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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Donald Trump has become the epitome of the un-Republican

It could be argued that if you really want to offend a person, compare them to someone else.

Doing so wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if the association is to an individual with a great reputation. Being called a Ronald Reagan clone, for example, would engender warm fuzzy feelings in most cases – at least Donald Trumpwhere conservatives are concerned. Likewise, quipping that an acquaintance is just like Adolf Hitler will make a quick enemy – and might even get you into a fistfight.

So when someone in the media says President Donald Trump is becoming just like other Republicans, is it a compliment or an insult?

Joe Cunningham wrote at RedState the other day, “Donald Trump is seeking the approval of the Democrats and their allies in the media by actively working with the Democrats in Congress to get things done. That is a plausible theory not just because his ego is the type of ego that would inevitably seek out this kind of spotlight, but because it is the same mentality that has corrupted Republicans before…

“It is just as likely, if not more likely, that Trump is just returning to his ideological roots now that he has the power and the prestige that he has always wanted. That would sting his base even more, because they will have been the victims of the ultimate lie: The very man, the longshot president, who was supposed to win the day for them has done more in eight months to destroy their cause than the GOP Establishment has in the last eight years.”

In the balance of his post Cunningham doesn’t just insinuate Trump is starting to act like other Republicans, he comes right out and says it’s so. The RedState writer effectively asserts Trump is such a narcissistic attention-seeking glory hog that he’s falling into the same trap many prominent Republicans have tumbled into in the past – trying to work with the opposition party so as to appear “bipartisan” and gain favorable coverage from the Democrat-loving establishment media.

In essence, Cunningham is claiming Trump is so basic and dimwitted that he cares more about what the elites think of him than he does about making America great again.

As if that weren’t serious enough, Cunningham then recycles the typical #NeverTrump line of argument where Trump is really just a clandestine liberal and he’s only bursting out of the closet now to expose his true ideological (and party) leanings because he’s safely residing in the White House for at least three and a half more years and hence can’t be touched.

Trump really fooled everyone during last year’s campaign, didn’t he? That Trump -- he’s such a kidder.

It’s an interesting theory and #NeverTrump commentators do need topics to write on these days; with the American economy swimming along and people much happier with the direction of the country it wouldn’t make sense for the Trump-bashers to credit the president for any of the good things. No, #NeverTrumpers must find fault in everything Trump does or says or else they might be compelled to look elsewhere for blame when something goes awry – and their buddies in the Republican establishment wouldn’t like it if they were put under too much scrutiny for their failure to get anything “big” accomplished.

But could Cunningham really be on to something with his comparison? By claiming Trump is just like other spineless past Republicans who became dupes to the Washington spotlight (by seeking out the approval of the Democrat elite ruling class), has Cunningham solved the mystery that is Donald Trump the politician?

Hardly; there are few tangible signs Trump is giving in to the romantic overtures of the Washington establishment. And as far as sucking up to the Democrats and media just to gain their adoration -- Trump is already famous enough and couldn’t care a lick whether the fake news industry likes him or not. Isn’t that abundantly evident from his tweets on the subject?

If anything, Trump’s recent maneuvers towards the Democrats on the debt ceiling and DACA probably indicate the president is betting the conservative/populist Republican base will give him a little space to negotiate the best deal.

In that sense, Trump isn’t at all like other Republicans.

Jordan Fabian and Jonathan Easley reported in The Hill, “Trump once bragged that his supporters are so loyal, he could shoot someone in the street and he would not lose support. Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said Trump’s proposed DACA deal would put that notion to the test.

“’Donald Trump would have been better off going onto Fifth Avenue and shooting someone,’ said Stein, whose group favors lower levels of both legal and illegal immigration. ‘He said his base wouldn’t care if he did that. The base cares about this.’

“Stein speculated the president might be ‘convinced that dealing on DACA will win him new supporters’ who could help him win in 2020.”

As someone who’s observed Trump since the beginning of his political career, I don’t think the consummate showman is doing all of this to try and win over his enemies. Democrats and hard core leftists can’t be reasoned with, bargained with or cajoled; further, they know they cannot succeed with Trump in office. Trump himself understands this.

Therefore it could be with all this DACA business that Trump is simply running a political diversion. By overtly and repeatedly talking about how much he loves and respects DACA recipients and then inviting the Democrat leaders to eat with him at the White House to hash over the matter, Trump has all-but removed the media focus on conservatives in Congress who are working hard behind the scenes to put together real proposals to deal with the illegal immigration problem according to his campaign promises.

It’s a ploy -- make it look like you’re supporting the opposition when you’re really aiding your friends; it’s brilliant.

It’s kind of like the scene from the movie Braveheart when the elder Robert the Bruce (the leper) tells his son, “We will embrace this rebellion. You will support it from our lands in the north while I gain English favor by condemning it, and ordering it opposed from our lands in the south.”

Is it possible to be for and against something simultaneously? No; but you can make it look like you are if you’re clever enough.

Trump could be making it appear as though something is true in order to provide cover for his genuine intentions – to keep his promise to the base by solving the illegal alien issue once and for all. By openly declaring his fondness for the children of illegal border crossers Trump appears humanitarian and moderate to the public. And by snuggling up to a class of people who may or may not be responsible for their own residency status Trump can’t be labeled as a bigot or a heartless dictator by the Democrats and the media because he’s demonstrating that he sees both sides of a sticky situation.

That’s what mediators do. Donald Trump, mediator in chief.

Using effective political strategy is also very un-GOP-like. So much for arguing he’s like all Republicans. Many in the party nearly lost it last week when Trump acted on DACA. Did it do any good?

Byron York of the Washington Examiner likens it to Trump panic syndrome. “[T]he whole episode changed pretty much nothing. Anyone who followed Trump during the campaign knows he is headed toward some sort of accommodation for DACA recipients. And anyone who follows the Trump administration and Congress knows there will be showdowns on Capitol Hill over the wall and other border security and enforcement measures. That is where the DACA issue stood before the freakout of Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and that is where the issue stood afterward.

“All that panic for nothing.”

It’s true; a lot of people said things (via Twitter and otherwise) in the heat of the moment that could be very damaging to their relationship with the president. It just goes to show that placing too much emphasis on what Nancy Pelosi or the media says about something is a dangerous proposition.

President Trump is the only one who knows for sure where he stands. His advisers and adversaries can give him advice and political commentators can add their two cents as well, but in the end it’s Trump who will set the outlines of policy and ask Republicans in Congress to go along or come up with ideas of their own.

Unlike Obama, Trump didn’t sign an executive order instructing federal law enforcement agencies to stop applying the law. During his two terms in office Obama set policy as though he were his own executive, legislative and judicial branch rolled up into one.

Donald Trump is doing things differently; he’s upset the Washington status quo and people are responding to it. Trump’s moves may look strange from a conventional standpoint but it’s clear there’s more to him than meets the eye. In that sense, he’s very un-Republican-like indeed.

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