Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) is a perfect illustration of the old adage that you should be careful what you wish for . . . because you just might get it.
For the last decade, the Republican Party has made impressive gains in local and state-level politics, and has been reasonably successful in congressional races, but has failed to win the presidency. Many politicos—myself included—have made diagnoses, and offered our unsolicited advice to the party about what kinds of candidates it should put forth if it intends to ascend again to the White House.
The advice of most conservative observers (like myself) has gone largely unheeded by Republican leaders and primary voters, much to our disappointment and frustration. But what about the advice offered by those on the political left?
Many left-wingers advised the Republican Party to make a break with the ‘religious right’ and field a presidential candidate who was center-to-left on social issues. They wanted a Republican candidate who was not an anti-debt ideologue and not a strict-constitutionalist. They wanted a Republican who would support the ‘progressive’ income tax system and the welfare state. They wanted a Republican who would abandon ‘neoconservative’ foreign policy and stop meddling in foreign affairs. They wanted a Republican who could speak to working- and middle-class voters. They wanted a candidate who would re-implement protectionist trade policies. They wanted a candidate who would weed-out corruption and malfeasance in government.
Donald Trump is, or at least promises to be, all of those things.
That’s not to say that Trump is everything that the ‘left’ said they wanted. He obviously breaks with modern progressives most starkly on illegal immigration; indeed, this is one area where the previous Republican candidates were more in-line with the open-borders ideologues. And few left-wingers would have advised the Republicans to put forth somebody with Trump’s in-your-face temperament or his well-documented penchant for insults and absurdity.
But it is fascinating none-the-less. Trump is almost the candidate that left-wing politicos—here and abroad—claimed they wanted from the Republican Party. When it comes to trade and foreign policy, he is arguably more in-line with the hard-left wish-list than the Democratic nominee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D).
Strange times indeed.