Is Trump a Democrat?

From The Hill last July:

“I probably identify more as a Democrat” so sayeth Donald J Trump a few years ago during a CNN interview. During the same interview he opinionated (he does a lot of that) that “It just seems that the economy does better under Democrats than the Republicans”. He confirmed his views just a few months ago on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when he said ‘I identify with some things as a Democrat.”

Further back, he proclaimed Republicans “too crazy right.”

These are not just one-time gaffes since he had practiced what he has preached since that interview. Is Trump a crypto-Democrat?

He certainly has put his money where his mouth has been. Democrats have been the primary beneficiaries of his political donations until a few years ago when he started giving to Republicans. (See below.)

He has had high praise for the Clintons and opened his wallet to them.

In 2007, Hillary Clinton was on course to build support for her presidential run and he expressed confidence in her talents: “Hillary’s always surrounded herself with very good people. I think Hillary would do a good job” when predicting she would make a good deal with Iran. She was, Donald said, a “terrific woman.”

As Ariel Cohen writes in the Washington Examiner, “Trump and the Clintons have a cozy past”:

Bill and Hillary attended Trump's wedding to Melania Knauss in 2005. A photo shows the two couples arm in arm, laughing and gesturing. Trump and Hillary Clinton look especially cordial. She reportedly attended the wedding ceremony, whereas Bill only attended the reception.

Trump and Clinton's daughters, Ivanka and Chelsea, are also reportedly friends, despite their parents feuding on the campaign trail. Ivanka, the vice president of her father's Business Empire, and Chelsea, the Clinton Foundation leader, are often seen together in New York City.

But the relationship isn't just personal. Trump has given between $100,0001 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to the nonprofit's records. On four separate occasions, Trump has donated to Hillary Clinton, in 2002, 2005, 2006 and in 2007.

Trump also gave to Clinton's Senate campaign indirectly, due to a $125,000 donation from Trump to the Democratic Campaign Committee of New York.

Can Trump send this cozy past down the memory hole?

His generosity has extended to other Democrats aside from the Clintons. Actually his political donations primarily benefited Democrats until he apparently had an idea: What can you get a billionaire who has it all? How about a move from Trump Tower into the Oval Office?

Did he see the prospect of a presidential run in his future? Did he want to lay the groundwork for such a plan, gather some chits and provide cover for his past support for Democrats? The timing is suspicious. He shifted his giving in 2010 to flow more toward Republicans. He is a real-estate developer and is no doubt comfortable with beginning a project years before its fruition -- investments in such big projects begin early.

Can that camouflage his past views that read as if they came straight off the Democratic Party platforms over the years?

He certainly held views that in a blind study with the brand name “Trump” removed would lead people to assume he was a Democrat.

At various times he has supported nationalized health care, including recently when he wrongly declared that Canada’s single-payer system works and should be emulated in America.

He supports higher taxes -- purportedly just on the wealthy but if history is any guide, tax hikes beget more tax hikes and on more people. He has also supported a 14.25 percent wealth tax beyond the hike in income taxes. That tax alone would have been the largest tax increase in history.  Doesn’t that sound like a Democrat’s dream come true?

Donald Trump as recently as a few years ago was pro-immigration. In his own words:

The Republican Party will continue to lose presidential elections if it comes across as mean-spirited and unwelcoming toward people of color, Donald Trump tells Newsmax. Whether intended or not, comments and policies of Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates during this election were seen by Hispanics and Asians as hostile to them, Trump says. “Republicans didn’t have anything going for them with respect to Latinos and with respect to Asians,” …

Romney’s solution of “self deportation” for illegal aliens made no sense and suggested that Republicans do not care about Hispanics in general, Trump says. “He had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal,” Trump says. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote,” Trump notes. “He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”

These are Democratic-sounding talking points.

He also was gung-ho for a complete ban on assault weapons. This has always been on the Democratic Party agenda.

Religious conservatives might take exception to his past support for drug legalization.

Democrats are among the least religious people in America. Donald Trump seems to have very little conception of Judeo-Christian values and virtues. Evangelical Christians may be catching on to this aspect of Trump’s background and beliefs. Jennifer Rubin writes:

There are lots of reasons for evangelicals to dislike Trump — his multiple divorces, his casinos, his crude language and his attack on religious liberty, to name just a few. (“For instance, some leaders cited his reported comments about his daughter’s figure, including: ‘I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.’”) But it was a small incident that got evangelicals, according to multiple sources, snickering about Trump: His refusal/inability to come up with a favorite Bible verse. (He later came up with one, after “citing a passage about not bending to envy that didn’t seem to exist.”) Saying initially that he would not reveal it because it was “personal” struck many faith leaders as a transparent excuse. (Think about how dishonest one must be to fake religious devotion and the contempt for people of faith it suggests.)

There are reasons Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are gaining favor with evangelicals. Ronald Reagan famously addressed a rally of conservative evangelicals in 1980 and told them that “I know you can’t endorse me …but I want you to know that I endorse you and what you are doing.”  Can anyone imagine Donald Trump giving a similar speech and meaning it?

Conservatives have always upheld the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as bulwarks against government encroachment on liberty and freedom. Among those rights considered sacrosanct are property rights. There are few cases in modern times that have angered conservatives more than the infamous Kelo Decision. In that case, the Supreme Court allowed the city of New London, Connecticut to use eminent domain powers to take land from one private owner and give it to another private owner.

Since Kelo was decided in 2005, it has been a casus belli among conservatives, who universally reject the decision as a violation of a citizen’s rights under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Donald Trump was recently asked his views.  He was fine with how Kelo was decided. He is, after all, a billionaire who had been frustrated in the past with homeowners who wanted to keep their homes instead of selling out to him. Trump, in fact, has a history of abusing eminent domain to build his fortune

Of course, Trump has been a crony capitalist for his entire business career and therefore can tap his political connections to wield eminent domain against the “common folk” he now solicits for support.

Conservatives favor limited government with restrictions on its powers over the people. Democrats are the ones that favor an all-powerful Leviathan government to rule over Americans. Barack Obama has made a mockery of our constitutional system of checks and balances. As I wrote in “Democrats for a Dictatorial Presidency,” Democrats have supported him in his efforts to neuter Congress and ignore the views and opinions of Americans-thinking Hillary Clinton would be successor and liberalism would continue its ascent. Kimberly Strassel noted in a recent column “No Political Guardrails” that Trump seems to share Democrats’ views towards an all-powerful caudillo:

Barack Obama has done plenty of damage to the country, but perhaps the worst is his determined destruction of Washington’s guardrails. Mr. Obama wants what he wants. If ObamaCare is problematic, he unilaterally alters the law. If Congress won’t change the immigration system, he refuses to enforce it. If the nation won’t support laws to fight climate change, he creates one with regulation. If the Senate won’t confirm his nominees, he declares it in recess and installs them anyway. “As to limits, you set your own,” observed Dan in that editorial. This is our president’s motto.

Mr. Obama doesn’t need anyone to justify his actions, because he’s realized no one can stop him. He gets criticized, but at the same time his approach has seeped into the national conscience. It has set new norms. You see this in the ever-more-outrageous proposals from the presidential field, in particular front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Strassel writes of the many instances when both Clinton and Trump openly declare they will ignore limits on their power. This view is a liberal and Democratic one and one that Trump shares with them. How can people who oppose Barack Obama for his abusive use of power support someone who openly declares he will follow in Obama’s footsteps?

One final thought on the question whether Donald is a Democrat. Has there been anyone else running that has done more to help Democrats in this contest? He constantly seeks the spotlight in such a way that he has rescued Democrats time and time again from scandals that would severely damage them.  His style of politics and bombast would likely lead Democrats to win big across the nation -- reversing the enormous progress against them over the last few election cycles.  Should he win the Republican nomination, all polls indicate Hillary Clinton would become America’s next president.

Is Donald Trump a Democrat? He may or may not be, but he is an opportunist who will hand Democrats their greatest opportunity to make permanent the immense damage Barack Obama has wrought.

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