5 Reasons Trump Must Be Stopped


Republicans are already beginning to come to grips with the probability of a Donald Trump nomination. The hashtag #NeverTrump has trended among conservatives for days; many conservatives are seriously considering staying home or even voting Hillary should Trump become the nominee. The logic there seems to be that a Trump takeover of the Republican Party spells the implosion of the conservative movement, and that a Trump victory perverts the GOP beyond the point of decency. The countervailing argument, as articulated by Dennis Prager, is that Trump might – just might – appoint somebody decent to the Supreme Court, preventing the Court from carving the heart out of the Constitution.

We’re not to that point yet.

Trump must be defeated.

Here are five reasons why.

Trumpism Perverts Conservatism Itself. In 2012, I argued that support for Mitt Romney could damage conservatism:

Yes, defeating horrible politicians like Barack Obama is the top goal — but that doesn’t justify redefining conservatism entirely…. When we deliberately broaden conservatism to encompass government-forced purchase of health insurance or raising taxes or appointing liberal judges or enforcing same-sex marriage or using taxpayer money to bail out business or pushing trade barriers, we destroy conservatism from within. If we do that, why would our politicians even bother to pay lip service to the standard?

Everything I wrote about Romney then applies exponentially more to Trump now. Trump, as I’ve detailed, is not conservative on virtually any issue. He will grow government, not shrink it. He believes in the unchecked power of the executive branch. He does not believe in traditional Constitutional rights. And yet he pitches himself as a conservative, as an heir to Reagan, even though Trump’s heaviest base of support comes from primary voters who have “liberal positions on economic issues,” according to the RAND Corporation.

Should Trump win the nomination, he will be seen as the “conservative” standard-bearer. And his followers will seek to broaden conservatism to include leftism in order to accommodate his whimsical political vacillations.

Destroying The Perception of Conservatism. Many of us in the conservative movement have spent our entire careers advocating a thoughtful, logical, strong conservatism that supports small government, individual liberty, Constitutional checks and balances, strong national defense, and social institutions like churches and synagogues promoting responsibility and virtue. We have spent our entire careers fighting the left-spread falsehood that conservatism is truly just a cover for racism, sexism, homophobia, class hatred, and the like.

Along comes Trump.

Trump says he’s fighting political correctness, but he’s not: he’s just gross. Playing footsie with David Duke and the KKK isn’t politically incorrect; it’s tacitly endorsing racism, and it undermines decades of hard work fighting the left’s lies about conservative racism. Hugging it out with Vladimir Putin isn’t politically incorrect; it’s pathetic. Mocking the disabled, labeling judges inadequate because of their ethnicity, laughing at prisoners of war, entertaining 9/11 conspiracy theories, saying terrible things about women – all of it grants the patina of legitimacy to leftist complaints about conservatives, so long as conservatives tolerate it. Nominating Trump will credibly allow the left to tar the right for years. After all, 65 percent of Republicans still have favorable opinions of Trump.

And leftists will take full advantage of Trumpism’s real toxicity to slander conservatism’s false toxicity:

Fracturing The Republican Party Beyond Repair. The Republican Party has been on life support on the presidential level since the era of George W. Bush. Conservatives were enraged by the nomination and defeat of campaign finance reform creator Senator John McCain (R-AZ); that rage carried forward through Obamacare creator Mitt Romney’s nomination and loss. In 2010, Republicans promised to roll back Obamacare; that didn’t happen. In 2014, they promised to roll back executive amnesty; that didn’t happen. And so there was a conservative rebellion.

Meanwhile, disenchanted blue collar Americans, sick of being told by the media and the White House that the stock market boom should make them happy, and tired of the politically correct anti-Americanism of the left, rebelled. The disenchanted make up the Trump base. RAND reports:

Among people likely to vote in the Republican primary, people are 86.5 percent more likely to prefer Donald Trump as the first-choice nominee relative to all the others if they “somewhat” or “strongly agree” that “people like me don’t have any say about what the government does.” Using statistical techniques, we can conclude that this increased preference for Trump is over and beyond any preferences based on respondent gender, age, race/ethnicity, employment status, educational attainment, household income, attitudes towards Muslims, attitudes towards illegal immigrants, or attitudes towards Hispanics.

The GOP held together its coalition for decades on the back of certain shared values: small government at home, hawkish foreign policy abroad, social conservatism in family life. That coalition was already fraying, but Trump blows it apart. His supporters are not foreign policy hawks, nor are they small government. Meanwhile, conservatives, disenchanted with a Republican orthodoxy that prefers Trump to Cruz, are just about ready to quit the Party out of disgust. If Trump is the nominee, the national presidential GOP could be a Humpty Dumpty nobody can quite put back together again.

Ushering In An Era Of European Politics. Trump is a European-style response to the European-style leftism of Barack Obama. He’s a soft European-style populist, from his interventionist economics to his closed-borders foreign policy. As I wrote in December, “Compare Trump’s platform with that of Marine Le Pen, whose French National Front poses a significant threat to the national political establishment. She calls for harsher penalties for criminals, significant restrictions on Muslim immigration to France, protectionism on trade, a restoration of the Franc as the national currency rather than the Euro, and big government in terms of health care. This sounds a lot like Trump.” But the European right is not the American right. The American right believes in Constitutional ideas about checks and balances and federalism and negative rights from government. The European right doesn’t believe any of these things. Should Trump win, we could watch American conservatism lose the only party it has ever had.

Trump Will Lose. Trump’s supporters say that Trump is a last-gasp attempt to beat Hillary Clinton – nobody else can beat her. She’s unstoppable. The polls don’t show that. In fact, polls consistently show Trump losing to Hillary. Perhaps that changes; perhaps Trump’s wild abandon will throw Hillary off her pre-programmed game on the campaign trail. But if Trump loses to Hillary, Republicans will have destroyed their own party only to watch the woman they most detest take the White House and stack the Supreme Court.

Trump represents a threat not to the “establishment” – he actually cozies up to the establishment, which is why Bob Dole and Chris Christie like him – but to conservatism and the party that supposedly represents it. Stopping Trump must be first priority for anyone who cares about conservatism’s value and future.

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