As Donald Trump continues to lead the GOP race for President, one of the more interesting pieces of his success has been his ability to take positions that normally would be heretical to many candidates inside the Republican Party, from taxes to abortion, health care and more.
That at times checkered record on certain Republican causes may be a prime point of contention as GOP candidates for President gather at the Ronald Reagan Library in California on Wednesday night.
“He has changed his mind on amnesty, on health care and on abortion,” said Carly Fiorina at the first debate, as she questioned the basics of Trump’s beliefs.
“He was a liberal before he was a conservative,” Rand Paul has repeatedly argued, citing Trump’s support for a single payer system – but even with details to back up that contention, it hasn’t helped Paul or others so far.
Jeb Bush and his team have also been trying to tie Trump to the Democrats at any chance they get.
But none of it seems to slow Trump, who probably enjoys the fact that he can run against Washington, run against President Obama and run against the Republican Congress.
All at the same time.
For example, Trump has expressed support for ending the “carried interest” loophole often used by hedge funds to reduce their taxes, using it as a club against big money supporters of both Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.
That has been championed mainly by Democrats in the Congress, not the GOP leadership.
Trump has denounced excessive CEO salaries, most recently this past weekend on CBS’s Face the Nation.
You don’t hear that too often from Republicans in the Congress.
Trump has been cool to the idea of an effort to defund Planned Parenthood.
For some in the GOP, that’s a big enough issue to force a possible government shutdown in order to find a remedy.
And then there is Trump’s record of giving campaign donations to Democrats:
For his backers – it just doesn’t matter. Just imagine if another Republican in the race had given money to Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, John Kerry, Harry Reid and others on the Democratic side – they would not survive – but Trump prospers.
It is really something to watch – as Trump plays outside the lines of the usual political campaign rules.
Trump though certainly has beliefs on a number of issues that are anathema to Democrats, like his big push on illegal immigration, which remains a major issue for staunch GOP voters.
Stir all those things together, and you can mold Trump into a hybrid, bipartisan populist, who can draw on outrage in both political parties.
No matter the details of what Trump believes, or where he sits on the political spectrum, it has not damaged his standing within the ranks of GOP voters.
Trump has a chance to further solidify his lead in the GOP race in Wednesday’s second Republican debate; I’ll be there for all the coverage this week.