Trejos: Donald Trump is no conservative


Jose Trejos, Columns

Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, conservatives like me are forced to come to terms with a disgusting choice: throwing away our vote on a third-party candidate or having to come to terms with supporting a liberal, cowardly sellout like Hillary Clinton or a lunatic like Trump. At this point, I personally favor Clinton, but I cannot judge anyone’s choice in this election. However, as Trump continues to drag the name of the Republican Party through the mud, I hope to make one thing clear to Northwestern students: Trump is no conservative.

This election will not only determine the new president but also the composition of the Senate, and Democrats have happily used the rather dirty tactic of equivocating Republican candidates to Trump. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is already releasing ads using this trick against Republican incumbents; Illinois’ own Sen. Mark Kirk has distanced himself from his own party’s nominee as any politician can get away with. Yet, his rival, Tammy Duckworth, has insisted on tying him to Trump throughout his entire campaign. This is despite almost the entire Republican party — from former nominees such as the Bush presidents, John McCain and Mitt Romney, to leaders such as Paul Ryan, to almost the entire 2016 presidential field — repeatedly condemning Trump. I can certainly see the appeal in tying conservatives to Trump. He is a cartoonish embodiment of everything liberals like to accuse the Republican Party of: racism, ignorance, hypocrisy, extremism and demagoguery. Although he does provide some schadenfreude for liberals, he does not stand for the ideals they claim to oppose, and pretending he does is just a cheap way to escape real debate.

Trump is indeed a bigot, but his bigotry is entirely his own. Republican candidates have been accused of racism for years, sometimes with real merit and sometimes as a cheap attack. When Trump announced his idea for a ban on Muslim immigration, however, the response was clear. It was the first time Ryan broke his rule of not intervening in the primary to say that is not what the Party stands for. Jeb Bush called Trump “unhinged,” Marco Rubio called it “wrong and immoral” to ban Muslim immigrants and John Kasich called for more respect toward American Muslims. When Trump failed to disavow the leader of the Ku Klux Klan for endorsing him, Mitch McConnell declared he “condemns (their) views in the most forceful way.” After Trump’s sexist attacks spilled from female reporters to Cruz’s wife, Cruz now refuses to urge supporters to vote for his own party’s nominee.

To be fair, those are simply condemnations of Trump’s bigotry. What about Trump’s actual policy proposals? In this regard, he is even more strikingly opposed to Republican ideals. NU’s liberals are surely opposed to “heartless” Republicans trying to cut entitlements like Social Security for the sake of the national budget. Whatever one might think about such policies, Trump is the only Republican candidate to have said he refuses to consider cutting entitlements. In fact, its quite the opposite: He calls himself a fan of single-payer health care systems, the model Bernie Sanders wants to implement in this country. Trump repeatedly attacks corporations in his rallies and excites his crowds talking about evil corporations buying politicians. Trump is also a proud isolationist, arguing for withdrawing American forces worldwide and almost hoping to start a trade war. The fiscally conservative, pro-business, interventionist ideals Republicans have defended for decades are simply abandoned in Trump’s proposals.

The broader point here is that Trump is not, as many an opportunistic liberal has claimed, the ultimate result of conservatism. Nor is he a liberal. He is simply an example of the glitch of democracy: a populist. Do not use his ignorance to attack Republicans. Do not take Trump as an excuse to stop evaluating the ideas you disagree with and take liberalism as proven truth, as too many college students already do. And please, do not associate the rare example of an actual racist candidacy with people who disagree with you about the nature of government. Want to truly fight Trump? Treat your opponents with respect, and debate every issue with the nuance it really deserves.

Jose Trejos is a Weinberg freshman. He can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.