“Are Trump Supporters True Conservatives?”
Ty J. Young Editorial
Many establishment Republicans have come out in opposition to Trump. Many are publicly stating they will sit this election out, and in some cases, members of the elite are actively announcing they will support Hillary Clinton. In most cases, they are claiming Trump is not a true conservative.
This matters. The election’s outcome will be far reaching regardless of who wins, and the winner’s policies will greatly impact the marketplace and your money. Having a coherent belief system in what was once the conservative party is critical if the two-party system is to serve the country well. If the Republican Party splits, you are looking at possibly a one-party rule for years to come. So the question is – “Are Trump Supporters True Conservatives?” To answer this question, let’s compare the beliefs of the establishment Republicans and Trump supporters on some of the issues that matter:
I. What do Establishment Republicans Believe? Are They Conservative?
1. Immigration is a net positive. Establishment Republicans (so-called conservatives) do not want to build a wall, and prefer to find a solution for the illegals already here – their buzz word would be “comprehensive” immigration reform. While they are against sanctuary cities, and would deport criminals, they believe it is against America’s values to forcibly deport 11 million illegal aliens. Many voters believe they will again cave in to the pressure from Democrats and pass an amnesty bill, and eventually citizenship and voting rights, for illegal immigrants.
2. Entitlement reform necessary for deficit reduction. The establishment believes entitlements must be reformed in order to reduce the deficit. The first steps to reduce the deficit would be means testing social security and moving the Medicare eligibility age. Some still hold out hope to privatize the social security system. This is the current establishment conservative position.
3. Nation-building is important in our foreign policy. Most establishment Republicans (conservatives) supported and promoted the Iraq War as a necessary event to remake the Middle East. A functioning Arab/Muslim democracy in the middle of that part of the world would help us remake the entire region. As everyone knows, it did not work out that way. While the war was won by 2011 and the country was secured, the current Administration gave away the gains of that victory by withdrawing. Still, the establishment remains supportive of intervention and democracy promotion, despite the idea being discredited.
4. Free trade is an absolute. Following the economic theories of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek all the way to modern economic thinkers such as Milton Friedman and Arthur Laffer, establishment conservatives are absolutists on free trade. The overall economic benefit, in the raw data, is unmistakable in that it shows economic growth flows from such policies. Although it rarely takes into account the impact in other aspects of society and culture, and whether other trading partners in the marketplace engage in the same philosophy.
Tax reform has many different ideas conservatives support, but all generally fall into the same position of lowering tax rates. So, now the big question – are Trump supporters the true conservatives?
II. “What do Trump Supporters Believe? Are They the True Conservatives?”
1. Immigration is out of control. Trump’s commitment to mass deportation was always a stretch; Trumpians in their guts understand this. But they do expect him to build a wall, enforce current deportation laws, remove all criminals, end sanctuary cities, and deny citizenship to those who came here illegally. For a Trump supporter, a border and sovereignty is what every nation in the world believes in having. What is more conservative than believing citizenship in America should have value and not be taken illegally? Trump won the primary, because he did not talk about E-Verify, path to legalization, or use the word “comprehensive.” What comes first for a Trump supporter is securing the border. In the age of terror, wage stagnation, and job scarcity, how can anyone think differently?
2. No entitlement reform … not yet. The so-called conservatives in the media are horrified the Republican base is not “really conservative.” The founding Bible of the conservative movement, National Review, has written repeatedly that the base has become a nationalist, populist movement, as opposed to conservative, as it relates to entitlement reform and deficit reduction. Trumpians cheer loudly when Trump says he is not going to touch social security. But is it that the base is not conservative, or are they conservative but smarter than all of the D.C. establishment? For the base, why should they give up social security and Medicare? They paid into it. The base position is not a one-dimensional internet headline of “for” or “against” something. Most would be more than willing to sacrifice to reduce debt – IF the D.C. establishment takes a cut first. 10% reduction is Congressional and Presidential staff, including 10% reductions in pay and term limits and eliminating certain departments. The base is saying, “We’re not sacrificing anything until the people who caused the mess sacrifices first.” That is the more conservative position – demanding accountability from the D.C. establishment FIRST!
3. No more nation-building. Ronald Reagan never talked about nation building. Reagan often spoke against the politicians not allowing the soldiers to win in Vietnam. Two of his greatest quotes on Vietnam were: “The true lesson of the Vietnam War is: certainty of purpose and ruthlessness of execution win wars,” and “It’s silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home by Christmas.” Having witnessed the “establishment” botch the last 16 years of foreign policy, is it not Conservative to want to stop trying to impose democracy abroad and take care of our vets here at home? Most want the military rebuilt, and to have the strongest military in the world, they just do not trust our current leadership in how they use the military.
4. Free trade should be fair trade. Many Trump supporters have been left behind by “free trade.” But is it really free trade, or is Trump right, and our leaders have been taken advantage of in global trade deals? Free trade and globalization are two different things, and often our leaders combine the two issues. We do not have free trade with China. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has benefited Mexico, but not necessarily workers, or the economy, of the U.S. It certainly has not helped our current immigration circumstance. Trump supporters are true conservatives in that they believe free trade must be fair, not a one-way street.
These issues matter. It appears from the evidence that the Republican party, the conservative party in the country, is not coming apart from the bottom, but many of the “establishment” conservatives are not really all that conservative in the first place. It is the “base” that is conservative, but do not want many changes made without the D.C. establishment reforming themselves first! It is an important distinction many in the media have not made.
Why does this matter to your money? The policies of the next President could be the most important in our lifetime. Some in the “establishment” are mischaracterizing what Trump stands for, and why Trump supporters are “conservatives” in the truest sense. When casting your vote this November, remember that Washington will greatly impact your retirement savings and the marketplace.
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