Runaway Train

Yes, it’s a con. In the three weeks since Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee the remains of modern American conservatism have decayed at an alarming rate.

Three months ago, most GOP officeholders and conservative opinion leaders understood Trump to be an ignoramus and a boor, a vain reality-television star and a longtime donor to Democrats who had built his candidacy on the kind of progressive populism most of them had spent their careers fighting. Today, many of those same Republican elected officials and prominent conservatives are hailing Trump as the future of their party and the ideological movement it houses and excoriating anti-Trump conservatives who hold to the same position they took just a few weeks ago.

What's changed? Not Trump.

In the time since he effectively captured the GOP nomination, Trump has doubled down on his slanderous claim, borrowed from the National Enquirer, that Ted Cruz's father helped Lee Harvey Oswald months before the JFK assassination; refused to apologize for attacking Heidi Cruz's looks, once again calling her "fair game"; picked a fight with David Cameron, leader of America's longest-standing ally; distanced himself from his own tax plan; recommitted himself to releasing his tax returns and then declared defiantly that those returns are his private business and would not be released; backed off his proposal to ban temporarily entry to the United States for Muslims and then reiterated his support for such a ban; and, finally, lied on national television about a 1991 audio recording in which he created a fake persona—"John Miller," a made-up spokesman played by Trump himself—for an interview with a gossip magazine, in order to boast about his virility and his virtue.

Most striking, perhaps, was Trump's decision last week to abandon the promise at the heart of his unorthodox candidacy: that he would forgo political contributions in order to remain immune to the influence of political money. "I will tell you this," Trump said last fall. "Nobody's putting up millions of dollars for me. I'm putting up my own money." When donors contribute to a political campaign, Trump argued, they buy the candidates who accept their money. "Remember this: They have total control over Jeb and Hillary and everybody else that takes that money."

 Read more at The Weekly Standard

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