Is Trump a “conservative”?

I don’t vote according to labels but there is no doubt that so far as modern political labels go, conservative is the closest it gets. This is from an article on Why I Support Donald Trump and Not Ted Cruz which begins by addressing what does it mean to be a “conservative”:

“Conservatism,” as [Russell] Kirk explained it, encompassed an inherent distrust of liberal democracy, staunch opposition to egalitarianism, and an extreme reluctance to commit the United States to global “crusades” to impose American “values” on “unenlightened” countries around the world. Conservatives should celebrate local traditions, customs, and the inherited legacies of other peoples, and not attempt to destroy them. America, Kirk insisted, was not founded on a democratic, hegemonic ideology, but as an expression and continuation of European traditions and strong localist, familial and religious belief. Indeed, Kirk authored a profound biography of Senator Robert Taft, “Mr. Conservative,” who embodied those principles.

It’s a long article and well worth reading through. Here, however, is the core point on why Trump is preferred to Cruz:

What is needed in this nation now is dramatic, even radical change. What is needed is not someone who will simply raise Hell, but someone who will be more like a bull loosed in a terrified china shop. Half measures and regular politicians, “mainstream conservatives” like Ted Cruz, I don’t think can pull it off. Trump, I believe, just maybe can.

“Just maybe can” is a better probability statement than is attached to any other candidate at the present time. Interestingly, and by no means a coincidence since this is a central issue in this election, Byron York has asked Trump what makes him a conservative. Here is the Q and A:

Conservatives are very worried about you. They concede that you’ve brought attention to issues that are important to them, like immigration or radical Islamic terrorism. But they don’t believe you’re one of them. Are you a conservative?

I am, and I’ll tell you what will happen, I think, is they’ll maybe see it more and more as time goes by.

If you think about it, if you take a look at what I’ve done, I’ve brought millions and millions of people to the Republican Party, and to the conservative party, because, as an example, the debate had 24 million people. If I wasn’t in the debate, would it have had three, or four, or two, or what would it have been? And you look at the kind of numbers that they’re doing on television, where every one of the stations, the networks that are covering us, and honestly in particular covering me, because I do seem to get a lot more coverage than anybody else, but their ratings are through the roof. So that focus is a very important focus because other people are allowed to take advantage of all of the eyeballs that I’m bringing to the screen.

But what makes you a conservative? What does being a conservative mean to you?

Well, I think it’s just a conservative value. I’m very conservative fiscally. I mean, we owe $19 trillion, this is going to destroy our country, we’re going to be destroyed by what’s going on fiscally. And in terms of the economy, in terms of jobs, we’re losing our jobs to everybody. You take a look at the kind of numbers that we’re talking about with the closures and just pure and simple the number of jobs that have been lost, it’s incredible. To places like China, Vietnam is the new hot one, they’re taking our jobs. Mexico, always. They’re outsmarting us at every turn, and we don’t seem to be able to do it. I mean it’s an incredible thing.

I will say this. In terms of conservative, I’ve had tremendous polling numbers with conservatives, I think to a large extent because of the border. Nobody has that issue like I have it, whether it’s building the wall or closing the border and letting people in but they have to come in legally.

So why have you so many conservative leaders — the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, National Review, lots of them don’t think you’re a conservative. They would look at what you just said about trade — they would say protectionism and tariffs, that’s not conservative.

No, no, not protectionism — fairness. China is making hundreds of billions of dollars a year with us. At some point, we have to say, look, you can’t do that. I mean we have rebuilt China virtually. Now, I am a free trader, 100 percent. But we can’t continue to lose tremendous amounts of money to these countries. We’re losing with virtually everybody, everybody that we do business with. The fact is, our leaders have been outsmarted at every step of the game. And we just can’t do that.

Much more again at the link. But if conservative means to preserve what is good while allowing positive change to occur, the Donald may well be the most conservative candidate in this election. It is also what I liked about Tony Abbott even though no two people may be as far apart personally from each other than he and Donald Trump.

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