August 28, 2015


From High Taxes To National Health Care, Donald Trump Must Reckon With His Progressive Past (Eric Owens, 08/26/2015, Daily Caller)

Trump has also changed his party affiliation at least four times in the last 16 years -- an average of once for each presidential election.

In 1999, as he geared up for a previous, failed presidential quest, Trump quit the Republican Party to join New York's version of the Reform Party. "I am convinced the major parties have lost their way," he said. "I really believe the Republicans are just too crazy right," he also explained.

In 2001, Trump then publicly switched his allegiance to the Democratic Party and apparently remained a committed Democrat for six years.

In 2007, he quit the Democrats. "I'm very much independent," Trump told Wolf Blitzer. "I really am much more attuned to the people, as opposed to the party."

Two years later, in 2009, the real estate executive decided he'd had his fill with independence. He registered as a Republican, at least in name.

Earlier this month, Trump clarified his desire to run for president as a Republican as long as he is "treated fairly" and wins the GOP nomination. He also said he had been "part of the establishment" until an abrupt departure in June 2015. [...]

Perhaps the strongest evidence that Trump is manifestly not a conservative -- and not even a Republican -- is his dependable history of condemning Republicans and praising Democrats.

In 2004, Trump claimed he identified "more as a Democrat" because "the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans." 

"In many cases I probably identify more as a Democrat," the candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination said on CNN 11 years ago. "If you go back, it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans."

In 2009, Trump enthusiastically endorsed then-newly-minted President Obama.

"We have a young, vibrant, smart president who, I think, is going to do a really good job," he said on Fox News. "And, honestly, he has to do a really good job or this country maybe will never be the same. We had eight years of a horrendous president, a terrible president. You cannot get worse than Bush. And I really believe that Obama will be a great president." 

Trump despises Bush.

"The way I look at it, he cannot do worse than Bush," Trump said of Obama on Fox in 2008.

In 2007, the billionaire real estate developer appeared on CNN to blast George W. Bush as "possibly the worst in the history of this country."

In the same interview, Trump excoriated then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as "very sad" and called Hugo Chavez, then president of Venezuela, "a lot smarter than" Bush. "Chavez is obviously very cunning," Trump explained. "I mean, beating our president at every step of the game." 

In 2008, Trump expressed surprise that then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not attempt to impeach Bush over the 2003 invasion of Iraq. "It just seemed like she was going to really look to impeach Bush and get him out of office, which, personally, I think would have been a wonderful thing," Trump said on CNN.

In the same interview, Trump praised Saddam Hussein because "he killed terrorists."

From Immigration To Guns To Abortion, Donald Trump Must Reckon With His Progressive History (Eric Owens, 08/26/2015, Daily Caller)

As recently as 2012, Trump endorsed a broad pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens that is remarkably similar to President Barack Obama's plan for comprehensive immigration reform.

U.S. immigration policy "must take care of this incredible problem that we have with respect to immigration, with respect to people wanting to be wonderful productive citizens of this country," Trump told journalist Ronald Kessler in the immediate aftermath after the 2012 election.

He condemned Republicans for "mean-spirited" attacks on illegal immigration and for a "maniacal" policy of self-deportation in 2012. He suggested that hostility on the issue partially cost Mitt Romney the presidency.

In 2011, Trump similarly suggested that the way to deal with America's 15 million illegal immigrants is on a case-by-case basis. "You know, it's hard to generalize," Trump told Bill O'Reilly. "You're going to have to look at the individual people." He added that determining citizenship for 15 million people is "going to take a long time and a lot of people."

In 1999, Trump said he supported stringent restrictions on immigration. "I think that too many people are flowing into the country," he told Tim Russert on Meet the Press then. "We have to take care of the people who are here," he also said in a meeting with California Reform Party leaders.

In 2015, Trump has both favored and opposed illegal immigration. While his August policy statement strongly denounces illegal border crossings, he now also believes that certain "outstanding" illegal aliens deserve legal status.

"I'm a very big believer in the merit system," Trump explained in July 2015, a day after a tour of the U.S.-Mexico border. "Some of these people have been here, they've done a good job. You know, in some cases, sadly, they've been living under the shadows," he explained. "If somebody's been outstanding, we try and work something out."

Thus, Trump was a strong immigration opponent in 1999 but a proponent of a generous pathway to legal status in 2011 and 2012. By 2015, he had switched to opposition to illegal immigration except that he supports a merit system for many illegal immigrants.

Beyond a history of incessant indecision on immigration policy, Trump's hiring practices as a commercial real estate developer are perhaps the biggest albatross around his neck relating to the immigration issue.

Records show that Trump's own businesses definitely do not hire Americans first.

An August 2015 analysis by Reuters demonstrates that various companies owned by Trump have imported at least 1,100 foreign workers since 2000.

Since 2006, Trump's genteel Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Palm Beach, Fla. has alone sought to import 787 foreign laborers. The 62,000-square-foot club, which charges $100,000 for membership privileges, sought to import 70 foreign workers as waiters, cooks and low-level cleaning staff just this summer.

During the last 30 years, Trump has employed illegal aliens for his multitude of construction projects.

A worker at the construction site of the posh, soon-to-be-opened $200 million Trump International Hotel near the White House in Washington, D.C. has claimed that Trump currently employs many laborers illegal immigrants.

"The majority of us are Hispanics, many who came illegally," a stone mason working at the site told The Washington Post -- in Spanish -- in July 2015. Several other interviewees admitted that they had entered the United States illegally -- mostly from Central America. Some eventually acquired legal status through various immigration loopholes. Others remain undocumented.

Trump addressed the charge by pointing to a long history of immigration in the United States.

"I mean, ultimately, we were all sort of in the group of immigrants, right?" Trump said this summer in his defense on CNN.

If you want to understand Donald Trump, look to the success of the European far-right (Matthew Yglesias on August 25, 2015, Vox)

[W]hen I read the platform of the French National Front, I found a genuinely extreme and super-right-wing view of immigration combined with a critique of the eurozone and the European Central Bank that would be comfortably at home in a Paul Krugman column. FNF also promised to avoid cuts to France's version of Social Security and to enhance benefits for stay-at-home moms.

The Danish People's Party and the True Finns are both friendlier to the Nordic welfare state than are the more traditional center-right parties they are currently allied with in coalitions.

The UK Independence Party manifesto promises to increase NHS funding and to start an early retirement option for Britain's social security system.

The Freedom Party in the Netherlands blew up a center-right cabinet by refusing to endorse an austerity budget.

These policy positions reflect the social basis of political support for unorthodox right-wing parties. Skepticism of immigrants and immigration tends to be more concentrated among older and working-class voters, and older working-class people are inclined to be worried about things like government funding for retirement programs and health-care programs.

Posted by at August 28, 2015 4:58 AM

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