Politics & Policy

Donald Trump’s ‘Conversion’ Raises Serious Questions

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

I’ve fought progressivism for a long time. Before 2008, I crashed progressive protests using “Protest Warrior” signs. After 2008, I was on that fateful inaugural call to organize the first modern-day tea parties around the country. I stood on sidewalks with placards, phone-banked, went door to door, and traveled at my own expense to evangelize liberty and fire people up. For disagreeing about matters of public policy, we were called racists and bigots, and conservative women were accused of betraying their sex. Dissent used to be “patriotic” — until the Obama administration used its alphabet agencies to persecute groups such as True the Vote and deny conservative organizations nonprofit status. Lately, dissent on the right is regarded as treasonous.

EDITORIAL: Against Trump

I know Donald Trump. He’s been a frequent guest on my radio and television programs, and I introduced him at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2015. He has always been amiable and complimentary. I genuinely like him.

But not as my presidential pick.

I love conversion stories. I have my own, from when I became a conservative 15 years ago. But I’m not running for president.

I love conversion stories. I have my own, from when I became a conservative 15 years ago. But I’m not running for president. Donald Trump is. And his “conversion” raises serious questions. Trump wrote in his book The America We Deserve that he supported a ban on “assault weapons.” Not until last year did he apparently reverse his position. As recently as a couple of years ago, Trump favored the liberal use of eminent-domain laws. He said that the ability of the government to wrest private property from citizens served “the greater good.” Is that suddenly a conservative principle?

Why is there a double standard when it comes to evaluating Donald Trump? Why are other politicians excoriated when they change their minds — as, for example, Rick Perry did on the question of whether HPV vaccinations in Texas should be compulsory — but when Trump suddenly says he’s pro-life, the claim is accepted uncritically? Why is it unconscionable for Ted Cruz to take and repay a loan from Goldman Sachs to help win a tough Senate race but acceptable for Donald Trump to take money from George Soros? Why is vetting Trump, as we do any other candidate, considered “bashing”? Aren’t these fair questions?

Just a few years ago, I, along with many others, was receiving threats for promoting conservative policies and conservative principles — neither of which Donald Trump seems to care about. Yet he’s leading.

Popularity over principle — is this the new Right?