This post goes out to both the people who think Donald Trump is a conservative and to those that keep telling me “well the word conservative doesn’t always mean the same thing, so really you can’t say he’s not a conservative.”
The word “conservative” may get stretched around and misused by people, but that doesn’t mean that the ideology of conservatism loses any of it’s potency.
I recently wrote a book on the topic of minority conservatives and political outreach. Part of that book was set around outlining what conservatism is, because frankly we can’t expect to do outreach to people if we don’t even know what the hell we are reaching out to them about.
So I’m going to give you a little sneak peak at my book and in doing so show why Donald Trump is, 100% with no wiggle room, not a conservative.
The chapter that explains conservative principles first gives out a brief list, before explaining why these things are conservative values. I’m just going to give you the list, you can buy the book to read more.
Under each point you will find the reasons why Donald Trump doesn’t fit this facet of conservatism.
• Small and limited government
This should be obvious. Donald Trump has no love of limited government, in fact he wants to expand government further into the private sector in order to put more regulations on businesses.
He also has no love of the 10th amendment, given that he’s promised to change libel laws (a state level law) and his promise to do away with Common Core completely ignores the fact that Common Core by itself (not Race to the Top) was a state created and voluntarily adopted concept. Now if he wants to remove Race to the Top, I’d be all for that, but he either doesn’t understand the difference or just doesn’t give a crap that what he’s suggested would be a gross overreach of Federal powers.
He’s also promised to use executive orders just as freely as President Obama if he’s president.
And he’s supported socialized/single-payer healthcare on multiple occasions, which most certainly isn’t a love of limited or small government.
Definitely doesn’t sound like a conservative to me.
• Checks & balances on the branches of government
Donald Trump either has no idea what the separation of powers is or just doesn’t care, either way he’s not a conservative.
He blatantly ignores the fact that to change libel laws he would have to overturn a Supreme Court ruling or just outright try to ignore it.
Trump also, inexplicably, thinks that Judges sign bills. Which is just so completely wrong on every level.
• Government protection of natural rights (life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of Happiness), and civil rights in the Constitution
Here’s a place where he most certainly hasn’t got a conservative bone in his body. Any person who thinks that eminent domain is a great idea even in the case of private companies using it to snatch people’s homes so they can build a parking lot.
Eminent domain has a purpose, but not one nearly as wide as the scope that Trump seems to think it should. It’s there for necessary functions like expanding roads, building oil pipelines, and other infrastructure needs…not for Mr. Trump (or other private business owners) to add a parking structure for their casino.
He also does not seem to have much love for liberty, as he mocks people who support free speech as “foolish” and seems to have little acquaintance with the Bill of Rights either.
• Minimal regulation on business and individuals, only those needed to ensure protection of rights.
This one is so damn obviously not a Trump trait that I should even have to explain it. He’s all for putting further taxes and regulations on businesses in order, he thinks, to force them to return to the United States. Unfortunately for him he’s about as economically literate as Bernie Sanders and doesn’t realize that’s not how trade tariffs work and that we need to decrease regulations and increase free trade in our country in order to bring businesses back to the United States. Given that one of the major reasons that people move their manufacturing to Mexico is Mexico has more free trade agreements with other countries.
• Equality before the law (not equality of results)
Trump has indicated a complete lack of knowledge or concern for due process when it comes to deportation. That’s not equality before the law by any stretch.
• Individual liberty
His support for eminent domain disqualifies him in this area as well. You can’t have individual liberty if you don’t have a right to your own property.
He also appears to have no respect for freedom of religion, along with the other parts of the first amendment he appears to think are unimportant, given that he believes the banning immigrants based on their religion is a fine idea and along with that goes his plan to shut down mosques (even when the more sensible solution would be to get information from mosques that harbor extremists, rather than shutting them down.) Guess what, that’s not conservative.
• Rule of law, not mob rule (Democratic-Republic, not democracy)
During the most recent debate he literally decried the delegate system that we have and claimed that even if he didn’t get the required number to be the nominee that he should just get the spot anyway if he has the most.
Conservative, he is not.
• Strong military and strong foreign policy
And now, the Trump supporter thinks, I have to admit he might be conservative on something. I mean who has stronger military policy than Donald Trump right?
He’s policy sounds tough on the outside, but “strong” in this case also means intelligent and, well, not illegal. He’s repeatedly made claims that he would force soldiers to commit illegal acts, talked about “carpet bombing” ISIS which would end in so many civilian casualties that it’s absurd.
He also, to date, has no foreign policy or military advisors on his team, preferring, I suppose, to get his information from “the news shows”.
His actions would also horrifically make a mess of our foreign policy. He has no plans to work with foreign nations, must empty rhetoric on how he will “negotiate the best deals, humongous deals, the best” with countries like Iran.
He’s also promised to be “neutral” with our greatest Middle Eastern ally, Israel.
He is also the only Presidential candidate in this primary (to my knowledge) to have actual countries, many of whom are our allies, have debated banning him from their country.
Donald Trump has also made the incredibly foolish policy decision in the past that he would decide to nationalize foreign oil fields, which would be a foreign policy nightmare for America’s reputation.
• Free markets/Capitalism/Free trade
Trump fails this across the board. For a “great businessman” he has no concept of capitalism or free markets, probably because his biggest “successes” were in fields fueled by cronyism and protectionist government policies. He has admitted to being a crony capitalist and using bribes to politicians to ease his way in business and he has zero understanding of how free markets or free trade benefit us economically, as a country or individually.
• Lower taxes/Simplifying tax code
As I already mentioned in the section on business regulations, Donald Trump has no plan to lower taxes or to simplify the tax code. His plans don’t even work mathematically. He wants to increase tariffs on businesses, which will only serve to hurt consumers. He might as well be Bernie Sanders in this regard.
• Reducing government spending by cutting and reforming government programs
Donald Trump has no intention to cut or reform programs. He keeps mentioning that he will get rid of “waste, fraud, and abuse” but dodges the questions that come after that, the ones that point out his “waste, fraud, and abuse” numbers don’t match up with reality. He has no intention to reform Social Security in any meaningful way, in fact he admitted in the last debate to being more similar to Democrats in regards to this government program, and his understanding of Medicaid and Medicare spending is woefully uninformed.
Even on the programs he claims to want to cut he has no actual plan on how to accomplish it.
So there you have it. He’s not conservative.
End of story.