“You’ve convinced me [of the need to pass the Dream Act].” [NBC Latino, 8/22/13]
“I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis with what’s happening, you have to [bring in Syrian refugees].” [Interview with Bill O’Reilly, 9/8/15]
Regarding Kim Davis: “Because we had a ruling from the Supreme Court and we are a country of laws and you have to do what the Supreme Court ultimately, whether you like the decision or not, and it was a 5-4 decision, whether you like the decision or not, you have to go along with the Supreme Court. That’s the way it is.” [Interview with Bill O’Reilly, 9/8/15]
These comments were not made by Jeb Bush who sits at 3% in the polls; they were made by Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP nomination.
After spending an entire week discussing the Cruz citizenship issue, can’t we have a debate over whether we’ve properly vetted the frontrunner on some of the critical issues facing our nation?
It is self-evident to anyone with a modicum of love for the Republic that this is an election our nation and party cannot get wrong. Following eight years of Obama’s fundamental transformation, the stakes are too high.
As someone who has vetted a number of congressional candidates who promised to be conservative but got sucked into the D.C. political vortex upon assuming office, I’ve seen that nobody runs in a primary as anything but a solid conservative. Everyone becomes an intrepid conservative convert on the road to Des Moines.
While no candidate has a perfect record, Republicans must have the ability to nominate a party leader with open eyes and a clear sense of where they are coming from and where they are headed. That is why it’s so vital to have a protracted discussion of the issues and put the personalities aside.
Each candidate has personal flaws and ideological inconsistencies. But a long-form discussion vetting each candidate on not just what they have said but what they have done regarding the most critical issues of our time will give the voters the clearest picture of what to expect from our eventual nominee. We will not get perfection from anyone but we must ensure we are not saddled with the David Souter equivalent of a presidential nominee.
This is why, at Conservative Review, we have posted the most comprehensive analysis of the candidates on an array of issues when it really mattered.
Among the top candidates, Cruz and Rubio have been pretty thoroughly vetted, although there is certainly always more to discuss. Much of the punditry and commentary over the past week has been consumed with the silly issue of whether Cruz—who was an automatic citizen at birth—is eligible to run for president as… an automatic citizen at birth. But with Trump leading in all the national polls just a few weeks from the start of the primaries, there is little discussion about where he stands on some of the critical issues or about his very recent and dramatic evolutions even on the issue of immigration.
You might be thinking, well, of course Trump has been vetted. After all, he has consumed the national discussion for the past seven months. But much of that national discussion was focused on the cult of personality—both from those who love him and those who hate him. But as it relates to the critical issues facing our country—sovereignty, security, society, our backwards system of governance, free markets—where is he coming from and where is he headed? Given his solid front-runner status these should be the most important questions at this point.
Where is Donald Trump on religious liberty and the role of the courts in social transformation? Does he really think they are the final law of the land when it comes to the most fundamental private property and religious liberty issues of our time? Evidently, he thinks the courts have the power to randomly rule on Cruz’s eligibility to run for president.
Where will Donald Trump head on the critical issues the minute he wins the primary?
These are not loaded questions only directed at Trump. They apply to everyone else as well. But with just a few weeks left until the primary and with Trump leading by double digits in every national poll, voters deserve as clear a picture of where Trump is headed as any other candidate.
There are those who don’t want to discuss any of the numerous liberal positions Trump has taken or still holds on so many critical issues—income taxes, the internet sales tax, the role of the courts, abortion, guns, etc.—because they suggest that immigration is all that matters.
There is nobody more sympathetic to that argument than I am. Immigration stands at the nexus of sovereignty, security, society, and numerous fiscal and economic issues. See my exhaustive article on how our backwards immigration policies will create a permanent Democrat majority, rendering every other policy issue moot. I’ve written several hundred articles on this issue and am in the process of writing a very detailed book on immigration, sovereignty, and the courts.
As such, I’m as tantalized as anyone by the fact that Trump has brought the issue of birthright citizenship for illegals and the right of a nation to exclude harmful immigrants to the forefront. I’ve been making a forceful case for the border fence for years, including my report on it this year.
But where does Trump really stand on the issue? Where was he on these issues when it mattered prior to running for president?
Because the media is assailing Trump from the Left for his newfound campaign position on immigration, many conservatives are reflexively attracted to him and are projecting all their hopes and aspirations surrounding the issue onto the personality of The Donald.
But as is the case with so many other issues where he was siding with the far-left until running for president, immigration is no different. His first intuition in September, when the refugee crisis flared up, was to say that we had a humanitarian obligation to bring in Syrian refugees. Then when he discovered that conservatives were so ardently opposed to it, he immediately did a 180 and categorically opposed it in his typical attention-grabbing fashion. At that point there was no turning around, and because the media was attacking his new position from the Left, everyone forgot (or never noticed) his first intuition.
While Sessions, Cruz, and others on the outside like myself were fighting the worst immigration bill of our generation in 2013, Trump was promoting the Dream Act. When it really mattered he wasn’t with us.
Moreover, what sort of judges would Trump nominate? Where does he stand on proposals to rein in the lawless courts? If he believes the courts are the law of the land, even when they violate the most fundamental rights or original intent of the Constitution, as he did with religious liberty, what will he do when the courts inevitably use the same phantom 14th Amendment legal theory to toss out his immigration proposals?
Does this mean he can’t join the fight and permanently defend our sovereignty? No. As someone who genuinely cares about this issue, I would love nothing more than for Trump to crush the Democrats on this debate in the general election. We are not asking for a “natural-born” conservative immigration hawk; we will accept legitimate converts to the cause.
But isn’t it time for a serious discussion about whether we are really certain we know what “the day after” looks like with a Trump nomination given his track record, even as it relates to immigration?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.