing to pay more.” This sounds a lot like Obama’s “Warren Buffet tax” that would have done more to rising stars than to those already beyond the stratosphere.
  7. Immigration — To the many of us who hold obeying the law in high regard, the immigration debate figures centrally in any consideration of Trump. 
    • Beginning some time around a 29 June 2015 article in the Hill, Trump has been recorded as saying “As has been stated continuously in the press, people are pouring across our borders unabated. Public reports routinely state great amounts of crime are being committed by illegal immigrants. This must be stopped and it must be stopped now.” This demonstrates that Mr. Trump certainly understands our angst regarding the issue.
    • Throughout his campaign, Trump has emphasized the need for legal immigration that works to the benefit of both American workers and American companies.  Likewise, he has hammered the need for the protection of Americans from terrorists and foreign criminals in America.
    • However, just as the LA Times has refused to release the tape of Obama and Rashid Khalidi, the New York Times has refused to release a tape that certain NY Times board members suggest will show Trump’s deportation-of-illegal-immigrants claim to be nothing but campaign rhetoric.

While Trump may show a tendency to stray from conservative orthodoxy, this is no sin.  Nonetheless, those of us who are concerned about the above topics will need to find a way of advancing them.  Therefore, in light of Hillary’s record regarding transgenderism, abortion, the Second Amendment, Freedom of Religion, healthcare, taxes, and immigration, we need to support someone who seems likely to support our positions.  Right now, that means getting behind Trump.  Later, it likely means lighting a fire under Trump when he strays from the topics we must support.

Why Get Behind Trump?

My reasons for supporting Trump currently seem somewhat disjointed, but boil down to the following:

  • Defend the weak — Just as Christ selflessly sacrificed himself for our sins, we are called to protect the weak (such as girls) from predators (such as men pretending to be transgender).

    Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4 NIV)

  • Choose life — Although the Constitution puts the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press in the First Amendment (and all the rights following the First depend on these), the truly first right is the right to life.

    This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20a NIV)

  • Choose to not steal — By using the government to forcibly take money from one group to give to me does not align with my view of justice.

    Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit. (Exodus 23:2-3 NIV)

  • Defend the defenseless — When ISIS has pledged to use Obama’s lax immigration policy to bring terrorism to our shores, we must set the nation’s course to avoid another term of Obama’s reckless immigration policy.

    Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17 NIV)

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