Donald Trump as a transactional politician

Dan Bongino made a really good point on a podcast recently about Donald Trump: While Trump is not an ideological conservative, he does know “where his bread is buttered” politically speaking. So he will push a conservative agenda favored by the people who voted him into office and especially by his most loyal and enthusiastic supporters.

Trump, ultimately, is a transactional politician. That’s why this lifelong New York City liberal has been so conservative on policy – more so than many actual conservatives. Some people saw this in 2015 and predicted he would govern as a conservative. It took me until Trump took office and see concrete evidence.

Would I rather have an actual conservative of good moral character? Obviously, the answer is yes. I voted against Trump in the 2016 general election, writing in the Constitution Party candidate. I still shake my head at his childish and unprofessional behavior. Trump is far too brittle when attacked. But I have been pleasantly surprised by Trump and he has earned my vote for re-election.

But the 2020 election, like the 2016 election, is not a choice between the Democrats and who I wish we had as the Republican nominee for President. Trump voters knew that Hillary Clinton is totally morally bankrupt. Joe Biden has problems with his character. The Democrats’ real nominee, Kamala Harris, is far worse than both. Do I like Trump’s character? No. But Democrats do not get to pretend their heroes are clean.

The benefit for conservatives is Trump has nowhere to go, especially in his second term. He cannot embrace a liberal policy agenda, because the Democrats’ hate for him is so strong that nothing he does at this point is going to change that. Even moving to the center has significant political risks and few benefits. Trump is stuck with the conservative base, and he knows his loyalty inspires loyalty in return.

That is why I will vote for him.

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