Votes always have been for sale. Not all votes, but a lot of them. Some people have the principles to reject offers of “free government stuff” in exchange for their support on Election Day, but many don’t.
These votes have been the bread and butter of the Democratic Party for decades, but more and more the Republican Party has been swimming in those waters. It is a dumb play. No Republican will ever out-bid a Democrat.
Say what you will about George W. Bush, but he wasn’t a conservative. Remember “No Child Left Behind?” It meant more government involvement in education, and it was written with Ted Kennedy, but Democrats still complained it didn’t spend enough. Bush caved to the concept, but it wasn’t enough because no amount is ever enough for Democrats.
Bush’s Medicare prescription drug benefit spends billions per year for something the private sector could provide more efficiently because the call went out – there was a problem among a small segment of senior citizens and government had to “do something” to address it.
With the government, the solution almost always is worse than the problem. That’s because Washington uses a shotgun for a sniper mission. Like Obamacare, which, in the name of “doing something” about the handful of Americans who were chronically uninsured, created a law that has affected everyone – most for the worse.
But the question that is never asked by people who aren’t conservative is whether the sniper mission should take place at all.
Here’s a simple idea: If you can’t afford to have a kid, don’t. Getting pregnant is as easy to avoid as being hit by a train. If you don’t want to be hit by a train, don’t play on the tracks. It’s not going to chase you through a field, or into your house. If you don’t want to get pregnant…
If that’s a bridge too far, there are plenty of options available to prevent it from happening. It’s no one else’s fault if you aren’t responsible enough to handle that, and it’s no one else’s responsibility if you fail to.
So when Donald Trump proposed his plan for paid maternity leave this week, he wasn’t putting forth a conservative plan; he was trying to buy votes from women, a demographic with which he’s doing poorly.
But he’s offering our money to buy those votes, and he’s still putting forth only a half of a progressive loaf.
Once a person buys into the progressive concept that this, or anything, is something the federal government should “do something” about, you’ve lost the battle. Conservatism has lost.
Why would anyone who supports the concept of a government entitlement support Trump’s plan over Hillary’s? Trump offers less, in both time and money, than what Clinton is proposing. But how much it costs and who pays for it are irrelevant to those who support the concept. Those who want the government to provide them with benefits don’t give a damn what it costs or whether the money comes from tax hikes, tax credits or a magic unicorn – they just know they’re getting “free stuff” and that’s enough.
Trump ceded the point to Hillary. He agreed the federal government has to “do something” about this. And in spite of whining from supporters or spin from a sycophantic Sean Hannity, it’s neither smart politics or remotely conservative.
Women who don’t like Trump aren’t going to vote for him because he’s offering six weeks of paid maternity leave. If that’s the key to their vote, Hillary’s plan offers more – and if that is the kind of issue that motivates a voter, she probably was going to get that vote anyway.
The New York Times immediately declared Trump’s plan “miniscule,” Cosmopolitan demanded to know why it didn’t apply to men. Some is not enough because nothing is ever enough to those outlets and their readers.
If someone cares about what they get, they’re going to vote for the person who will give them more. No one will ever out-bid a Democrat because Democrats bid with other people’s money and have no concern for the constitutionality or cost – financially and societally – of what they propose.
That Trump bought into this concept at the prodding of his daughter, Ivanka – a lifelong Democrat who didn’t even change her party ID to be able to vote for her father in the New York primary – shows he’s a progressive, not a conservative.
Progressives are generally thought of as Democrats, but many are Republicans. They believe the power of government can and should be used to change society to what they deem it should be. John McCain is a progressive Republican, and Trump is in that same mold. No, they don’t agree on everything, but they agree in concept that using government power to change the behavior of individuals is valid.
The tax code is a prime example. Part of Trump’s plan calls for tax credits and subsidies – a progressive concept Republicans all too often advance. “Live how we think is best for you, do what we deem ‘good,’ and you can keep more of your own money.” That’s not conservative. That’s subtle government control.
It’s a nudge to get people to act in a government-approved way. “You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, but if you do you get to keep more of what you earn…”
Tax credits are the most widely used instrument of progressive government control, but right behind are entitlements. Trump’s plan marries the two in a naked play for votes.
You can tell yourself Donald Trump offering half versions of Democratic Party plans is a smart election ploy all you want, but don’t fool yourself into thinking it is or that it will work. Or that it is in any way conservative.