The election of 2016 is a massive referendum on the direction of the country and whether conservatism can reign again in the United States of America. Americans have not had the chance to vote for a conservative for President of the United States since 1984, when Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory over Walter Mondale. Since the inauguration of George H.W. Bush, America has continued its descent into European socialism. The Democrats have become a far left, Marxist party bent on fundamentally transforming the country. The Republicans have put forth little to no opposition to the Democrat agenda and have not stood for conservative principles since Reagan. Since 1992, Republicans have lost the popular vote in all but 1 presidential election. Moderate Republicans like Bush 41, Bush 43, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney have failed to articulate the conservative vision for America. Conservatives have waited a long time for the chance to return to power, a wait exacerbated by the disastrous Presidency of Barack Obama. As bad as Obama’s reign has been, it has invigorated the conservative grassroots and given birth to the Tea Party. Conservatives across the country stood up, rejected the liberal Democrats and the establishment Republicans and retook the House of Representatives in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. Conservatives looked poised to retake the Presidency.
The current Republican frontrunner in the critical election of 2016 is businessman Donald J. Trump. Almost immediately upon entering the race, Trump was attacked viciously and continuously from the left and the media. Seeing him come under attack and feeling angry at the incompetence of the establishment Republicans, many conservatives rallied to his side. Throughout the fall, rather than fully vetting Trump’s history and record, conservatives were forced to spend attention fighting off constant criticism from the left. However, as time passed, Trump’s positions on issues, his record of donations, and his moral character have become clarified and it has become exposed that Trump is not the choice we conservatives have been waiting for since Reagan.
In this essay, I will thoroughly analyze Donald Trump’s positions pertaining the Constitutional issues, foreign policy issues, economic issues, immigration and cultural issues. I will also analyze his donation history, his business history and his moral character and evaluate whether he should be the man conservatives trust to restore the greatness of our country.
The restoration of constitutional government and principles is one of the most important goals of this election and of the conservative movement. Conservatism draws its philosophical base from the wisdom of our Constitution and the framers. Conservatives cherish life, liberty, property, limited government, free markets, and the free exchange of ideas. None of these goals can be achieved without a rededication to the Constitution. Donald Trump does not understand this, and it is very concerning. Trump almost never talks about the Constitution or liberty in his speeches; he has mentioned “Constitution” three times during campaign speeches, “liberty” twice (not counting references to Liberty University), and “freedom” two times. He also has shown a troubling lack of knowledge and adherence to constitutional principles on many of the issues challenging our Constitution and our liberty.
Article I: Separation of Powers:
Current President Barack Obama has abused his executive authority to circumvent Congress and enact policies such as his legalization of 5 million illegal immigrants and his refusal to submit his treaty with Iran to the Senate. Executive agencies have also taken up the power of legislating; the executive branch issued 3,541 regulations totaling 79,066 pages in 2014. Restoring the legislative process to Congress as proscribed under Article I is an imperative necessity in order to preserve our constitutional system of checks and balances. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has indicated that he will not respect Congress’ lawmaking authority under Article I. When asked whether he will use executive orders, Trump said, “I won’t refuse it. I’m going to do a lot of things.” Trump added that he will use them for “the right things” and that he will “use them much better” than Obama. Trump has given just one example of something he would do via executive action: an order mandating that anyone that kills a police officer will get the death penalty. While that is a fine policy, the President does not have the power under the Constitution to rewrite federal homicide law in this way. That is something Congress must approve. Trump, like Obama does not comprehend or defend the constitutional system of separation of powers, which is what keeps the President from being a King-like tyrant.
The First Amendment:
Donald Trump has shown disregard for the First Amendment, specifically its protections of free campaign speech, religious liberty and its protection of a free press.
Trump has said that he rejects the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which held that the First Amendment protects campaign spending by individuals and corporations. Not only is campaign spending an example of free speech, the ability to freely raise money helps grassroots candidates defeat incumbents and well-funded opponents. Conservatives believe in the importance of every person’s right to free speech, and that includes speech supporting a political candidate.
Disturbingly, Trump sided with the left in condemning Kim Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it violated her religion. Trump added, “You have to go with it. The decision’s been made, and that’s the law of the land.” Trump’s refusal to stand with Davis shows his lack of support for religious liberty. The First Amendment clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, yet Trump unlike his rival, Ted Cruz, does not respect the free exercise of religion.
Trump has also made concerning comments relating to the freedom of the press. He has advocated “opening up” libel laws which would allow people to sue news organizations “when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles.” This violates the framers’ intent of a free press that scrutinizes the country’s leaders. We conservatives know that the press is not on our side, but we acknowledge their ability to freely report stories. Trump’s position is not consistent with our constitutional protection of a free press.
The Second Amendment:
The Second Amendment’s protection of the right to bear arms is one of the great safeguards of liberty built into the American constitutional system. A people are not free if they lack the ability to successfully defend themselves. While Donald Trump claims to be a staunch advocate of the Second Amendment today, that wasn’t always the case. Trump supported the 1994 assault weapons ban, which was signed into law by Bill Clinton and did absolutely nothing to reduce crime. In his book, The America We Deserve, published in 2000, Trump criticizes Republicans who “walk the NRA line and refuse even limited restrictions.” He goes on to say, “I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” With the Supreme Court hanging in the balance and knowing that just one liberal justice could rewrite the Second Amendment, Trump’s commitment to the right to keep and bear guns is questionable.
The Fifth Amendment:
Like life and liberty, conservatives cherish the right to own and maintain property free of government intrusion. The Fifth Amendment, among other things, explicitly protects the individuals’ right to own private property, saying that private property cannot be seized for public use without fair compensation. In 2005, in a decision repulsive to the framers’ intent and private property rights, the Supreme Court ruled in Kelo v. New London that private property can be taken and given to another private owner to further economic development. Trump supports the Kelo decision specifically and the transferring of private property from one private owner to another in general. Trump has bragged about using eminent domain to seize buildings in Manhattan, and in Atlantic City, where he took three elderly women to Court for refusing to sell their property to him. Trump’s record is anathema to conservatives who believe that private property rights are crucial safeguards against the power of government.
The Tenth Amendment:
The forgotten Amendment, the Tenth Amendment was put in place as a limit on the powers of the federal government in relation to the states. It quite simply states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” Therefore, the federal government only has the powers explicitly given to it in Article I, Section VIII. Most politicians on both sides of the aisle do not understand and apply this Amendment, and Trump is no exception. One issue where this is evident is land control. The federal government owns massive amounts of land in the West; in Nevada, the government controls 84% of the land, in Utah 57%, in Oregon 53%, in Idaho 50%. When asked whether some of this land should be transferred to the states, Trump replied, “That’s not good, because you want to keep the land great, and you don’t know what the state’s going to do with it. Are they going to sell it if they get into a little bit of trouble? I don’t think it should be sold. This is magnificent land and we have to be great stewards of this land.” This answer is a microcosm of how Trump views the Tenth Amendment. Trump argues that only the federal government is capable of keeping this land pristine, that the states are unable to do so. This view is at odds with our federalist system, where the federal government can only do what the Constitution explicitly allows, and the states retain all other powers.
Article V: Convention of States
Regardless of the outcome of this presidential election, more than just control of the Presidency is needed to return the country to its constitutional origins. There are too many structural problems that have festered and weakened our constitutional system. Problems such as imbalanced budgeting, a destructive bureaucracy, career Congressmen, and a runaway Supreme Court need to be resolved by Constitutional Amendments. All 27 Amendments to date have been passed with a 2/3 vote in both houses of Congress and approval by 3/4 of the states. However, the framers, knowing that the states needed to have recourse in the event of a tyrannical federal government, proscribed another method of amending the Constitution. Amendments can also be drafted at a convention of 2/3 or more of the states, which then must be approved by 3/4 of the states to take effect. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and other candidates have all endorsed and called for a convention of states to introduce amendments such as congressional and judicial term limits, a balanced budget amendment and a reformation of regulations. Donald Trump has not. Trump’s unwillingness to commit to this initiative show that he is not a limited government constitutionalist at first; he is instead a nationalist who will grow the expanse of the federal government.
The Supreme Court:
The Constitution and the work of the framers provide the philosophical and ideological base of conservatism. Donald Trump shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the Constitution, liberty and freedom. Rather than a constitutional conservative, Trump is more of a nationalist favoring a strong central government. His inability to understand and promote the Constitution calls into question his ability to nominate Supreme Court justices. With the next President likely to net as many as 4 appointments, having a President who understands the Constitution and will nominate principled originalists to the Court is essential. In addition to his lack of understanding, Trump has also mentioned that his sister, who ruled in favor of giving constitutional protection to partial-birth abortion, would make a “phenomenal” Supreme Court justice. A Trump Presidency would be a disaster for conservatives hoping to restore constitutional government in America.
Foreign Policy Issues:
The last 8 years have been disastrous for American foreign policy. All over the world, the situation is worse for freedom and democracy than it was when Barack Obama took office. With Hillary Clinton by his side, Obama presided over failures in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Russia, China, Iran and Cuba. A President committed to strengthening American leadership in the world to defeat our enemies and secure our freedom is needed now more than ever. Barack Obama is America’s Neville Chamberlain; it is now time to elect America’s Winston Churchill. The last thing America needs is military isolationism and continued withdrawing from the world stage. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is, and always has been a somewhat radical isolationist who would continue America’s retreat around the world. Trump has a dearth of knowledge about foreign policy issues and will not name a team of foreign policy advisors. Instead, when asked with whom he is consulting on foreign policy, Trump responded with “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” Such foreign policy incoherence is dangerous to America’s security.
For the last 8 years, we have had a President who despises Israel and its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. It is absolutely disgraceful that an American President and the members of his party in Congress boycotted a speech by Netanyahu, yet the President has a rendezvous with Cuban dictator Raul Castro, a tyrant. Israel’s security depends on strong American leadership, and it is very important that we elect somebody who will stand proudly with our ally Israel. Donald Trump claims to be a strong believer in Israel’s sovereignty, though his evidence consists of nothing more than citing that he has Jewish friends and that he once attended a pro-Israel parade. In reality, Trump’s stances regarding Israel are very alarming to those who believe America should stand with its ally. Trump has said that Israel is the barrier to a peace agreement between them and the Palestinians: “A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things.” Trump also said that he doesn’t know “if Israel has the commitment” to reach peace and refused to say whether he believed that Jerusalem should be Israel’s undivided capital. This is absurd. Israel is surrounded by enemies who want nothing more than to wipe them off the face of the Earth. The barbarians surrounding them are the barrier to any peace agreement; and any agreement that allows for a “two-state solution” is unacceptable, because it would mean the final solution for Israel and its people.
Trump has also ludicrously claimed to be “neutral” between Israel and the Palestinians. After 8 years of a President who is “neutral”, the last thing Israel needs is another American President who will not stand firmly on their side. Despite this, Trump claims to be pro-Israel, though it is impossible to see how one can be pro-Israel and be neutral in a negotiation. Trump’s incoherence and naivety could lead to the destruction of our lone ally in the Middle East, Israel.
One of the biggest foreign policy blunders made by Obama is the disastrous Iran nuclear deal which relieved economic sanctions, gave the world’s leading state sponsor of terror $150 billion dollars in cash, and allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium without reliable, consistent inspections. The deal is a disaster; it is so bad that Obama refused to submit it to the United States Senate as a treaty because it was certain to fail. A nuclear Iran could mean disaster for Israel, Europe or the United States; and such a state would be the biggest threat to American national security since the Soviet Union. To give him credit, Trump has come out against the executive agreement and has criticized it. However, he also said that he would not rip the deal to shreds on the first day of his presidency, something every other Republican candidate promised to do. It is unclear what good leaving it in place would do as opposed to ripping it to shreds and re-imposing strong sanctions on Iran.
Iraq and ISIS:
Perhaps the most tangible example of Barack Obama’s disastrous foreign policy is Iraq and the rise of ISIS. Caused by the withdrawal of troops by Obama from an unstable state against the advice of his generals, ISIS has become a formidable terrorist group controlling land the size of Indiana and successfully engaging in terrorist attacks in Western Europe and the United States. Donald Trump has never had a coherent idea to stop ISIS and his plan changes once a week. One week he wants to send troops, the next week he doesn’t. Trump has proposed two suggestions that have remained consistent. One is seizing the oil from the lands ISIS controls. The other is to kill the families of terrorists, an alarming suggestion that reveals Trump’s lack of knowledge about the issue.
Even more objectionable than his incoherent ISIS policy is his radical view of the Iraq War. Although Trump claims to have been against the Iraq War from the very beginning, he expressed support for the war in 2002, and one day into the war, Trump said, “it looks to be a massive success from a military standpoint.” It was not until August 2004, 16 months into the war, that Trump criticized it publicly for the first time. Trump went on to call for the impeachment of President Bush, accusing him of lying to bring the United States into war, and later called him the worst President in American history. To this day, Trump blames the Iraq War for the rise of ISIS, not the Democrats’ sabotage of the war effort, not Obama’s disastrous political decision to remove the troops from Iraq and not the failure of “democracy projects” that don’t build democracy. Trump’s view of Iraq and his call for Bush’s impeachment is more radical than even Bernie Sanders will go, and is absolutely disgraceful from a Republican candidate.
Moreover, in the wake of the attempted terrorist attack on Pam Geller’s free speech in Garland, Texas in May 2015, Trump suggested that Geller was at fault for “provoking” the attack. Geller’s event was a protest against the radical Islamic terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. This shows that Trump doesn’t understand the threat of radical Islam. There is never an excuse to attempt to murder, regardless of whether you feel insulted. Radical Islamic terrorists will kill people to further their cause, and our President must understand this so he can destroy radical Islam.
Vladimir Putin’s Russia is another example of an American adversary that has taken advantage of the weakness of Barack Obama and began to project more power in the world. Knowing that Obama would do nothing, Putin seized the Crimea region of the Ukraine, and continues to bully his neighbors in Eastern Europe. America needs a strong President who will stand up to Putin and not tolerate his continuing desire for expansion. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has an ongoing love fest with the fascist Putin. Trump has shrugged off suggestions that Putin is killing journalists and political dissidents, even going as far as to say, “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.” “I think our country does plenty of killing also,” he added. During the November 10 GOP debate; Trump described his bromance with the dictator, saying he “got to know (Vladimir Putin) very well because we were both on ‘60 Minutes’; we were stable mates, we did well that night.” Trump’s praise for undemocratic leaders and dictators doesn’t end there. Trump praised North Korea’s communist dictator Kim Jong-un, saying he deserves “credit” for taking out his rivals. Trump has also praised the Chinese government’s response to the freedom-seeking protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989: “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak…as being spit on by the rest of the world.” Trump’s praise for dictators is very strange and not reflective of conservative principles, which reject totalitarianism in any form.
Regarding Russian intervention in Ukraine, Trump has said that the Crimean annexation and the threat to Ukraine’s security is a problem for Europe to solve and has criticized Germany, among other European nations for not doing enough to stop Putin. He has also said that he “does not care” whether Ukraine joins NATO. This is the language of an Obama-like isolationist who has no interest in preserving liberty and protecting our allies. We need a President who will be a leader and stand up to Putin’s bully tactics. As I’ll examine, Trump has shown complete disregard for America’s alliances and threatens to drag America back into isolationism of the 1930s sort.
Libya is yet another failure of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy. The 2011 invasion to topple Muammar Gaddafi failed as it left a power vacuum that ended up being filled by ISIS. Although Trump says today that the invasion was a failure, he supported the invasion in February 2011, saying, “we have to go in to save these lives.” This is yet another example of Donald Trump lying about foreign policy and showing that he has little to no substantive knowledge of foreign affairs.
Another example of Barack Obama providing aid and comfort to a murdering, totalitarian regime, Obama in 2014 announced that he would end U.S. sanctions on Cuba and normalize relations with the communist dictatorship. Obama even took a vacation to party with the homicidal Raul Castro, take pictures with a mural of Che Guevara, and refused to meet with the dissidents and protestors fighting for freedom in Cuba. Every Republican nominee denounced Obama’s plan to prop up the Castro regime…except Trump. Speaking to the idea of normalizing relations with Cuba, Trump said, “But the concept…it’s been out there for 50 years or whatever, and I think the concept of having there be some normalization is not a bad thing. Ultimately, it’s going to be good.” Again, Trump is showing that he doesn’t stand for strong American leadership and instead supports isolationism and retreat.
In such a time of world peril, we should also strengthen relationships with our allies. Obama treated allies such as Israel with utter disrespect, and it would be helpful to have a President who understands the importance of strong allies and friendships in the protection of freedom around the world. Donald Trump continually diminishes the importance of our alliances and suggests that our allies should pay us reparations for their mutual protection with us. Trump said, “We Americans are laughed at around the world for losing a hundred and fifty billion dollars year after year, for defending wealthy nations for nothing, nations that would be wiped off the face of the earth in about 15 minutes if it weren’t for us. Our ‘allies’ are making billions screwing us.” Trump shows absolute disrespect for our allies and doesn’t understand the benefit of having strong democracies around the world to American national security. This position begs the question: what would you do if our allies didn’t pony up the cash? Would Trump revoke our alliance? Let them be attacked without us jumping in? This reckless, isolationist foreign policy would result in the continuation of our allies around the world being attacked and threatened, and could result in America becoming the lone liberal democracy in the world.
Trump has explicitly suggested that Japan, South Korea, and Israel all pay reparations for us to provide for their defense. The security of these three states is crucial to the United States. Japan and South Korea are key trade and strategic allies who are threatened by tyrannies in China and North Korea. Japan and South Korea are examples of free democracies that need to be protected. Israel is under constant threat and attack from its many enemies. It is the only democracy in the Middle East and needs to be protected at all costs. A conservative would not allow freedom to be lost in these places; Trump has indicated that he would.
Another worrying trend with Trump’s isolationism is his position on NATO. With radical Islamic terrorists targeting Western Europe and Putin’s Russia threatening to take land in Eastern Europe. In his 2000 book, Trump argued that NATO is simply a vehicle for Europe to place their burden of international responsibility on the United States. In the current election campaign, he has called for us to reduce our role and the amount of money we spend on NATO. Rather than withdrawing from all over the world stage, including Europe, we should be engaging and working with our allies on how to better defend ourselves and protect our freedom. Trump has taken a position that liberals like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton won’t even take. Donald Trump is a dangerous isolationist who would oversee a destruction of our alliances and the continuing growth of our enemies’ strength.
Nearly 8 years after the start of the Great Recession, our economy remains fragile, with minimal growth, lackluster labor force participation, and stagnant wages. Meanwhile, the regulations and taxes continue to pile up, the deficit and debt continue to rise steeply and America’s health care market has been destroyed with premiums skyrocketing. President Obama does not believe in free market capitalism and free enterprise and his interventions into the economy have proven to be harmful to the economic recovery. America needs a President committed to laissez-faire economics, committed to putting money back into Americans’ pockets by cutting taxes, committed to getting our budget balanced and committed to reforming entitlements that are bankrupting our country.
The first and foremost measure that needs to be taken to create a growing economy is to lower taxes for every American, which will put money back into their pockets and allow businesses to hire more new employees. Marginal tax rates in the upper brackets are downright confiscatory, while CEOs can still manage to pay less than their secretaries due to the exemptions and loopholes in our over-complicated tax code. Every major Republican nominee has released a comprehensive tax plan describing how he would reform the tax code and bring taxes down, including Donald Trump. Trump’s plan is adequate, but leaves a lot to be desired. Trump would condense the 7 current tax brackets into 3 rates of 10%, 20% and 25%. He would also reduce the corporate income rate to 15% and eliminate many deductions. The main flaw with the plan is that almost 50% of Americans would pay no federal income tax whatsoever. This is hugely problematic, because it continues the divide between the “makers” who pay all of the taxes and the “takers” who receive the subsidies. Every American must pay something, or else they have no skin in the game if tax hikes are proposed. They could vote for other people’s taxes to go up. Also troublingly, Trump’s pledge to lower taxes for every American may be a lie, because he has previously supported, and still supports raising taxes on the “rich.” In 1991, Trump testified in front of Congress to criticize the Reagan tax cuts of 1981 and 1986. He argued that taxes should be raised on the so-called rich. In April, Trump also said that he would favor raising taxes on the rich. This directly contradicts his published tax plan and exposes his real leftist belief in the confiscation of wealth from the American people.
Government Spending and Regulation:
In addition to tax reform, a return to free markets and the restraining of government intervention in the economy is critical to get the economy rolling again. The federal government is too heavily involved in the economy; the products government regulates range from toilet paper to toasters, from light bulbs to tires. Even more disastrous are the so-called environmental regulations, which I will touch on later. We need a President who will not only promise to cut spending and rescind regulations, but also provide concrete examples of things they will cut. Donald Trump has proposed no real solution for cutting discretionary spending; merely repeating “waste, fraud and abuse” when asked what he would cut. He has previously promised to cut funding from the Department of Education, but he later implied that he wouldn’t abolish the department, nor has he threatened to cut or abolish any other government agency. Trump has not put forth any plan to get government off the backs of Americans and reduce its involvement in the economy.
Trump also praised Barack Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package in 2009. When asked about it by Greta Van Susteren, Trump replied, “Well, I think taxes are very good. I think it goes quickly. It is easily done, and etc., etc.,” Trump told Van Susteren, “but building infrastructure, building great projects, putting people to work in that sense is also very good, so I think you have a combination of both plus he is doing a rebate system and I think that is good also.”
Trump’s lack of will to make cuts to discretionary spending coupled with his refusal to reform entitlements in any way, which I will address later in this chapter, makes it highly unlikely that Trump would succeed in balancing the budget and beginning to solve our debt problem. As it sits right now, America is $19 trillion in debt, with unfunded liabilities of $222 trillion. This amount of debt is unsustainable and will saddle the rising generations with more debt than they can possibly repay. It is imperative that we get to a balanced budget and enact a Constitutional Amendment requiring that our budget remains balanced except in times of war. Donald Trump has not released a plan to reach a balanced budget and has not advocated a balanced budget amendment. It is worrying that the crippling debt does not appear to trouble Mr. Trump.
The only way to reach a balanced budget in the long term and preserve America’s economic vitality is to reform Social Security and Medicare because they are bankrupting our country. On the current track, Social Security will be insolvent by 2033, while Medicare will be insolvent by 2030. Meanwhile, by 2026, mandatory spending, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and payments on the debt will exceed all total tax revenues, leaving all discretionary and defense spending to be financed by borrowing. Barring reforms, anyone under the age of 45 cannot count on receiving any payments from these crippling entitlements. Young people will continue to finance the retirements of baby boomers, while the whole system continues to go bankrupt. The ultimate goal of the conservative movement should be to work toward the complete privatization or abolition of Social Security and Medicare. Right now, we need to begin to get these programs under control and out of fiscal insolvency so that they don’t take the country down with them. Donald Trump has repeatedly said he will resist any attempt to reform the system. He talks like the left in referring to such reforms as “cuts” despite the fact that no current retirees will be affected. This is a huge problem and a massive obstacle for many young people, who don’t want to continue financing a corrupt, bankrupt system.
History has shown that free and unrestricted trade across international borders is critical to a strong economy. President Reagan led the fight for free trade and in his legacy remains NAFTA and the WTO. Trade restrictions, tariffs or quotas have proven to be the worst economic policy in human history, as evidenced by the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff which cut off international trade, furthering the Great Depression. Free trade is one of the main building blocks to a capitalist economy. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has consistently trashed free trade and advocated for trade restrictions and tariffs for his entire life. Trump routinely rails against trade with China, Mexico, Japan and South Korea, even going as far as to advocate a 45% tariff on Chinese exports. He has promised to penalize American companies that build factories abroad, specifically threatening Ford Motor Company and Carrier Air Conditioning Company, He specifically pledged to impose a 35% tariff on every product made at Ford’s Mexico plant that is exported to America. To give perspective, Trump’s proposed tariffs would be substantially higher than the average tariff for highly developed countries around the world, which is just 2.67%. Trump also condemned NAFTA, which allows goods such as cars, fruits and vegetables, and clothes to be sold cheaply in the U.S. Does this sound like someone who believes in free market economics? In fact, Trump’s proposal is more extreme than any trade policy socialist Bernie Sanders has advocated. Trump says all of this will “bring jobs back to America.” In reality, this type of tariffs will result in higher prices for consumer goods, economic contraction and the loss of jobs in other industries. Trump is a mercantilist who believes that trade is a zero-sum game where paying for imports is akin to losing. This is completely out of step with Reagan’s legacy of free trade and conservative principles at large.
President Obama took advantage of an opportunity with Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress to ram through what has become known as Obamacare. The law has destroyed the health insurance plans of millions of Americans, caused premiums to skyrocket, and continues to hamper the economy because many employers cut their workers’ wages and aren’t expanding because of the growing costs of Obamacare. In 2012, Republicans nominated a man who couldn’t expose Obamacare for what it is because he passed his own version of socialized health care as Governor of Massachusetts. Now, the GOP threatens to make the same mistake again by nominating a man who cannot make the case against Obamacare. Donald Trump, in 1999, said, “I believe in universal health care.” In his book, The America We Deserve, Trump again called for single-payer health care and championed the Canadian health care system. Nowadays, Trump says he opposed Obamacare, and promises to repeal it and replace it with something “something terrific.” He has also promised that he “won’t let people die in the streets,” a vague statement that implies that he still favors universal health care. Trump also praised Obamacare’s individual mandate, which requires every American to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. Trump said, “I like the mandate. So here’s where I’m a little bit different [from other Republican candidates].” Trump has made a few other vague, incoherent statements on the subject, and has not put together a tangible free market health care plan. Trump would likely repeal Obamacare and replace it with a something even worse.
With the rise of fracking and other technologies, America now has the ability to draw upon massive energy resources to lower energy prices and become independent of Middle East oil barons. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has limited the extent to which we can exploit our energy resources, instead promoting disastrous “clean” boondoggles such as ethanol, wind and solar power. Donald Trump has proven not to be the man who will end this. Showing how weak and unprincipled he is, Donald Trump, while in Iowa, vowed to increase, not decrease or eliminate, the federally mandated amount of ethanol that must be blended into U.S. gasoline. This despite ethanol’s proven record of corroding engines, raising the price of corn and gasoline, and taking away from the world’s food supply. Ethanol has been such a failure that liberal Democrats no longer advocate its use. But Trump does. Not only did he pander to Iowans about ethanol, he also advocated keeping a tax credit for wind energy production. Wind energy is another liberal pet project that has been responsible for the deaths of many birds and has not produced sufficient energy to be profitable. This is another example of Trump siding with Washington special interests over the American people’s desire of reliable, cheap energy.
Like his dangerous isolationist foreign policy, Donald Trump’s economic policies leave a lot to be desired. He has put forth no substantive steps towards balancing the budget, will not fix the insolvency of entitlements, has proposed disastrous trade policies, and holds left wing positions on health care and energy. If elected, Trump would oversee the continuation of a stagnant economy, more growth of government, and an escalating national debt. Conservatives focused on economic issues cannot trust Trump to lead the fight for conservative economic reforms.
Since Ted Kennedy’s 1965 immigration act, America has absorbed a sucker punch of unrelentless immigration both legal and illegal. The period from 1965 to today has been by far America’s largest period of immigration; moreover, these new immigrants have not assimilated into American culture. Americans are rightly angry that politicians of both parties have let the problem fester and worsen for many years. Donald Trump has built his campaign on a strong immigration problem, advocating the construction of a wall, deporting illegal immigrants and temporarily ban on Muslims entering the United States. However, despite his tough rhetoric on immigration, there is significant evidence that suggests that Trump’s campaign positions might not reflect his real views on the issue.
America’s southern border is utterly porous and has allowed millions of illegal immigrants from Latin America to enter the country, take Americans’ jobs, accept our entitlements and commit crimes in our country. The lack of security is also a threat that could allow infectious diseases or radical Islamic terrorists, among other things, to freely enter the country. The first step to solving this problem is to completely seal the border with a wall, a much larger and more powerful border security agency, and the use of new technologies such as drones and GPS to aid our agents. Donald Trump has made building the wall his main campaign plank and has claimed that he will force Mexico to finance its construction. Leaving aside the issue of how Trump will force Mexico to pay for it, Trump’s bombast about the wall is completely new. Throughout his long history on the political scene, Trump has never advocated securing the southern border until this campaign. While Tea Party conservatives have been leading the fight to secure the border for years, and fought to stop the Rubio-Schumer amnesty bill in 2013, Trump has contributed nothing to the cause. In fact, Trump funded 5 of the 8 members of the aforementioned amnesty legislation. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have all receiving campaign contributions from Mr. Trump. Trump says he puts money into politicians so that they do what he wants; could that be the case with regards to this issue? Moreover, just 4 years ago, Trump blamed Mitt Romney’s positions on immigration as the reason he lost the 2012 presidential election. “He had a crazy policy of self-deportation, which was maniacal,” said Trump in reference to Romney shortly after the election. He went on to say, “The Democrats didn’t have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants. But what they did have going for them is they weren’t mean-spirited about it.” Not only does this raise suspicions about Trump’s true position on illegal immigration, but those suspicions are also confirmed by the existence of a secretly recorded, off-the-record tape of an interview with the New York Times Editorial Board. Gail Collins, a Times reporter who attended the meeting, speculated, “The most optimistic analysis of Trump as a presidential candidate is that he just doesn’t believe in positions, except the ones you adopt for strategic purposes when you’re making a deal. So you obviously can’t explain how you’re going to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, because it’s going to be the first bid in some future monster negotiation session.” Trump has bragged about his “flexibility” when it comes to immigration policy and when coupled with Trump’s refusal to release the tape of the meeting, it is likely that Trump is hiding his true beliefs about immigration from the American people.
Although Donald Trump has claimed that he wants to deport illegal immigrants from the U.S. despite previously criticizing the idea as “mean-spirited” and funding 5 of the 8 sponsors of the 2013 amnesty bill. However, at various points in the campaign, Trump has walked back from that position. In July of 2015, Trump said this: “Now, a lot of these people are helping us, whether it’s the grapes, or whether it’s jobs, and sometimes it’s jobs, in all fairness, I love our country, but sometimes it’s jobs that a citizen of the United States doesn’t want to do. I mean, there are jobs that a lot of people don’t want to do. I want to move them out, and we’re going to move them back in, and let them be legal, but they have to be in here legally…” This position is known as “touchback amnesty” and was previously proposed by Sen. Mary Kay Hutchinson (R-TX), who Ted Cruz replaced in the Senate. This is a senseless policy that combines the costs of deportation without the benefits of lower crime and higher wages for Americans, and puts Trump in lockstep with the GOP establishment. Mark Levin, in Plunder and Deceit, has debunked the “jobs Americans just won’t do” argument. Industries typically considered to be comprised mostly of immigrant workers, such as maids, construction workers and landscapers are actually comprised of a majority of American citizens. Trump’s belief in touchback amnesty jives with another quote from 2012: “For people that have been here for years that have been hard-workers, have good jobs, they’re supporting their family; it’s very, very tough to just say, ‘By the way, 22 years, you have to leave. Get out.’ I’m one of the world’s very conservative people, but I have to tell you on a human basis, how do you throw somebody out that’s lived in this country for 20 years?” Donald Trump is nowhere near as committed to securing the border and stopping amnesty as popular perception suggests.
The H-1B visa program is a fraudulent program that has been abused and resulted in the loss of American jobs and, in the case of Disney, outgoing American workers being forced to train their cheap foreign replacements. Under the law, a foreign worker can only be brought in if there are no Americans with the necessary skill set to take the job. However, businessmen who use the program to lower labor costs have abused this. Among these businessmen is one Donald Trump. When hiring staff for his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump hired just 17 of the 300 American citizens who applied. In the meantime, he used the H-1B system to hire foreign workers instead. He has also employed illegal immigrants for his projects throughout his career and has shown no remorse for it. While, Trump is a hypocrite to claim that he supports eliminating the H-1B program, he has actually flip-flopped on the issue more recently. When asked at the March 3 GOP Debate whether he had changed his position on the issue, Trump said, “I’m changing. I’m changing. We need highly skilled people in this country. And if we can’t do it, we’ll get them in.” The ease with which Trump reneges on his previous positions is shocking.
Another way in which Donald Trump has deceived the voters is with respect to Syrian “refugees” and Muslim immigration. Despite ISIS admitting that they have infiltrated terrorists into the mix of refugees, liberals still shame Americans nervous about potentially bringing in dangerous people. When asked about the issue in September 2015, Trump said, “I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis, you have to.” After receiving negative backlash, Trump changed his position the very next day, saying, “Look, from a humanitarian standpoint, I’d love to help. But we have our own problems. We have so many problems that we have to solve.” After the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks, Trump doubled down, advocating a temporary ban on Muslim immigration into the United States. This is a blanket policy that disregards our Muslim allies such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Kurds, and Muslims in Israel. A better solution to prevent terrorism and secure our freedom is a bill introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and supported by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), which would temporarily ban immigration from 32 countries where radical Islamic terrorists have a significant presence.
The evidence shows that Donald Trump’s rhetoric doesn’t match his record on immigration. He is yet another campaign conservative (with respect to this issue) who will not do as he promises. Trump has supported open-border immigration policies as recently as 3 years ago and has given no indication, other than his campaign rhetoric, that he has changed his view.
Full Donation History:
Additionally worrying about Donald Trump is his long documented history of donating money to Democrats and establishment Republicans. For the last 35 years, as conservatives led the fight to stop the left wing agenda and save the country, Trump was subsidizing the people conservatives were fighting against. Donations to conservatives and support for Tea Party candidates were nonexistent. Below is a comprehensive list of liberal or RINO politicians Donald Trump funded or supported.
- Between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Trump is a great friend of the Clintons; they attended Trump’s 2005 wedding. Trump also praised Hillary in 2008, saying, “I know Hillary and I think she’d make a great president or vice-president. Hillary was roughed up by the media, and it was a tough campaign for her, but she’s a great trooper. Her history is far from being over.” Trump donated $4,700 to Hillary’s Senate and Presidential campaigns. In 2015, Trump labeled Bill Clinton as his favorite modern President.
- $64,000 to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2009 and 2011, who famously said, “conservatives have no place in the state of New York.”
- $50,000 to Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff to Barack Obama, and current Mayor of Chicago.
- $50,000 to Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a PAC working to help Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defeat Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin in 2014.
- $25,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006. This committee was the primary fundraiser for the Democrats’ takeover of Congress in 2006, which indirectly led to the passage of Obamacare.
- $25,000 to Democrat and former Clinton staffer Terry McAuliffe’s successful campaign over Republican Ken Cuccinelli for Governor of Virginia in 2013.
- $24,750 to Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY). Trump also promised to make Rangel his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during his 2000 run for President.
- $23,000 to former Sen. Joe Liebermann (D-CT).
- $21,000 to former Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal.
- $13,600 to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has helped lead the fight for amnesty in the Senate.
- $12,000 to the late Sen. Frank Lautenburg (D-NJ), including $10,000 for his successful 2006 re-election campaign.
- $10,400 to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), including $4,800 for Reid’s successful 2010 re-election victory over Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle.
- $10,000 to the Democratic Party of New York during the 2010 midterm election cycle.
- $9,500 to Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), who resigned in 2006 amid allegations that he sent sexually explicit messages to teenage boys serving as Congressional Pages.
- $8,900 to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), including $4,000 for Schumer’s successful 2010 re-election.
- $8,300 to the late Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican who switched to the Democrat Party in 2009.
- $7,950 to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
- $7,750 to Democratic mayoral candidate David Dinkins, who ran against Rudy Guiliani in the 1990s.
- $7,000 to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA).
- $6,900 to Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), the primary author of Obamacare.
- $5,500 to Secretary of State John Kerry, including $2,000 during his 2004 campaign for President.
- $4,800 to liberal Republican turned Democrat Charlie Crist, who was running against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a Tea Party favorite at the time.
- $4,500 to Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).
- $4,300 to Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), the husband of Hillary aide Huma Abedin. Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 amid a sexting scandal.
- $4,000 to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD).
- $4,000 to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
- $3,000 to longtime Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), a main sponsor of the Dodd-Frank regulatory legislation.
- $2,600 to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). This donation came right after Graham led the fight and voted for the Gang of 8 Amnesty legislation.
- $2,000 to longtime Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).
- $1,000 to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in 2008.
- $1,000 to President Jimmy Carter for his re-election campaign in 1980 against Ronald Reagan.
- $1,000 to Vice President Joe Biden.
- $1,000 to Greensboro native Erskine Bowles, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2002 and 2004.
- $1,000 to Nevada Democrat Shelly Berkley’s unsuccessful Senate campaign in 2012.
- Trump contributed an unspecified sum of money to Walter Mondale’s campaign for President in 1984.
- Trump has bragged about his close relationship with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). In 2007, he sent Pelosi a letter congratulating her on becoming Speaker of the House and calling her “the best.”
- Trump supported Barack Obama’s campaign for President in 2008.
- Trump also endorsed New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2013, saying, “I think he’s a smart guy that knows what’s going on really big league and I think he is not going to want to destroy New York. I think he is going to want to make New York great.”
There is no excuse for the donations, praise, and endorsements Donald Trump has lavished upon liberal Democrats and establishment Republicans for decades. Trump’s excuse when asked to explain this is that since he is a businessman, he must get along with everybody, and that he did it to receive “favors.” Leaving aside the fact that he donated much more to Democrats than Republicans, what “favors” did he receive from these politicians? What Trump has described is illegal under federal law; bribery is a felony. Trump is either lying or he is a criminal. Trump uses this history to argue that he “knows the system,” so he will be able to reform it. That is like trusting an arsonist to be firefighter or a murderer to be a policeman. Meanwhile, Trump’s claim that he “donates to everybody” is also false. The majority of his donations went to Democrats and the donations that did go to Republicans went to RINO’s like Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter. Donald Trump has spent decades donating to the enemies of conservatism and for this reason; he cannot be trusted to govern as a conservative.
In addition to his lack of understanding of the Constitution, his isolationist foreign policy, his left wing economic policies, and his deception on immigration and his long history of donating to Democrats, Donald Trump is a man of low moral character. He is arrogant, cowardly, and rude. Because concrete examples of this are hard to come by, I will analyze comments he has made about other people that reveal who Trump is as a person.
The great Ronald Reagan believed in a rule known as the 11th Commandment, which said that a Republican should never personally attack another Republican. While Ted Cruz has abided by this, Trump has not. Here are some personal attacks unleashed on fellow candidates and their families.
- Rick Perry- “I think Rick Perry is probably smarter than Lindsey Graham. But what do I know?” he said, after mocking Perry’s new glasses—”He’s got the glasses, oh oh oh.”
- Carly Fiorina- “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”
- Ben Carson- “He wrote a book. And in the book he said terrible things about himself. He said that he’s pathological and that he’s got basically a pathological disease. Now he wrote this I guess before he was running for office or thought that he was running for office. And I don’t want a person that’s got pathological disease. I don’t want it. I’m not saying he’s got it, he said it. This isn’t something that I’m saying, like “Oh, he’s pathological liar.” I’m not saying it! He said he’s got pathological disease. He actually said pathological temper. And then he defined it as disease. So he said he has pathological disease. Now. If you’re pathological, there’s no cure for that, folks. Okay, there’s no cure for that. And I did one of the shows today. And I don’t want to say what I said. But I’ll tell you anyway. I said that if you’re a child molester, a sick puppy, you’re a child molester, there’s no cure for that. There’s only one cure—we don’t want to talk about that cure. That’s the ultimate cure. Well, there’s two, there’s death, and the other thing.”
- Ted Cruz- After a PAC unaffiliated with Cruz’s campaign released an ad critical of Trump’s wife, Trump responded, “Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!” Trump later retweeted an image mocking Heidi Cruz’s looks. Later, the National Enquirer, who has endorsed Trump and whose President is friends with Trump, released an unsourced attack on Ted Cruz in an attempt to destroy his political career and his marriage.
Trump has also made a habit of personally attacking others who oppose him or are critical of him. Here are examples of other people that Trump has attacked personally.
- John McCain- “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
- Megyn Kelly- “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” Trump later referred to Kelly as a “bimbo.”
In addition to showing that he does not have the temperament and judgment to be President, Trump is also a coward. Trump skipped his speech at CPAC because he did not want to have a sit-down interview with CNN’s Dana Bash after his speech in front of a crowd of just 15% Trump supporters. Trump also continues to debate Ted Cruz one on one, preferring to tweet from his bedroom. He is currently not out campaigning in the battleground state of Wisconsin or doing any public events.
In addition to his lack of moral character, Trump seemingly has no moral values or sense of objective truth. Trump came out in favor of allowing men to use women’s restrooms, an insane policy reminiscent of the far left. Additionally, Trump has a long history of being pro-choice and supports the gruesome practice known as partial-birth abortion, which is murder. Even now, Trump, through a surrogate, claims that Roe v. Wade is settled law and wants to further liberalize the GOP platform on abortion. Trump proved his lack of knowledge about the pro-life movement by claiming that were abortion illegal, women should be punished. No pro-lifers have this view and it shows that Trump is out of touch with conservatives and lacks conservative views on values issues.
Unlike most of the American people, Donald Trump has no real moral compass. There is no standard at which he will not attack; he will criticize a candidate for wearing glasses, attack one’s looks, accuse a candidate of being a child molester, and attack a candidate’s wife’s looks and leak a smear job article attempting to destroy the candidate’s marriage and career. Most Americans have strong moral principles, such as respect, admiration and common decency that Trump does not have. Anyone, conservative or not conservative, who votes based on their personal values, cannot support Donald Trump.
When one looks at Trump’s knowledge of the Constitution, his isolationist foreign policy, his mercantilist economic policy, his real background on immigration, his long history of supporting liberal Democrats and his lack of moral character, it becomes abundantly clear that Donald Trump is not suitable for the office of the Presidency, nor does he in any way reflect conservatism or conservative values. Just look at his routine struggle to define conservatism. In one embarrassing example, Trump says, “Conservatism means … to conserve … your wealth.” No, Donald, conservatism is restoring Constitutional limited government, believing in free enterprise and supporting a strong national defense.
No, Donald Trump is not a conservative. He is a Populist-progressive. There have been many politicians similar to him throughout history: Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan, Herbert Hoover, George Wallace, Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan among others. These are all men who claim to be on the side of the people and claim to be outsiders, who support the growth of government, economic and military isolationism and did not show any level of adherence to Constitutional principles. His base of support, which consists of the uneducated, poor whites, people in rural areas, industrial workers and low information voters, is the same as was seen for his historical analogues. This group of voters never has and never will constitute a majority of the American electorate. Trump is running a third party campaign, but he has done it within the Republican Party and has benefitted from a divided, 17 candidate field that has taken too long to consolidate, allowing him to rack up wins with a plurality, not a majority, of the vote. Trump’s core base of support consists of about 30-35% of the Republican Party, with the rest strongly opposed.
Moreover, Trump’s divisiveness and personal attacks have ensured that everyone that doesn’t like him hates him. As such, nominating Trump will lead to an easy win for Hillary Clinton in November. Trump is viewed negatively by as much as 67% of the general electorate, the highest disapproval rating by a public figure ever recorded by Gallup, including 70% of women and 75% of people under 35. Even more troubling is the amount of Republicans that say they would not vote for Trump. 40% of Republicans say they cannot envision supporting Donald Trump in a general election, including 47% of women. Hypothetical general election polls have Trump losing by an average of 11 points to Hillary Clinton, which would be a massive Republican defeat the likes of which has not been seen since 1964. Hillary is also broadly viewed negatively and also has problems among young people, but Trump is still worse off than her. Donald Trump may be the only person Hillary could actually beat in a general election. Trump supporters say that people vowing not to vote for him will give us Hillary are wrong. Supporting and nominating Trump will give us Hillary.
Considering Trump’s constitutional illiteracy, his foreign policy isolationism, his big government economic views, his weakness on immigration, his long history of donating to and endorsing liberals and his lack of character, judgment and decency, Donald Trump is not the conservative choice for President of the United States. The final straw for many Americans is Trump’s latest smear attack on Ted Cruz, who has led the fight for conservatism for years, while Trump was subsidizing our opponents. In the wake of Trump’s offensive attack on Cruz’s career, principles and marriage, and bearing in mind that Trump holds views no better than Hillary Clinton’s (who is among the liberals he donated to and supported), that his moral values are nonexistent and his policies contrary to my conservative views and values, I wrote this piece to explain why I will never, under any circumstances, vote for Donald Trump.
 Mark Levin Plunder and Deceit p.170
 Plunder and Deceit. Mark Levin. p.97