Trump, Carson and Fiorina Lack True Conservative Credentials

Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina Courtesy AP Images

2015 has become the "Year of the Outsider" in the GOP presidential race. First came the audacious and outspoken media mogul Donald Trump. Ben Carson, the subdued neurosurgeon who embodies the American Dream, followed suit. Now, former CEO and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina has galvanized the polls.

These candidates, without a lick of experience in elected office, have taken positions one, two and three in the polls -- their support adds up to 52.1 percent in the Real Clear Politics polling data average.

At a time when the Republican-dominated House and Senate seem unable to stop an overreaching liberal president, conservatives have a right to be angry, and many of them are demanding change come from outside Washington, D.C. But these candidates don’t just lack political experience -- they lack true conservative credentials.

Donald Trump, Crony Capitalist

The real estate magnate and media mogul has rightly drawn attention to the issue of illegal immigration, but when it comes to fiscal policy and the rule of law, he is no conservative. Donald Trump has built his fortune -- the part he didn’t inherit from his father -- by making deals with the government to kick out his competition.

“Trump became ‘partners’ with the City of New York to build a hotel in the 1970s -- a deal that involved a 40-year property-tax abatement that saved him ‘tens of millions of dollars,’” explained National Review’s Robert VerBruggen. This “tax abatement” proves no different than a government subsidy, not unlike the millions of dollars the Obama administration gave to the failing solar company Solyndra.

In the 1990s, Trump petitioned the government of Connecticut to condemn five Bridgeport businesses so that he could use the land to build “a $350 million combined amusement park, shipping terminal and seaport village and office complex,” reported Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell. Would Trump no longer be considered a “winner” if it was well-known that Connecticut refused him on this?

Trump also lost out on using eminent domain to buy an Atlantic City woman out of her home to build a parking lot and waiting area for his hotel’s limousines. As Kirell noted, “the widow refused to sell her property, so Trump spent years under the guise of ‘eminent domain’ trying to get the government to pry the woman’s land for his private use.”

As Richard Anderson explained on Ricochet, the key element of Trump’s crony capitalism is regulation. “The more regulated a sector, the easier it becomes to run to Washington, or the state capitals, with requests for special waivers, preferences, and deferrals,” Anderson explained. As the government gets bigger and regulations become more complex, businesses are required to navigate the system, bribing their way to success in the market.

Needless to say, conservatives do not believe in allowing government -- and by extension those who bribe government officials -- this much control. They support private property rights and favor a more restrained use of political power. Even if Trump had not supported single payer healthcare in the past, or identified as a Democrat, or given to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and foundation, etc., he still should be an unacceptable choice to free market conservatives.

In the latest presidential debate, Trump was asked about his comment that when he gives money to elected officials,“they do whatever the hell you want them to do.” His response? “You’d better believe it.” Rampant corruption? Sign me up.

Ben Carson, Political Novice

Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon raised in the Detroit ghetto, has a truly inspiring story of achieving the American Dream. He speaks slowly, clearly and respectfully, with all the deference that Trump lacks. These are, alas, his only political virtues.

Carson speaks about his faith, the virtue of his mother and the errors of President Obama. Unfortunately, his talking points are very sparse on policy. The neurosurgeon seems to be running not so much on a political platform, but on his own personal appeal.

The Blaze’s Matt Walsh critiqued the hint of policy proposals Dr. Carson has put forth and found them wanting.

“I like that he’s pro-life, but he’s also been very confusing on the subject,” Walsh explained. Carson has often suggested that some women “avail themselves” of the abortion pill. “He’s also admitted that in his medical practice he did research on an aborted child and referred women to doctors who perform abortions.”

While Carson supports a flat tax, “he really won’t talk about entitlement spending at all.” Carson’s tax reform would bring in less money than the system needs. Walsh, like most conservatives, supports reform to shrink the size of government, but Carson has said nothing on the subject.

Foreign policy may be Carson’s most obvious weakness. When asked about the root cause of strife in the Middle East, he traced it back to “Jacob and Esau,” not Isaac and Ishmael -- the two figures who generally represent Jews and Arabs -- and not the establishment of the Jewish state. Carson also did not know that the Baltic states -- Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia -- are already part of NATO.