Donald Trump has quite famously been all over the map on social and political issues. He once was adamantly pro-choice; now he is pro-life with exceptions. He once criticized Mitt Romney for turning off the Latino and Asian populations with his talk about self-deportation. Now he wants to seal the border, round up all illegal aliens, and ship them home.
He voted for Barack Obama, and was so proud of his vote he Tweeted it out. Then he deleted the Tweet. He was a registered Democrat until 2009. Now he’s not.
He once said glowing things about Hillary Clinton and donated to the Clinton foundation. Now she’s the worst Secretary of State in American history. He once said glowing things about nationalized health care. Now he doesn’t (although he still supports single payer on the campaign trail).
Until about five years ago, he gave most of his money to Democrats. Now he doesn’t. He once said the economy seems to do better under Democrats. Now he doesn’t. He once supported a massive one-time tax on wealth. Now he doesn’t.
I do not doubt the sincerity of Trump’s current positions on any of these issues. He seems genuinely and passionately committed to these positions. Today.
Just as he was genuinely and passionately committed to his former positions. Yesterday.
His passion and energy and bull-doggedness in refusing to back down on issues where he has taken a stand is why he continues to be at or near the top of every poll. He has made illegal immigration and the threat of Islamic fundamentalism front burner issues in the political debate, and his message is resonating across the board with Americans of every stripe.
HIs numbers skyrocketed to 41% in the latest national poll from Monmouth University, and is at 38% in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, nearly lapping his nearest competitor, Ted Cruz, three times.
But there is something dangerously unpredictable about Trump. How do we explain these abrupt and enormous changes of course? What is guiding him? Where is he getting his guidance on moral and political questions?
Conservatives are looking for candidates who are guided by eternal and abiding principles that come from God. For this reason among others, the leading pro-faith, pro-family, pro-life leaders in the nation have decided to back Ted Cruz.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, seems to be guided by shifting and ephemeral principles that come from Donald Trump.
He still supports the use of eminent domain to take private property from citizens against their will to be handed over to developers such as his own self. He once tried to take a widow’s house to use for a parking lot at one of his casinos. Speaking of which, he has made boatloads of money off casino gambling, and was the first casino owner to include a strip club complete with modified lap dancing.
His own passion seems to be what drives him, and the strength of his passion seems to be what validates whatever position he holds at the time. The more strongly he feels something, the more certain he is that he is right.
But this is not how conservatives process things, it’s the way liberals process things. Liberalism is based on pure emotion. It is based entirely on feelings and the strength of those feelings.
To be a good, card-carrying liberal, you don’t need to think, you only need to feel. If a liberal is offended emotionally, he is absolutely convinced that he is right and whoever offended him is wrong and must be silenced and punished. The strength of his own emotional reaction is all the validation he needs. Facts, reason, and logic are immaterial. If he feels something this strongly, he knows he must be right.
In my view, Trump happens to be right about the need to build a security fence along our southern border and to suspend Islamic immigration. So naturally I agree with him on those issues. But because Trump is driven by passion rather than reason, this seems to be more a happy coincidence than anything else.
There is something mercurial about Trump that ought to prompt caution on the part of conservatives. If Trump’s passion, which delights us today, should shift, he could say something tomorrow that would alarm us. And if does the same thing after he’s elected president, it would not just be alarming, it could be dangerous. It is impossible to predict how widely his eventual positions will vary from the positions he has taken today.
A state-of-the-art GPS unit takes its positioning data from a satellite in the heavens. Donald Trump seems to be taking his positioning data from the earth-bound center of his own mind. Conservative voters beware.