Donald Trump Is Just a Garden Variety Right-Winger These Days

In a blog post about an entirely different subject, Jay Nordlinger says this about Donald Trump:

I am reminded of how the Left and Right can blend — although it’s pretty much impossible to locate Trump politically. Is he Left or Right or in between?

This has long been a common observation, but is it really true anymore? A few months ago, for example, I wrote that Trump didn’t favor a flat tax. But that’s true of most Republicans. And now that Trump has actually released a tax plan, we know his tax notions are entirely orthodox these days. Ditto for Planned Parenthood, which Trump is now on board with defunding completely. Ditto again for his short-lived support for an assault weapons ban.

So what’s left of Trump’s alleged populism? I count one thing:

  • He doesn’t want to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Is there anything else left? He’s not stridently anti-gay, but he’s opposed to gay marriage nonetheless. Sort of Jeb Bush-ish. He refuses to say that he still supports affirmative action. His foreign policy is…um…a little hard to get a handle on, but it sure can’t be described as liberal these days. He claims to have opposed the Iraq War, but that’s just a lie—and ten years in the past anyway. He sometimes sounds a populist note on trade, but his real position is that he’s smarter than all the dimwits in Washington and could negotiate better terms than they do. He doesn’t seem to harbor any real leftish views on trade.

So really, his support for Social Security and Medicare is pretty much it for non-conservative heresies—and even there his position remains unclear. Does he mean that he doesn’t want to cut Social Security and Medicare at all, or does he mean he doesn’t want to cut them for people currently in the system? After all, the standard Republican position already protects Social Security and Medicare for anyone over age 55. But since Trump has declined to provide any further detail, we don’t really know what his position is.

Trump used to have a few more quasi-liberal positions, but the campaign has sanded them all down. Today, he’s just a really loud right-winger who understands that bashing Social Security and Medicare doesn’t win any votes. That’s it.