No, I Don’t Believe Donald Trump Is a Conservative

By David Limbaugh

No, I Don't Believe Donald Trump Is a Conservative
David Limbaugh
David Limbaugh

USA – -( This short essay is in response to a friend who asked me to explain how Donald Trump is unacceptable to “movement conservatives.”

Let's first acknowledge that many Trump supporters don't even claim to be conservative — though others do — and Trump himself is rather dismissive on the point, so they may consider this column a meaningless academic exercise. But a Trump supporter asked, so I'll try to explain.

Because I think my questioner was inquiring mostly about issues, I won't delve into Trump's apparent lack of presidential temperament and public deportment — as reflected mostly in the debates and his speeches — other than to suggest that they betray values that don't strike me as particularly conservative.

On the issues, Trump appears to have no ideological core. He can't sufficiently define “conservative” and, when pressed, says that even Ronald Reagan wasn't that conservative. Trump cites Reagan's earlier affiliation with the Democratic Party as his excuse for having supported liberal causes and politicians all his life, though unlike Reagan, Trump can never point to a personal conversion. He prefers to work with the uncompromising, extremist left, represented by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, rather than defeat it.

But having no internal conservative antenna, what goals would he seek to achieve through his legendary negotiating wizardry? Indeed, many conservatives sense that Trump is not one of them because while he champions national sovereignty and patriotism, he evinces no understanding of conservative ideology and much less of the Constitution and its design of limited government.

Under some political pressure, Trump promises to appoint strict constructionists to the Supreme Court, but there is no indication he has any real commitment to this vital principle.

It's not just that Trump, for a presidential candidate, is conspicuously ill-informed on political science and policy but also that he has no abiding allegiance to conservative policy solutions, as evidenced by his flip-flops, which are wider-ranging and more frequent than those of other notorious flippers. Even on his signature issue of immigration, he's exhibited a surprising openness to soften his positions. In any event, he is easily less reliable on this issue than Ted Cruz.

Movement conservatives are also uneasy with Trump's conflation of “Art of the Deal” business practices with conservative governance. Trump's success in creating thousands of jobs signals to conservatives that he is a friend of business, but it doesn't assure them that he comprehends the government's role (or lack thereof) in creating a job climate. Presidential statecraft isn't the same as private entrepreneurship. Government doesn't “create jobs“; it enacts policies and laws to remove the shackles of government so that the private sector can flourish on its own power. A private CEO is under different constraints than the president. Though Trump's acolytes boast that he “knows how to get things done,” he won't — and shouldn't — enjoy the same latitude to operate as president.

Trump seems disinclined to laissez faire and too comfortable with a major role for the federal government on economic issues. More troubling is his support for tariffs and protectionism, which could significantly damage our economy. Tied to this issue is one of the most distressing developments of this campaign: the emergence of class warfare themes emanating from the “right.”

Trump gives lip service to reducing spending and balancing the budget but offers few specifics; see his hollow promise to end fraud, waste and abuse. Experts believe that his fiscal plan would lead us into further debt. Having been coached to prepare a tax plan palatable to conservatives, he has made some progress here, but he is disturbingly open to punishing the “wealthy” through progressive tax policies — which would add more fuel to class tensions and be counterproductive for the economy.

Trump stubbornly refuses to reform Social Security, which is on a collision course with national insolvency and cannot be “saved” by robust economic growth as Trump glibly contends. We have more than $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities with our entitlement programs, and no marginally informed person believes we can simply grow out of this inevitable train wreck.

In refusing to acknowledge that or put forth a plan, Trump has sided with demagogic liberals.

It's not just on economic issues that Trump betrays an alarming lack of knowledge. Indeed, Trump substitutes slogans for serious policy proposals on many issues, and conservatives instinctively know that he doesn't get it — that he's not even interested in getting it.

Accordingly, Trump's promises to make America great again and to restore winning are pathetically devoid of specific plans to achieve those goals. No presidential candidate in my lifetime has demonstrated less command of the issues than Trump, and his lack of intellectual curiosity and interest cannot be adequately remedied by his selecting smart advisers. We need someone at the helm who has an understanding of important issues and who will be guided by conservative instincts.

Instead, Trump has shown a tendency to favor strong government action to get “results” — more government, more authoritarianism, not less. This is a serious danger signal to conservatives.

On a smattering of other issues, Trump's conservative bona fides are in doubt, from affirmative action to the Second Amendment to universal health care to religious liberty to the Iran nuclear deal to his professed neutrality on Israel and Palestine to his dubious support of life, including his endorsement of federal funding for America's premier abortion factory, Planned Parenthood. I realize he and his supporters vehemently deny some of these criticisms, but I've heard his disconcerting statements on them, even if he later modified or retracted them.

Trump has been brilliant in hijacking anti-government sentiment and in amplifying his immigration and trade message through manipulating the press, and I admit he might seek to honor some of his basic campaign promises. But we have no assurance beyond these few issues that Trump would behave or govern like a limited-government conservative, and because of his practiced vacillation and refusal to commit to many other issues, he'd have a mandate to do what he darn well pleases — and that's more than a little scary to me.

It concerns me that after Americans had finally united in strong opposition to Barack Obama's leftist record, the movement was co-opted by a populist with a super-amped megaphone. The solutions to America's problems are not some hodgepodge of policy goals fueled by nationalistic pride that is untethered to principles of limited government. You don't restore America's greatness by burning the house down, especially when you can remodel it from the inside out through a rededication to America's founding principles and constitutional conservatism.

I could better understand the support behind Trump if there weren't an infinitely superior candidate in Ted Cruz, who would specifically address the problems that plague us — and without abandoning the principles that made America unique in the first place.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is “Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel.” Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at

  • 28 thoughts on “No, I Don’t Believe Donald Trump Is a Conservative

    1. I’m still not getting how nobody understands what’s happening with Trump – nobody really believes in him. What they did was hold up half a dozen people up to the RNC to see which one they were most allergic to. The RNC kinda felt a little pain at Rand Paul, but only in the “meh” ballpark. They tried Carson, and the RNC actually started laughing. They tried Cruz and yeah, there’s a little discomfort, but they can deal. Then they tried Trump and the RNC started squealing like a thousand dying pigs while the leftists started up with the sound of two thousand dying pigs. Okay, Trump it is.

      He is nothing but a weapon against them. He has owned a few politicians, he is connected to the NYC financial scene, but that scene wants him anywhere but the Oval Office. Okay, Trump it is.

      The only thing he seems to consistently stand for is America First. He just said that NATO is a waste of money. Can UN funding be all that different to him? Okay, Trump it is.

    2. It is quite simple. Support the Party favored candidate, be it Cruz or what’s his name… and LOSE to Hillary…then wail and gnash your teeth as she and her new Supreme court disassemble the 2nd Amendment, and start collecting all those guns owned by the really dangerous gunowners (you know, the ones who just had to get their carry ‘permits’) – or – take a chance on someone with the only REAL shot (pun intended) at beating Hillary….. You see, we are facing possible end-game for our side, what with the libs, one worlders, Hollywood, the media, and millions depending on government handouts, lining up against us.. (and with the Republicans clearly, by all their Chamberlin-like actions a proven bunch of eunuchs)… we need to win the White House and a gun friendly congress. That, my friends, is why I am voting for Trump.

    3. Nobody will ever convince me that a NewYork liberal should be the Republican nominee.
      Thump is no conservative but he is a lifelong lib.


    4. Trump is not a political animal. That obviously is a major part of his attraction for many supporters.
      He has demonstrated the lack of mental acumen and international affairs knowledge to be our president.
      Trump loves Trump, everyone else is inferior to him. He is a complete egotist.
      Pleas vote for your choice, anyone besides this loose cannon who may very well take us into a major war.

    5. Ever play chess? Just because the King is the most coveted piece does not mean that the King should be selected for every move while the other pieces just sit there and go to waste. Trump is the best piece to make a move at this time. So let’s stop whining about whether he is perfect or ideal. NO candidate is perfect or ideal. Jesus is not running, so we work with what we have. Trump is the candidate who can make the most progress at the moment.

    6. Nah, Trump is just a rich building contractor (ever do business with one?). Trump has no record of his real political feelings although a couple of years ago he came out against semi-auto rifles in the hands of American citizens. Cruz is a proven Constitutionalist and has argued in the Supreme Court FOR gun rights (he argued and helped win the Heller case).

    7. So what globalist ,Zionist bank does Trump keep his $ 10 billon in. Who to trust ? It’s definitely not the demonrats nor the repugnents ! As both parties are owned by the globalist one world order crew.

    8. I was hoping that someone would be able to tell me NOT to vote for Trump. How come every news agency and most talk shows talk trash about Trump but his popularity continues to gain ? I am 53 and have never seen such an effort by so many to keep someone from getting elected. I guess the ” establishment” can not comprehend the idea of an “outside” getting the presidency. This is supposed to be a pro 2A website but you say to not vote for Trump. That would land Hitlery in the presidents seat for 4-8 years! Just how is that going to further our cause!

    9. Cruz is not Eligible by LAW to run…………look up 8 US CODE 1401 (d) Nationals and citizens of United States at
      birth : (d) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a
      continuous period of one year prior to the birth of such person, and the other of whom is a national, but not a citizen of the United States; ………………… this law has been in effect since June 27, 1952………. if you push the subject, Obama is not eligible by have a British Citizen as a father, and both of Rubio’s Parents were Cuban ……….So tell me what happened to the LAW of the land, and following the Law ???

      Notice it states that one parent MUST be a US Citizen, and the other has to be at a minimum a “NATIONAL” or Naturalized Citizen at the time of his birth……….his father was still a CUBAN citizen at the time of his birth…….PERIOD ……end of conversation and your knowledge of Constitutionality and US LAW……he is NOT eligible to be either a President or Vice President………

      1. So where do we draw the line ?? Obama is ineligible to be President for a number of reasons and Congress has not taken any action. On Obama’s long form birth certificate his father’s race is listed as “African”. There is not any ” African” race. Also, the hospital it is claimed Obama was born in did not go by the name listed on the birth certificate until 6 years after his birth. Additionally, Obama’s mother was not yet 18 years of age when he was born. Officially, a person is not a citizen of a country until that age, which means Obama’s mother was not a U.S. citizen. There are a number of Obama’s personal statements and actions that disqualify him as President. Where do we draw the line??

        1. Dear Concerned,
          You needed to read a little further to subparagraph g, to wit and specifically: “(g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years…”
          The issue is not citizenship. The issue is natural born citizenship.

      2. But this article was written by a lawyer, you would think he would know. HOWEVER, this article mirrors all the articles he writes in other words bla, bla, bla, bla.

        1. Tom; Law’s are written by Lawyer FOR Lawyers. Just ask any honest one. They are out there I know a couple. Lawyerze is kind of like learning the street language of the Ghetto.

    10. Don’t worry Mr. Limbaugh, Goldman Sachs/CFR puppet aka the Trojan Horse Canadian citizen Republican Primary booger eating candidate Ted Cruz will save us.

    11. Once again you miss the point! THIS IS PAYBACK! the so-called Conservatives have lied and stabbed their base in the back on a multitude of issues, so now the Establishment has been forced to see that their vase is no longer silent, but very very angry and the establishment is going to be forced to eat this one!
      Currently there are 3 choices for president, Hillary who is a radical leftist loon, Cruz who is bought and payed for by the very establishment that has totally ignored their base voters, Trump who maybe a loose cannon but he isn’t controlled by anybody and will give the powers that be a muched deserved beating! If you want to rail against something, rail against the so-called Conservative Establishment that betrayed their base!

    12. Trump is the ONLY one capable of returning America to it’s industrial strengths again.
      As an alternative, just think about “comrade Clinton” in the oval office, and then STOP YOUR WHINING !!!

    13. I also have considerable doubts that Trumps Leftist spots won’t surface again. I’m sure he’s a nice guy but I don’t trust him one bit to take this country to the right and to do the right thing by it.

    14. Let’s see, what conservative values would you like him to support. Strip women of control of their bodies in the name of not “murdering babies”, while supporting endless warm that kills hundreds of thousands? Taking money from the war industry to support endless wars? I could go on about the conservative hypocrisy.
      Don’t get me wrong, the Dems are just as guilty of lying and talking out of both sides of their mouths, depending who is paying them. But please, don’t go all we have to beat Trump because he isn’t a “conservative”.
      You are just POd because you and your ilk can’t control him and he is not who you are being paid to deliver as nominee.
      Makes you a whore.

      1. Every angry American is upset about the Washington establishment and the big money and special interests that control them. We accuse them of losing their values and destroying the country in the process. How can anyone support Trump as an “outsider” and someone who will step in and fix these problems when Trump is one of those big money special interest donors that has been paying off the politicians and controlling them? Why would anyone think he would be good for the country when he is the one of those that has been pulling the strings the entire time? They are somehow convinced that they can trust the guy who buys politicians as somehow above the corruption but Trump supporters are ditching the drug users in favor of the drug dealer…

        1. I agree with you. Voter are upset with the so called establishment. Yet are marching lock stock and barrel with one of the financier’s of the establishment. And all under the pretext that he was doing because of his personal business interest. Go figure ….

      2. Right on Grumpy! I have voted “conservative” (except JFK) and have constantly wondered whose play book are we using this year? The Big Three Cabal has a strangle hold on DC and Trump is a clear and present danger to the GOOD OLD BOYS CLUB. Until this CLUB is busted up nothing is going to change. Trump has his billions so it’s tough for Business or the Chamber or Government to BRIBE him.
        All Politics are local and The Republicans have won more Governors and legislatures and the Congress and the Senate and Bozo is still acting the Emperor. The Senate (so far) holding the SCOTUS nominee is the first sign of spine.

    Leave a Comment 28 Comments

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *