Sunday, April 02, 2017

Trump's Relationship with Conservatives

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

It was conservative and Tea Party support that carried Donald J. Trump into victory last November on election day, and into the White House.  He received a record 81% of the evangelical Christian vote.  Traditional conservatives flocked to stand behind him, for the most part, hoping he was everything he was claiming to be, despite a lingering doubt that pushed some of them away from him and into the Never Trump camp.  Most of billionaire's conservative supporters understood Mr. Trump was not the most conservative candidate of the original seventeen Republican Party choices, but he was the one that had the intestinal fortitude to combine a conservative message with the political will to challenge the leftwing Democrats in ways we haven't seen since Ronald Reagan.  Despite his glaring shortcomings, reality is that the largest group to support him overall during the election through votes, money and at rallies was the conservative wing of the Republican Party.  However, after the collapse of the GOP's offering for a replacement of the Affordable Care Act, Trump let loose a very curious Tweet against the very people who have been the strongest pillars of support beneath the foundation that launched his presidency:

The Freedom Caucus is a group of Tea Party affiliated Republican members of Congress who champions the values of the Tea Party, and more conservative voters of the Republican Party.  And in the recent fight to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, it was the Freedom Caucus who stood against the Obamacare Light legislation being offered by Paul Ryan and Donald Trump.  They had promised their constituents they would hold out for repeal, and that is what they are calling for.

Was Trump's reaction in the above pictured Tweet a declaration of war against conservatives?  Is he, after all of the promises he has been making for more than a year, the anti-conservative leftist wolf in sheep's clothing that the conservative Never Trump folks are claiming?  Or, was the Tweet a strategic poke in the eye that essentially says to conservatives, "hey, guys, I'm the one that understands the art of the deal, and if you don't work with me and help me get things through the way I think it needs to be done, you will be seen as no different than the opposition"?

Was the Tweet a "You're with me, or against me" proclamation?

Going into the election I don't believe Mr. Trump was necessarily a conservative, nor a staunch constitutionalist.  However, when the uninformed members of the public, political left politicians, media, and their entertainment industry minions went completely nuts against him, I think the Democrats literally threw him into the arms of conservatism.  It made him become more conservative, as well. The attacks encouraged him to seek out the more conservative members of the political world, and surround himself with those people.  He's learning, and I believe he is a quick study.  I am sure the influence of the establishment, and the attacks of the liberal left, have him in a position where he's not completely sure if he can fully trust the rightwing Tea Party people that the media spends much of their time painting as being just as dangerous as Muslim jihadists - but, I am positive he doesn't trust the Democrats at all.

In an attempt to get to know the conservative base of the Republican Party, Trump decided to spend a golf game with Rand Paul.  Rand is the one member of the legislative branch that best understands the principles of the Constitution, and if he seems willing to educate the President, I am all for it.

It is being reported that health care was among the primary topics discussed on the Virginia golf course, and the game with Rand Paul, who has been calling for full repeal, came mere hours after Trump tweeted that talks on replacing the law have been going on and “will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck.”

Trump golfed and discussed policy with Paul and budget director Mick Mulvaney, according to White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.

After the golf day concluded, Rand Paul sounded positive about it, saying it was a “great day” with the president.

“I continue to be very optimistic that we are getting closer and closer to an agreement on replacing Obamacare,” said the Kentucky senator.

Trump, in reference to the collapse and withdrawal of the Obamacare replacement before it could be voted on, has said, “I don’t like to lose. But that wasn’t a definitive day. They are negotiating as we speak.”

Trump, I think, is very much like the Star Trek character, Captain Kirk. I don't believe Trump believes in "no-win scenarios."

Trump said the bill was pulled because “I didn’t want to take a vote. It was my idea.” And he said that “one way or the other, I promised the people great health care. We are going to have great health care in this country.”

As for the Freedom Caucus, Trump told the Financial Times that members of the caucus were “friends of mine.” But he added, “if we don’t get what we want, we will make a deal with the Democrats and we will have in my opinion not as good a form of health care, but we are going to have a very good form of health care and it will be a bipartisan form of health care.”

The threat to work with the Democrats did not resonate well with Republicans (and especially conservatives), who understand that the Democrats have no willingness to negotiate, or get anything other than their socialist way, on this issue.

The real question, now, is who wooed who?  Did Rand Paul convince Trump to be willing to work more with conservatives, or did Trump convince Paul that the art of the deal may require the Freedom Caucus to bend a little?

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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