When Donald Trump raised his hand at Chris Wallace’s inquiry regarding which Republican candidates would not pledge to support the eventual nominee, it was far more telling than we knew.
Many saw that act, as Trump himself declared, a refusal to give up “leverage” with the GOP – but I see it differently. He was telegraphing something very important.
I have asked Trump devotees, just what characteristics make Trump a Republican (even a nominal one) and what evidence exists in his history that validates them? He’s taken progressive positions on abortion, taxes and health care. He opposes cuts to entitlements. He opposed the Iraq war. Bill Clinton is his favorite politician and he has donated heavily to Democrats, including the putative Dem nominee, Hillary Clinton.
I’ve talked to a handful of Trump supporters and asked these questions – the responses are like asking Hillary supporters to list her accomplishments. Other that phrases like “stands up to the establishment” and some with the words “immigration” and “fight”, that’s about all I get.
If that’s what you want, you should be supporting Ted Cruz or Rick Perry. They were doing just that before Trump premiered his new scripted reality show.
Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) makes a valid point in his op-ed in USAT:
Trump’s rise is, like that of his Democratic counterpart Bernie Sanders, a sign that a large number of voters don’t feel represented by more mainstream politicians. On many issues, ranging from immigration reform, which many critics view as tantamount to open borders, to bailouts for bankers, the Republican and Democratic establishments agree, while a large number (quite possibly a majority) of Americans across the political spectrum feel otherwise. But when no “respectable” figure will push these views, then less-respectable figures such as Trump or Sanders (a lifelong socialist who once wrote that women dream of gang rape, and that cervical cancer results from too few orgasms) will arise to fill the need.
But Trump and Sanders are just symptoms. The real disease is in the ruling class that takes such important subjects out of political play, in its own interest.
I actually agree with Insty – as far as he goes.
Where I differ is that when I look at Trump, I see someone virtually indistinguishable from the sort of people who make up the current ruling class. He is a moneyed, connected, influential, ideologically androgynous, northeast corridor dwelling patrician who moves in the same circles with the powerful Democrats and Republicans – who are increasingly ideologically androgynous like him. He doesn’t have to depend on convincing people to support him with their money or be concerned about what people think any more than the connected Washington politicos with their sugar daddy funded war chests do. Trump is Tom Steyer with a weave.
And yet he is raking in support from both establishment AND conservative segments of the GOP. The establishment, I get – they see him as one of them even as he rails against them and calls them “stupid” – but the conservative support completely baffles me.
Trump is certainly willing to fight – apparently even with Republicans, especially the conservative ones. That in itself should be a huge red flag. Ronald Reagan often invoked the Republican 11th commandment – “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.” Now prickly little Donnie is about to turn his fully loaded yap on the other GOP candidates just like a Democrat.
Seems to me that percentage wise, Donald Trump is about as much a Republican as Bernie Sanders is a Democrat (tip – Sanders is listed as an Independent and is a self-avowed socialist, not a Donk). Trump refusing to pledge to support the eventual nominee signaled that he’s not thinking about running on a third party ticket in the future, he already is…and that is bad news for America because the Trump Party only represents the ruling class.