What is Donald Trump up to, and what are his supporters to do? Is Trump betraying his supporters, or are Chuck, Nancy and the media misrepresenting his position?
For the hundredth time, I supported Ted Cruz, not Trump, for the GOP presidential nomination. But when Trump was victorious, I supported him against Hillary Clinton, and I have no regrets about that because though Trump sometimes disappoints, Clinton would have been a wholesale nightmare. Even in hindsight, it’s not a close call.
I have also criticized a small fraction of conservative pundits for their seemingly obsessive knee-jerk opposition to Trump and their apparent glee when he sometimes lives down to their expectations. My main objection to some never-Trumpers is their gratuitous piling on and apparent joy in doing so, even on unfair allegations, such as those of pre-election collusion with Russia. None of us should be motivated by bragging rights — the dubious satisfaction of saying “I told you so,” especially when the interests of the nation hang in the balance.
Since the primaries, I have hoped that despite my doubts about Trump’s allegiance to certain conservative principles, he would be able to advance a conservative agenda more than a centrist Republican could or would. This is not because he is a so-called outsider but mainly because he has shown a willingness to fight. Whatever else you might say about the Republican Party, it has lost its backbone, particularly on budget battles.
But the courage to fight is meaningless unless you are willing to fight for the right things. Given Trump’s general non-ideological bent, why should his feistiness give us any solace?
Well, Trump campaigned mostly as a conservative, and if the campaign showed him anything, it is that leftists — no matter what he may have learned living his entire life in liberal New York City — are his sworn enemies. If he hadn’t chosen sides before, he had no choice now. If he hadn’t been paying much attention to ideological issues before, he surely was learning now and becoming more conservative in the process.
No, I had no illusions that Trump had converted overnight to constitutional conservatism, but I was hopeful that he would make significant strides in rolling back Barack Obama’s agenda. I sincerely want to hold on to that…