Trump’s ready to deal, and a lot of uncompromising conservatives agree

August 25, 2015
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Hampton

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Hampton, New Hampshire August 14, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

“Read the Constitution,” former President Bill Clinton once told a Tea Party activist. “It might as well be called, ‘Let’s make a deal.’ ”

The Constitution sets up an elaborate system of checks and balances and separation of powers. It virtually mandates that policymaking be done by deals, negotiation and compromise.

Enter Donald Trump. “When you’re dealing — and that’s what I am, I’m a dealer — you don’t go in with plans,” he told the Washington Post. “You go in with a certain flexibility. And you sort of wheel and deal.”

That kind of talk ought to horrify conservatives.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Trump speaks to the overflow crowd at a campaign rally at a high school in Hampton

Donald Trump speaks to the overflow crowd at a campaign rally at a high school in Hampton, New Hampshire, August 14, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Conservatives despise deal-making and compromise. They think it means selling out. Trump has said that to get good leadership, “You need compromise, you need back and forth.  . . . You need flexibility.”

What’s Trump going to do about illegal immigrants? Deport them.  All of them?  “Some are going to have to go.  And some, we’re just going to see what happens.’’ Islamic State? “I will find the guy that’s going to take [our] military and make it really work.” The nuclear deal with Iran? “If I were president . . . a deal would be made that’s a hundred times better.” Obamacare? “We’re going to have to work out some kind of a very, very smart deal with hospitals around the country.”

Trump fails a range of conservative litmus tests on issues like free trade, entitlements and abortion (he supports abortion in cases of rape and incest). He says he’s not opposed in principle to single-payer health care (“It works in Canada”).  Nonetheless, Trump is still the front-runner in the Republican polls.

The reason is that Trump shares a lot of conservative goals like ending illegal immigration, repealing Obamacare, rejecting the nuclear arms deal with Iran and getting tough with China. Trump sometimes thinks the way Tea Party activists do: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.”

Trump is offering himself, not as a man of principle, but as a problem-solver — a leader who can get things done. That’s what a lot of voters like about Trump. They believe politics is the enemy of problem-solving. Trump is not a politician. He’s a businessman, and everybody knows there’s no politics in business. “I think the voters like me, they understand me, they know I’m going to do the job,” Trump says.

Trump is a pragmatist, like most Americans. Pragmatists believe that whatever works is right. They don’t care how a problem gets solved as long as it gets solved.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump departs after being called for jury duty at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York

Donald Trump (C) departs after being called for jury duty at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York August 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Ideologues believe that if something is wrong, it can’t possibly work, even if it does. Conservatives still insist that President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal was a failure — because it made the federal government bigger. They refuse to believe Obamacare can ever work — even if the evidence shows the number of uninsured Americans going down. It’s not worthwhile to try to control global warming because it would entail bigger government. To conservatives, the means are just as important as the ends, maybe more so.

And to Trump? He claims the voters don’t really care how you get the job done as long as you get it done. That’s why he drives the press crazy. Reporters keep trying to pin him down on his policies, and he refuses to cooperate.

Trump scoffs at the notion that he needs to come out with detailed policy proposals.  “What happens when you put out a policy, like a 14-point plan?” Trump asked. “A lot of times in the first hour of negotiation, that 14-point plan goes astray.  . . . When I do a deal, I don’t say, ‘Oh, here’s 14 points.’  I go out and do it.”

It’s the same approach another wealthy businessman, Ross Perot, offered when he ran for president in 1992. “There are great plans lying all over Washington,” Perot said that year. “They’re like a blueprint for a house nobody will ever build.”

Trump has something else in common with Perot: distrust of foreigners. Perot famously warned of “a giant sucking sound” of U.S. jobs going to Mexico if Congress approved the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump warns of the consequences of China’s currency devaluation: “Devalue means, suck the blood out of the United States.”

Trump claims his immense wealth makes him an honest negotiator. Unlike former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is becoming his perfect patsy. Trump calls Bush, who has raised more than $114 million, “a puppet to his donors.” Trump has raised almost nothing. Who would give money to Donald Trump? He says he doesn’t owe anybody anything, while Bush is owned by special interests.

It’s amazing when you think about it. Trump, who claims to be worth $10 billion, says he puts “the needs of working people first — not wealthy globe-trotting donors.”  Meanwhile, he flies around the country in his private Boeing 757 jet.

A lot of Republicans are buying it. If they agree with what Trump wants to do, they’re not asking too many questions about how he intends to do it.

He wouldn’t bother to answer them, anyway.

12 comments

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Time for a straight shooter that knows the workings inside-out very well with the needed prowess to keep the workings of the establishment at bay.

Public at-large of all parties, are resonating well with Mr. Trumps courageous stand and message. Inspirational for the next generation with good dose of honesty .

Posted by Mottjr | Report as abusive

Trump is the American Mussolini. He is the “strong man” fearful people desire. His solutions are simplistic like his supporters. Those are people who are frightened by complexity and too disinterested, distracted, and incurious to actually become aware of the existing facts and too rigid in their world view to actually attempt a solution. They want simple solutions to complex problems that don’t require any sacrifice or inconvenience on their part. Unfortunately people deserve their government.

Posted by elcantwell | Report as abusive

Zero details on anything he talks about. He’s a blowhard, plain and simple.

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive

This is beautiful. Frontrunner. 16 GOP candidates and the top one (by double digits) is the guy who mexicans the most. Tells you something about that party.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

hates mexicans.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

“John McCain was not a war hero. He was captured. Personally, I like people who were NOT captured.” -Donald Trump, 2015.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

Those who believe that Trump is the answer to our messy and sometimes dysfunctional government needs to have their head examined ASAP. This is the guy whose companies filed for bankruptcy four times in the last 15 years. So much for the exaggerated claims of his “business skills”.

Just imagine him throwing personal insults at foreign leaders should be become President. Might as well just elect a petulant teenager who has a problem controlling his loud mouth.

Posted by blah77 | Report as abusive

Hey @elcantwell, I’m not a Trump thumper but I don’t think I deserve the Obama government, since I didn’t vote for him. People can bash Trump because he doesn’t offer specifics but if you look at most politicians all they do is make promises to get votes knowing they cannot deliver. Hilary talking about forgiving student debt is nothing more than a ploy to get their votes. Personally I am intrigued by a guy who says “I’m not buying anyone’s vote. Here’s what I think and if you agree, then vote for me. If not, then get out of my face.” As for his ability to be President, we’ve certainly elected a number of people who were not qualified and we managed to muddle through. Does then name Grant ring a bell?

Posted by Tarheel72 | Report as abusive

“Does the name Grant ring a bell?”

Yes, the winning general of the biggest War in American History? He was as qualified as Ike or Roosevelt, and did a good job of keeping the dirty south in its post-war place. Consider Grant a comprise. We wanted President Sherman.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

Trump may do for the US what Bloomberg did for NYC. That would be a good thing. Perhaps an era of billionaire government chief executives has come.

Posted by neelsn | Report as abusive

“Trump may do for the US what Bloomberg did for NYC. That would be a good thing.”

Yes. Outlaw large cups of soda, outlaw calories, outlaw fun. Good plan. Vote for Trump.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

Republican ideology is a bad joke that did not even exist as a meaningful force until around 1970. William F Buckley Jr. flirted with John Birchers and other relatively small sects of the right wing, and managed to synthesize a sort of compromise nastiness he called “conservatism.” Today the term has no specific meaning except a kind of cranky no-ism and hatred of “liberals” — another indefinable group. For Republicans to attack Trump for not being a conservative is sad and pathetic. Though not a Republican, I am glad Trump is shaking up the R party. If they ever put out a decent slate of candidate, I might just consider voting for one. But that has not happened in decades. Such a pity.

Posted by Ralphooo | Report as abusive