For the umpteenth time, Donald Trump is no conservative. He is an economic populist. When asked to name the top three functions of government, he said national security, health care and education. Two of the three named “duties” one does not find in Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution.
This puts him exactly where the country is politically — center-left. Americans talk the talk as to their alleged concern for ever-increasing debt. But when asked, “Which programs to cut?” the same complainers look as blank as Homer Simpson when asked to help Bart with his algebra.
Trump says he wants to “fix” Social Security. For a time, President George W. Bush wanted to allow those under 55 to “invest” part of their payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts. Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., could not have been happier, knowing that such a plan scared much of America, no matter how many times Bush tried to assure those over the age of 55 that their Social Security “would not be touched.” Bush’s poll numbers dropped and he abandoned his plan.
Trump flat-out proposes protectionism to stop jobs from being “shipped out” and to impose tariffs on our trading rivals to stop them from “cheating.” The problem is most Americans believe that other countries exploit by protecting their markets and “manipulating” their currency. Assuming this is true, economist Milton Friedman, a Ronald Reagan advisor, said protectionism simply protects against cheap prices for the American consumers. So on trade, Trump is wrongheaded, but no more wrongheaded than Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump recently pulled a 180 on the job-destroying minimum wage, first saying he opposed an increase, now saying he might support one. But this puts him on the same side as not only Democrats, but with Republicans like Dr. Ben Carson, former Sen. Rick Santorum and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
As with socialist Bernie Sanders, economic anxiety fuels Trump’s candidacy. After eight years of Obamanomics — raising taxes, increasing regulations, “stimulus” and “investing” taxes on failed “green initiatives,” most of the country says that economically we are on the wrong track. Their near stagnant paychecks, unemployment and under-employment tell many Americans that this recovery is the worst in their lifetime. Given the shared grievances of Sanders supporters and Trump supporters, Sanders voters may, in some number, turn to Trump over Clinton.
Unfortunately, the correct prescription to deal with this — lowering taxes, reducing the size of government and reducing regulations — is not what voters want. They want the social safety net preserved, not reformed. This is what Trump is offering.
Trump, unlike Clinton, is not a global-warming alarmist. Asked about climate change, he called it an exaggeration argued that policies to stop it endanger job creation. This, too, puts Trump on the side of most Americans. Polls of likely voters show that of their top 23 concerns, climate change ranks at or near the bottom. A recent poll found even most millennials do not consider climate change much of a threat.
To the many conservatives who are unhappy with Trump vs. Clinton, consider this. Trump claims he would appoint Supreme Court justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, a dramatic difference from the kind Clinton would nominate. Yes, Trump suggested appointing his pro-Roe v. Wade sister, but there’s no doubt that she is exactly the kind of justice that Clinton would appoint. As to the Second Amendment, Clinton wants to hold gun manufacturers liable for crimes committed by criminals who use guns.
Depending upon how the question is asked, most Americans want the borders secured before beginning any discussion on what to do about the immigration status of the millions here illegally –Trump’s position.
Whether Trump can build a wall, let alone get Mexico to pay is, at best, uncertain. But his views at least suggest that finally we may secure the borders, whether with additional manpower, fencing or other technology or a combination of both. Trump threatens to withhold money from “sanctuary” cities, which refuse to turn over arrested illegal aliens to federal immigration officials. He promises to end “catch and release,” and to require employers to check the immigration status of new hires.
Trump not only claims he opposed the Iraq War, but accuses George W. Bush of lying us into it. This is both wrong and shameful, but many Americans — certainly those on the hard left — oppose the war and feel deceived about it. Trump, at least, criticized Obama’s decision to completely pull the troops out, and feels this aided the rise of ISIS.
So Donald Trump’s populism on the economy — a promise of massive tax cuts for the middle class while saying “the rich will pay more” — and his “I’m not Bush” position on the Iraq War, put him right smack-dab in the middle of the center-left American mainstream.
So, yes, Trump can win.
COPYRIGHT 2016 LAURENCE A. ELDER
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Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.
Okay. couldn’t agree more, but where does that leave us? Is he worse than Clinton? We’ve lost our choices. A non vote is also a vote for Clinton. What is a true conservative to do? Is it too late for our poor country?
He is center-right not center-left. Center-right is where the rest of the country is, the 70% silent majority. The Republican party is NOT the Conservative party, it is a center-right party. We believe in small gov, fiscal responsibility, national defense (not offense), individual freedom and responsibility and America first. The neocons took over the party in 2000 and have ruined the brand since then. Trump is taking it back from them and growing the party by doing so. This is a Revolution and Trump is the revolutionary. The establishment doesn’t like that. Tough shit.
Google the list of the 45 + people who died around the Clinton’s. Read about how many of them committed suicide by shooting themselves in the head twice!!! Read about the democrat faithful medical examiners and judges who ruled these obvious murders as suicides. Continue your search on Google to see how Bill Clinton sold China ballistic missiles capable of hitting the US at the same time that he was facing impeachment. Read about how Bill and Hillary Clinton have made millions out of a phony charity. Read about how Hillary had AIDS drugs going to Africa watered down so she could keep the extra money. Read about why the FEDS were going after the ranches out west. There is uranium there. Hillary sold the uranium though a Canadian company to Russia after seizing the lands and used the money for her political campaign. Read about how the Clinton’s control the drug smuggling into Arkansas. Keep reading because I am only scratching the surface here. To compare Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump is like comparing Adolph Hitler to Martin Luther King. The Clinton’s are life long criminals as are the Bush’s. Trump may be a gamble but Hillary Clinton is a horrible criminal.
Trump is not a politician and I, for one, don’t expect him to sound like a politician when ‘splainin’ his stand on this or that issue. I also think he’s allowed to change his mind occasionally — especially when we see Hillary has made a career out of changing her opinions like her underwear whenever the wind blows from another direction. Trump was not my choice for the GOP nomination, but he will get my vote — because no matter what his enemies on both sides of the aisle and in the media can dredge up, true or false — he is a better person and far better for my American nation than Hillary Clinton. His election would also make clear to some self-styled conservatives like Romney, Bill Kristol, George Will, Eric Erickson, etc., their utter irrelevance to the national debate.