Regardless of the campaign, Trump is governing as a conservative

Chait with a post today on the fact that– certainly at this point in time– the idea that Republicans would even think at all about impeaching Trump is absurd.  And, this is in large part because they are getting exactly what they want from him– conservative policies:

Many conservatives opposed Trump during the primaries because they suspected, with good reason, that his conservatism was shallow or insincere. They worried that, once elected, Trump would abandon their priorities and pursue the most expedient course.

But Trump has not done that at all. The policies or talking points Trump has abandoned are the centrist ones: He would protect Medicaid from cuts, give everybody terrific coverage, hammer the big banks, spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, and cut deals with both parties. This week, Trump formally abandoned the last possible area of ideological compromise in infrastructure, “clarifying” that his plan relies on private industry, states, or cities ponying up the money. Trump’s budget actually cuts federal investments in infrastructure. He has positioned himself to the right of even House Republicans on domestic spending, and continues to push for their grossly unpopular plan to cut a trillion dollars from Obamacare. [emphasis mine] “The Never Trump conservative argument that Trump is not a conservative — one that I, too, made repeatedly during the Republican primaries — is not only no longer relevant, it is no longer true,” points out the popular conservative talk-show host Dennis Prager.

Trump is faithfully supporting the conservative agenda, so most conservatives faithfully support him. Their concerns are pragmatic ones about his effectiveness on behalf of their common agenda, rather than moral objections to the legitimacy and propriety of his actions. Trump may have committed impeachable offenses, but the impeachment clock has not even begun to move.

As dumb as Trump is, he certainly has some political savvy.  He knew that pretending to be more centrist would work in winning over white working class voters.  And he knows that as president, accomplishing anything depends on the conservatives in control of Congress.  And since he has few core beliefs other than hating immigrants and believing the world is zero-sum, it’s easy enough for him to be flexible.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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