Donald Trump is a standard-issue liberal-leaning businessman who, having decided that his best chance for glory lies with the GOP, found a few hot button issues that appeal to conservatives. If you move beyond these issues and get him off-message, he reverts to the liberal notions and cliches that predominate among the rich and famous.
You have probably heard about it. As Peter Wehner recounts, when Trump was asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program about the praise he received from Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, Trump praised Putin in return. When Joe Scarborough pointed out that Putin kills political opponents and journalists and invades countries, Trump responded, “Our country does plenty of killing, too.”
This comment channels leftist thinking circa 1984 (when Jeanne Kirkpatrick observed that liberals “always blame American first”) and 2004 (when the “Bush lied, people died” meme was popular). Trump imbibed the liberalism of the second era (I don’t know about the first).
Thus, it was no accident that, under pressure, Trump engaged in the worst form of “moral equivalence,” putting his country in the same boat as Putin’s hideous Russia.
It is also noteworthy that Trump slandered America in defense of a dictator. Here too, he channels a strand of modern leftism, which has seldom encountered an anti-American dictator or would-be strongman — e.g., Chavez, Castro, Assad (pre-revolution), Morsi — it doesn’t sympathize with, if not (as in Trump’s case) like and admire.
It’s more than odd to think the GOP might nominate this man for president of the United States. If stranger things have happened in American politics, I’d like to know what they are.