Trump is a Republican
One of the predominant media narratives as well as the narrative of the Clinton campaign is that Trump is not really a Republican or conservative. He is an aberration of the Republican Party and this election isn’t about Democrats and Republicans. This strategy is meant to appeal to disaffected Republicans who don’t like Trump. There’s a problem with this strategy, but it all lies in this premise that Trump is uniquely different from other Republicans. In truth, the Republican Party has been naturally evolving towards a Trump-like figure, whether it be their tactics in elections and in office or outside forces like prominent right wing media. Trump is natural conclusion, not a random outlier.
Trump’s comments are often pointed to as what differentiates him from any other candidate of the past. The difference between Trump and other Republicans is not the substance of what he’s saying, but the tone. Trump’s comments about the “the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know,” in response to doing something about Hillary Clinton appointing judges to the Supreme Court is not new. In the 2010 midterms, Sharron Angle, a Tea Party Republican running against then Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said the following in a radio interview:
“Angle: I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who’s in the military. This not for law enforcement. This is for us. And in fact when you read that Constitution and the founding fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical…
Manders: If we needed it at any time in history, it might be right now.
Angle: Well it’s to defend ourselves. And you know, I’m hoping that we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.”
Sarah Palin’s PAC had a map that “targeted” potential officeholders to beat in the midterms with crosshairs on the map. One of these was Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in Arizona. In line with Angle’s comments and Trump’s “rigged” comments, conservatives have been questioning the validity of elections for the past decade. ACORN was a group that helped registered voter before a smear campaign by conservatives caused them to lose their public funding after the 2008 election. It also is the premise for why they have to pass Voter ID laws, despite voter fraud not being an issue.
Trump saying Obama is the founder of ISIS also isn’t different from other Republicans. It is a common strain of thought amongst neo-conservatives that Obama’s “inaction”, (because what the CIA in Syria is inaction apparently) is what led to ISIS’ expansion. Marco Rubio earlier this election said Obama deliberately was trying to weaken America. This has been a running theme among Republicans and conservative media for the past 8 years. It has been as subtle as “He won’t say radical Islamic terrorism” to as explicit as Trump’s comment. This applies to many of Trump’s outrageous comments.
“Trump isn’t a Conservative!”
This point comes from many conservative pundits and neocons that claim Trump is not a true conservative. What little policy Trump has gotten into has been mostly lock step with the Republican party. His economic speech was entirely lock step with Paul Ryan’s ideas on taxes. Lots of cuts, eliminating the estate tax to give even more money to the rich as well as repealing Obamacare. He is different from the Republican party on free trade, but other than that his economic policies are essentially the same.
Trump’s plan to defeat ISIS contains as much substance as the other Republicans, and while Trump said he would kill the families of terrorist, Ted Cruz said that he planned to carpet bomb the Middle East and make the sand glow, which would also kill innocent people. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush all were behind some form of a ban on Muslims from entering the country or halting refugees. Ted Cruz was in favor of building a wall as well and Republicans have all talked about spending even more money on border security.
Trump’s campaign has little policy, but what he does have is not some rapid departure from Republican goals. Outside of trade, there’s no radical deviation. The wall and the ban were not unique to his candidacy either. With Paul Ryan supporting Trump and consistently saying they agree on more than they disagree on, he isn’t all that different.
No Good Republicans
This ‘Republicans for Hillary’ trend is incredibly dangerous. I don’t mean regular people identifying as Republicans, I mean an array of the Republican donor class made up of Wall Street types and neocons who are suddenly having their reputations being rehabilitated and considered credible.
Opposing Trump should not make these people credible. Whether it’s Neocons pushing for the worst foreign policy decision in history in Iraq or Wall Street responsible for the worst crash since the depression, the Clinton campaign is being incredibly short sighted in embracing these despicable people.
Just as one example, one of these people is John Negroponte. He was the former ambassador to Honduras, who oversaw the Contra death squads the United States funded and aided in their rampage across Nicaragua as they killed countless people among a variety of other crimes and heinous acts.
These Republicans aren’t all that different from Trump. In him, they see someone that they wouldn’t be able to control as easily as a Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush and that is what scares them. They want to cut taxes, freeze and eliminate regulation and bomb the Middle East just as much as Trump does. Most neocons don’t like Trump because they don’t think he’ll bomb them enough, or that he’s not willing to start a war with Russia over Ukraine. They still have no sympathy for any marginalized groups around the world.
Trump is indeed a Republican, and the Republican Party is just as bad and in some cases even worse than Trump. The difference between Trump and some Republicans is that other Republicans speak with a subtext. They dog whistle so that their base understands without offending a media that really just cares about tone. The difference between Trump and Republicans is in the semantics, not the substance.
Hillary Clinton’s strategy has brought in absolutely detestable figures and Clinton’s touting of them along with Trump’s brashness have resulted in a rehabilitation of known Iraq War proponents, Wall Street bankers, and even war criminals. All based off a premise that is only true if you live under the same rock that most media and politicians do. As much as media, Clinton or conservatives will insist Trump is not a Republican, he absolutely is.