Trump is Proving Levin Right: Populism Really is Progressivism by a Different Name
Today, the New York Times reports that long-time Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone expects Trump to campaign to the “left of Hillary Clinton” on a variety of issues. This of course is not a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to CR Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin. Levin has been warning about the progressive roots of populism for months now on his radio and television programs. The Trump camp has gone so far as to say every position Trump has taken up until now is just a “suggestion.”
The Times article entitled, “Donald Trump Borrows From Bernie Sanders’s Playbook to Woo Democrats,” lays out a convincing case about Trump’s progressive bona fides.
On a range of issues, Mr. Trump seems to be taking a page from the Sanders playbook, expressing a willingness to increase the minimum wage, suggesting that the wealthy may pay higher taxes than under his original proposal, attacking Mrs. Clinton from the left on national security and Wall Street, and making clear that his opposition to free trade will be a centerpiece of his general election campaign.
As Mr. Trump lays the groundwork for his likely showdown with Mrs. Clinton, he is staking out a series of populist positions that could help him woo working-class Democrats in November. But in doing so, he is exacerbating the trepidation some Republicans already feel about his candidacy at a moment when the party typically rallies to its nominee.
The populist persona Trump has crafted for himself is in fact progressive. Back before the primary season was effectively over, Levin took to the airwaves to explain how the progressive movement sprang from populism. Listen to Levin explain it for yourself.
A look back at Trump’s 30 plus years of public life shows that he has been a lifelong progressive on many issues. Many of the positions he took this year are not positions he has held for decades. Many were carefully crafted for the primary campaign. Now that that portion of the campaign is over, he and his team are reminding folks that everything he has said are “just suggestions.”
This means all of his campaign promises up to this point are negotiable, and don’t actually reflect what he would try to do in office. That’s not a pundit saying this; those were Trump’s own words.
The Republican power players are all telling conservatives that they have to either get behind Donald Trump or be labeled Clinton enablers. This is a trap that assumes there are only two options. It requires conservatives to choose a party over principles. That is something Newt Gingrich used to fight against.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Donald Trump is an amorphous populist who will adopt any position needed to gain unfettered access to the Oval Office. He has certainly, by his recent actions, proven Levin right. Populism is a building block for progressivism, and populists are ultimately progressives.
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