“He’s unelectable.” That was how Donald Trump characterized Ron Paul in remarks which no doubt infuriated many Paul supporters (with the exception of this one.) After all, Donald Trump has never won an election for public office, and his political experience is limited to having merely contemplated running a few times, as well as having participated in recreational golf outings with the likes of Bill Clinton and Rush Limbaugh. Ron Paul on the other hand is an accomplished congressman with many years of experience, who made a surprisingly strong showing in the 2008 republican primaries. However, while Ron Paul is still the most popular choice for the alternate right, the fact is he will be 76 years old in 2012. That’s probably too old for a presidential candidate with all the rigors involved in the office. Indeed he would be 80 if he were to run for re-election. We’ve all seen how the presidency has aged much younger men, barely in their 40′s and early 50′s. Not saying he couldn’t do it or that it would be impossible, but it is unlikely.
All of which brings us to the question, “If not Paul, who?” Some have floated former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson’s name as someone to carry the torch, but Gary Johnson is an open borders, free trade, libertarian. The issues he is weakest on are unfortunately, those that are most crucial to many paleoconservatives. Not to mention, Gary Johnson doesn’t yet have the name recognition with the American public to successfully mount a campaign for president.
Of all the remaining possible candidates, only one comes to mind who doesn’t tow the neoconservative line on foreign and domestic policy, yet is still mainstream enough to bridge the gap and attract some of them(as well as some democrats and independents.)
That man is none other than Donald Trump. Now, I know what you’re thinking…“Trump? Give me a break!” but just for a moment… as the great Pat Buchanan would say, consider:
Donald Trump staunchly defended Arizona’s controversial immigration law last year on Larry King, saying the federal government had failed to do anything and that he personally wouldn’t mind if someone stopped him on the street and asked to see his papers(the law itself doesn’t even go that far.)
Trump also opposes the NAFTA/free trade dogma and would introduce tariffs on foreign goods, as well as renegotiate our appallingly lopsided trade agreements with Korea, China, and Japan. He holds the paleocon views on trade while not being in the tank with the unions. He is not an anti-corporate, big government, tax and spend liberal who will leave businesses awash in paperwork and regulations.
When it comes to our nation’s bankruptcy, Trump has been there before himself and came back. He showed the tenacity and problem solving ability to get out of an incredibly dire financial situation. The US government desperately needs some of those skills, and they need them yesterday.
Of the Iraq war Trump called it “a total disaster.” He later stated “Look, everything in Washington has been a lie. Weapons of mass destruction — it was a total lie. It was a way of attacking Iraq.” Trump opined that George W Bush was the worst president in history(a remark made prior to Obama taking office.)
What about social issues? It’s true that Trump is no Rick Santorum, but if you really believe issues like abortion or gay marriage are the most pressing concerns of our time, and that priorities like curbing neocon-adventurism, reducing the deficit, restricting immigration, and revitalizing our manufacturing capabilities, are all second tier items that can go on the back burner…then someone like Palin or Santorum should really be your candidate. It’s also worth noting that Trump defended Carrie Prejean’s remarks on gay marriage in the 2009 Miss USA pageant. So, though he may be lenient on social issues(just as Goldwater conservatives or libertarians would be) it’s clear he’s not going to bow to the PC crowd or usher in Canadian style thought police. He recently even went as far as to claim he’s pro-life and against gay marriage.
The biggest question regarding Trump for republicans is whether he really believes any of what he says. In other words can we trust him? Is he the shapeshifting ideological play-doh equivalent of Mitt Romney, only with with weirder hair? They cite the fact that his track record of candidate endorsements and political analysis is all over the map. Perhaps though, the fact that Trump looks at candidates and issues individually is evidence of a person who can think objectively, who takes into consideration many factors in decisions and doesn’t have tunnel vision. This is unlike so many who stubbornly cling to an ideology or business plan even in the face of contrary facts. It all points to why he has been a successful businessman and has made so many comebacks. He has always challenged himself and been open to new ideas.
From an electoral standpoint, Trump has the advantage of being from the northeast while not exhibiting the traits of a Neocon or Rockefeller republican. His populist beliefs could make him competitive in many midwestern states. His east coast appeal could potentially win in states conservatives have written off for decades(or at the very least force the democrats to campaign harder there.) He could achieve this without sacrificing the south, since he wisely doesn’t display hostility towards social conservatism and appears mildly sympathetic to it.
Trump is polling within 3 points of Obama with absolutely no money spent and no real campaigning other than just dropping his name out there to the jackals in the press. Donald Trump has the brains, the money, the imagination and the hair. He should run for president, and conservatives should seriously consider getting behind him.
Trump for president.