Trump Explains His Democratic Past
To say Donald Trump’s meteoric rise to the top of the Republican primary field has been bumpy would be putting it mildly. His comments on Mexican immigrants cost him a small fortune in business associations. His sneering contempt for John McCain’s service record threatened to turn a nation of veterans vehemently against him. His feud with Fox’s Megyn Kelly drew criticism from all sides. And yet, time after time, he has overcome these stumbling blocks. In fact, he has managed in each case to turn these seeming blunders into fuel for his unstoppable rocket ride to the nomination. If nothing else, Americans are being treated to one of the most remarkable political stories in modern history.
Watching helplessly as their base goes to this rebellious outsider, Republican Party leaders have decided that Trump’s political past may be their key to regaining control of this election. Jeb Bush and RNC insiders have begun turning up the heat when it comes to Trump’s conservative bona fides. How can a man who has self-identified as a Democrat for most of his life, supporting socially liberal causes like abortion rights, now claim to be the second coming of Ronald Reagan?
Ironically, it is this very comparison to Reagan (a comparison, can we say, that Republican candidates across the board should stop making…guys, we’ll damn sure recognize Reagan 2.0 when he arrives; you won’t have to tell us) that Trump is using to defend himself. Reagan, he said on MSNBC Thursday, also started his career as a Democrat before changing his allegiances.
But Trump’s strongest defense is that, when you think about it, what difference does it make? “I wasn’t in politics,” he said. “It didn’t matter whether I was a Republican or whether I was a Democrat – it was something that absolutely had no bearing on me. But if you look at my general attitudes in life, I think I would have certainly the more conservative label put on me.”
And can anyone claim otherwise? If you’d never heard Trump say one political thing in your life, would you have branded him a Republican or a Democrat? Has he ever presented himself as anything other than a champion of capitalism, wealth, success, and personal destiny? If you want to take his earlier political stances into consideration, that’s fair. But to act as though he’s just “playing a role” to win the election is to make an illogical leap not born out of evidence or common sense. History is rife with great conservatives who were once liberals. It’s called getting older and wiser.
Besides, he’s running against a man who is scarcely more than a Democrat right now! If Bush is going to attack Trump for holding liberal opinions twenty years ago, someone ought to ask him when he’s going to let go of his. This train is on the move, RINOs. It’s not about Donald Trump’s past. It’s not even about Donald Trump at all, frankly. It’s about pulling this once-great party back from the brink of disaster. It’s baffling that RNC insiders don’t see that.
But then, when you think about it, it really isn’t.