I am a liberal, but I have a lot of respect for principled and thoughtful conservatives. On many issues, reasonable and intelligent people, whether right, left, or center, often agree on a course of action that works well for the vast majority of people.
Donald Trump, however, is not a conservative, nor is he a liberal or a centrist. He is a demagogue, which means that he uses people’s fears to sell them simplistic and unworkable solutions that appeal to the uninformed masses, such as building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and getting Mexico to pay for it! He uses American fears on the economy to attack free trade, a trademark policy of Ronald Regan. He uses American fears of a complex world in conflict to attack international democratization, a trademark policy of George W. Bush.
Trump’s only substantial attacks on Hillary Clinton in his acceptance speech were on the policies of international “nation-building and regime change”, “amnesty” on illegal immigration, and “trade deals”: all policies strongly supported by George W. Bush (although he could not sell his “amnesty” policy to his own party).
In his speech, Trump made a meaningless gesture towards the LGBT community by saying that he would defend them against ISIL, but he said nothing about defending them against the much more imminently dangerous homophobic policies of the party nominating him. He also said that he wants to involve Israel in the fight against ISIS (his only reference to Israel in the speech), showing that he does not understand (or more likely, does not care about) the dynamics of the Middle East.
The possibility that Trump could win the U.S. presidency does not seem nearly as laughable today as it did when he first announced his candidacy to the Republican nomination. He managed to rally enough of the Republican base to achieve a hostile takeover of the GOP that left many true conservatives reeling, such as Daniel Pipes who quit the party as a result of Trump’s nomination.
Trump fully intends to perform the same hostile takeover on America, which he repeatedly tells us is not great. He is gunning for Bernie Sanders’ supporters, and he referred approvingly to Sanders twice in his acceptance speech.
Clinton is more conservative than Trump. She is also more liberal and more centrist than him. Trump, however, is very pro-Trump, and that’s all he is. He says whatever can get him elected, but no one knows what he would actually do if elected because unlike Clinton, he has never served in elected office one day in his life. It is highly likely that if elected, his top priority would not be America but securing a second term through any means possible.
Trump was able to fool most Republicans into supporting him by appealing to the base instincts of the most uninformed and the most bigoted. Now the question is whether he will perform the same trick on America.