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Stemberger: 3 Questions Every Voter Should Ask Before Supporting Trump

Image: Stemberger: 3 Questions Every Voter Should Ask Before Supporting Trump
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By    |   Wednesday, 09 Dec 2015 11:45 AM

There is a lot to like about Donald Trump.

First, in contrast to typical milquetoast politicians, he is straight shooting, forthright, and speaks uncompromisingly. He also talks about tough issues like immigration and radical Islam in a blunt way while other candidates give fuzzy answers.

After feeling lied to by so many politicians (in both parties) for so many years, here is a man who sounds like he will "take no prisoners" and make the tough choices.

As well, many conservatives and tea party voters are especially drawn to Trump because he is willing to take on "The Establishment" of the Republican Party, which has for years convinced conservatives to vote Republican, but once elected abandoned the conservative values of their own party platform.

Finally, Trump is perhaps the most entertaining presidential candidate in the history of American politics.

Trump fits perfectly in a world that is used to getting its news through comedy newsmen like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and Rush Limbaugh. Unvarnished and simply fascinating to watch, Donald Trump is truly the ultimate "Reality TV" candidate; his overall appeal is a phenomenon like nothing we have ever seen before in American history.

Despite these factors, are there things about Trump's life, background and views that should give us pause or even great cause for concern? In my view, conservative voters who are considering supporting Trump should be asking themselves three questions.

Please consider them:

1. What is Donald Trump's political history and voting record?

In 2008, millions of Americans casting a vote for Barack Obama made a major mistake.
Voters evaluated Obama superficially based on his "cool factor," his charisma, his non-partisan tone, dynamic speaking ability, his hip wife Michele, and the romance behind the idea of making history by electing the first African-American president.

Those who supported Obama didn't really know who he really was or what he stood for. They did not know about his background and relationships with other radical thinkers, about his racist and anti-American pastor, and the forces that influenced who Obama really was.

America elected a "community organizer" who served as a U.S. senator for a handful of years; the media did nothing to help voters understand how radical and extreme this man's view of the world really was.

In short, voters did not do a background check on Obama.

Many voters who like Donald Trump also have no idea about the facts regarding his background, his life, his values and his record on some really important issues.
Because Trump does not have a voting record as an elected official, we only have general background facts and the record of his own public statements to consider.

Party Registration:

Trump registered as a Democrat in 2001, and remained with the Democratic Party for eight years. However, he took another leave of absence from the GOP in 2011 before returning in as a Republican in April 2012.

All in all, Trump has switched parties multiple times and has been a member of the Republican Party, the Independence Party, the Democratic Party, was a candidate with the Reform Party, and now back to the Republican Party.

According to voting records from the state of New York, Trump failed to vote in the last two presidential primaries.

Support for Democrats:

From 1989-2011 Trump donated $581,350 to 23 different Democratic candidates in state and federal races, including Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid. In 2010 Trump donated $50,000 to Chicago's Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a close aide of President Obama.

Trump's donations to GOP candidates include many liberal Republicans such as former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Sen. Arlen Spector.

In 2004, when asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "Do you identify more as a Democrat or a Republican," Trump said, "… in many cases I probably identify more as a Democrat."

He then explained, "I've been around for a long time, and it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans."

Trump was also a very outspoken critic of President George W. Bush — even urging Democrat Nancy Pelosi to impeach him. Trump called President George W. Bush "evil," and "the worst president in the history of the United States," even going so far as to say that what Bush did was worse than what Bill Clinton did to cause him to be impeached.

Voted for Barack Obama

Finally, perhaps the most surprising fact about Donald Trump that most people don't know is that he proudly and publicly stated he voted for Barack Obama.

After missing the primary election in 2012, Trump tweeted after the general election, "I always vote for the winners. Congratulations to My Friend @BarackObama." On September 19, 2015, a conservative blogger broke the news that Trump deleted the tweet about voting for Barack Obama, but that he had captured an earlier screen shot of the tweet.

2. Do Donald Trump's liberal positions on policy issues tell us how he would govern as president?

From talking with dozens of my friends in tea party and Christian circles, they like Trump because he is rhetorically willing to "take on the establishment" of the Republican Party.

But does this elevate form over substance? Can we assume that talking tough will translate into a commitment to conservative public policy? Do you know where Trump has stood for years on issues like abortion, taxes, same-sex marriage, and Obamacare before he decided to run for president?

Abortion:

During a national television interview in 1999, Trump stated, "Well, I'm very pro-choice. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debate the subject. But, you still, I just believe in choice."

Again in 1999, Trump stated to the Associated Press, "I believe it is a personal decision that should be left to the women and their doctors."

In his 2000 book, "The America We Deserve," Trump stated, "I support a woman's right to choose, but I am uncomfortable with the procedures." (The America We Deserve, pp. 31-32)

In 2011, Trump says he changed his mind on the issue but still today supports abortion in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother and said he supports "the good aspects" of funding Planned Parenthood.


Taxes:

Trump is no economic conservative and has for many years supported raising taxes and opposes a flat tax. He believes taxes should increase with income and opposes free trade more than any other candidate in either party except maybe Bernie Sanders. On one hand, Trump calls for lower taxes, but on the other, he proposed the largest tax increase in history.

Healthcare/Obamacare:

Trump unapologetically declares himself "liberal" on healthcare.

In "The America We Deserve," Trump writes, "I'm a conservative on most issues but a liberal on health . . . We must have universal healthcare."

While continually on the campaign trail to state that we have to get rid of Obamacare, he also supports a single-payer healthcare system. In place of Obamacare he promises "something terrific." However, Trump has not explained how his healthcare plan would differ from Obamacare.

Private Property:

On property rights, Trump is also liberal and has supported the abuse of eminent domain laws. He was very clear in his support for the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo v. New London decision saying, "I happen to agree with it 100 percent."

In Kelo, the Supreme Court ruled that private property could be taken by the government and redistributed to another private owner as long as it was deemed to be in the public's best interest as determined by the government.

Gay Rights:
 
Trump also favors new gay rights and homosexual marriage laws "that guaranteed same-sex couples equal legal rights as married, heterosexual couples." Trump opposed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the military's former policy banning openly gay service members.

Casino Gambling:

Donald Trump builds and owns casinos. In 2013, Trump's Taj Mahal casino in New Jersey was the first in the country to include a strip club, complete with "modified lap dancing" and a "male revue" for women. 

Four of Trump's casinos have gone bankrupt.

Trump's record of statements on specific policy issues gives no indication at all that he is a consistent conservative. On the contrary, he has taken many more liberal positions than he has conservative ones over the years.

3. Does Donald Trump have the kind of character and integrity that can be trusted?

As we saw with the international scandal and embarrassment of President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski, integrity and character matter.

The essence of character is being able to trust someone. A man of character is a man of his word. Character means you aren't constantly changing, and your actions and words are the same.

Based on his own record, there is a serious question as to whether or not we can trust Donald Trump.

Running as an Independent:

In the first GOP debate Trump was quick and clear that he would not rule out a third party or independent party run for president and would also not commit to supporting the Republican nominee.

Shortly thereafter, he changed his mind and publicly promised and "pledged" in writing he would only run as a Republican. Then in November of 2015 Trump threatened to change his mind again and break his promise by running for president as an independent if Republican Super PACS ran ads against him.

If Trump does run as a third party candidate, he would instantly become a spoiler for any Republican nominee; this would assuredly hand the election to Hillary Clinton by default and raises real concerns about his motive for running.

As a practical matter the polls are clear: out of all the Republican candidates a Trump nominee gives the greatest possible chance of losing the presidency to Hillary Clinton.

Trump's outrageous insults, double talk and baggage would surely destroy him in a general election. But what happens if he did win the general election and became the next president? What happens when the job is no longer fun? Would he just walk out and leave the job? Does he have the character to go the distance?

Comments About Women:

Finally, and perhaps most disturbing, Trump has a long history of vile and despicable comments about woman which are both morally reprehensible and will prove to be politically devastating if ever used against him in a general election by opponents.

In a 1991 interview with Esquire he said, "You know, it doesn't really matter what [the media] writes as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of a---"

In a 1992 interview with New Yorker Magazine he said, "You have to treat 'em like [expletive]" (New York magazine, Nov. 9, 1992)

In 2005 in his book "Trump Nation: The Art of being Donald," he said, "My favorite part [of 'Pulp Fiction'] is when Sam has his gun out in the diner and he tells the guy to tell his girlfriend to shut up. Tell that b---- to be cool. Say: 'B---- be cool.' I love those lines."

In 2006 on Entertainment Tonight he said, "If I were running The View, I'd fire Rosie. I mean, I'd look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I'd say, 'Rosie, you're fired.' We're all a little chubby, but Rosie's just worse than most of us."

In 2012 he called Bette Midler "grotesque" on Twitter.

In 2013 on a "Celebrity Apprentice" show Trump made a direct innuendo to oral sex on network television when he said to former Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick, "It must be a pretty picture. You dropping to your knees."

In 2015 on Twitter he called Arianna Huffington "a dog."

In 2015 in a Rolling Stone article, speaking about Carly Fiorina he said, "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?"
 
Based on his record, can we trust him?

Donald Trump has clearly hit a raw nerve with conservatives who are frustrated with Washington D.C. But Trump's politics and values are no different — and maybe worse — than most Washington politicians.

He is consistently inconsistent and flip flops regularly, contradicts himself often, and jumps on popular bandwagons.

He trashes Hillary Clinton today, but he praised her as a terrific hard worker in the last two election cycles, and hoped she'd get the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Today, he criticizes President Barack Obama, but in 2009, as Obama was overseeing the bailouts, Trump assessed the president this way:

"I would hire him [Obama]. He's handled the tremendous mess he walked into very well. He still has a daunting task ahead of him but he appears to be equal to the challenge … overall, I believe he's done a very good job."

Major support for Democrats. Voted for Barack Obama. Liberal on major policy issues. Still considering a third party run. Demeaning and degrading to women.

Is this really the kind of man we want to lead and represent America?


John Stemberger is an attorney and conservative leader based out of Orlando, Florida. He is a former Political Director of the Republican Party of Florida. He has a unique understanding of law, government, and the media from his extensive political background, and has been a consultant to state, federal, and presidential campaigns. For the past ten years Stemberger has served as President and General Counsel of Florida Family Action.


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Wednesday, 09 Dec 2015 11:45 AM
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