Donald Trump is not a conservative. He’s a populist. It’s very important to understand there is a fundamental difference between a conservative ideologue and a populist campaigning on a conservative platform, because that’s the key to understanding President Trump.
Ideologues tend to refuse to budge or compromise on their core beliefs, while populists are far more concerned with getting things accomplished. For example, pro-choice ideologues might agree with the stated position of Planned Parenthood, which asserts that even infanticide should become a legal option in the event of a botched abortion.
Conversely, pro-life advocates might argue that even the “day after” abortion pill is wrong, because it prematurely terminates a human life. A populist might propose a compromise position, perhaps suggesting the abortion pills that only work immediately after conception be allowed in order to reach an agreement on a total ban of late-term abortions.
Normally I’m not the type of person who usually joins a crowd, and especially not when the crowd seems in danger of raging out of control. I didn’t jump on board the “Trump train” as soon as it started pulling out of the station. Instead, I waited until our choices had boiled down to either Trump or Clinton before deciding to give him the benefit of my doubt, and my vote. (I adamantly refused to waste my vote on the equivalent of Ross Perot 2.0 in the 2016 campaign, also known as Evan McMullin, the last gasp hope of the “Never Trump” crowd. For the record, that’s exactly how Bill Clinton got elected in 1992 — dividing the vote of conservatives.)
While his campaign rhetoric clearly articulated conservative ideas and beliefs, it wasn’t clear that Trump would be any different than any other politician and could be trusted to follow through with his promises, once elected. After all, it was a well-known fact that Trump had donated tens of thousands of dollars to the uber-liberal leader of the Democrat Party, Chuck Schumer.
On a number of occasions, in interviews recorded years or even decades prior to his running for office, Trump’s personal ideology seems to echo liberal Democratic social and economic policies, not the more conservative principles of his campaign rhetoric. He was pro-choice before he was pro-life. Therefore, conservatives had every reason to be concerned about how Trump might govern prior to the election.
Since his election, I’ve been pleasantly surprised, and even pleased to note that Trump has been doing virtually everything in his power to fulfill his most conservative campaign promises. He tried to get the Affordable Care Act repealed and replaced. Now Trump is currently pushing for tax reform. Illegal immigration has dropped precipitously, while the economy has shown clear and unmistakable signs of explosive growth. The utter destruction of ISIS now seems to be only a matter of time, a fait accompli. In short, Donald Trump appears to have an indefatigable desire to accomplish the goals he set for his presidency, and seems to be enjoying some measure of success despite nearly overwhelming opposition to his administration from the media as well as significant elements of both political parties.
No. I’m not a Donald Trump fanboy in disguise. I’ve never watched a single episode of The Apprentice, eaten a Trump steak, or read The Art of the Deal. I don’t follow him on Twitter, either — though I thoroughly understand Trump’s need and desire to maintain a direct link to his supporters outside the filters and strong media bias, I honestly cringe when I read or hear about some of his more infamous tweets. It would be ludicrous to suggest that I’m drunk on Trump’s brand of kool-aid.
On the other hand, the incredibly biased and unfair media coverage of Trump is rather breathtaking to behold, and having the opposite effect that it theoretically should — instead of alienating me from Trump supporters, it’s driving me to become one. Frankly, I’m amazed that statistics can show that the media’s coverage of Trump is overwhelmingly negative, and yet he still seems to be able to function as the Commander-in-Chief. Even the Washington Post admits than nine out of every ten stories about Trump is negative.
Many of them later prove to be poorly sourced and provide false or distorted information — the very reason Trump began using the expression “fake news”, which the media now hilariously accuse him of falsely claiming to have coined the phrase. Really? That matters?
It isn’t terribly surprising that the media adored former President Barack Obama — he’s handsome, articulate, historic, and most importantly, liberal, just like most of them. What was shocking was the degree to which they would ignore Obama’s transgressions no matter how serious they appeared to be. Even a college student in J-school could have connected the dots between the transparent lies that ranged from “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” to “Benghazi was about an internet video.” But it’s very surprising, and somewhat troubling to see how far the media will go in their efforts to destroy Donald Trump. Much like the NFL, they don’t seem to understand what their patrons actually want from them…from the media, we just want the truth. It seems rather obvious that the media provides invaluable assistance to the liberal Democrat politicians leading the Never-Trump crowd. Nor is it surprising that liberal Democrats would vehemently oppose a serious threat to their power — a populist campaigning on a platform constructed of primarily conservative planks.
However, it’s difficult to ascertain the motives of conservatives that joined the Never-Trump crowd and gleefully criticize those who refuse to abandon Trump in spite of the never-ending criticism.