Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is now the presumptive GOP nominee since his last opponents for the nomination, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, have left the race.
But now that the billionaire New York businessman has become the GOP nominee many in his party are seeking to distance themselves from him and claim that Trump does not represent Republican values.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska is raising the idea of a third-party candidate to compete with Trump and most likely former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the general election race.
Some Republicans seek to blame the media for Trump’s rise.
But the simple fact is that Republican leaders, and particularly Trump’s rivals, were reluctant until it was too late to take him on for his xenophobic and misogynist remarks.
While his style may be more brash and unorthodox, some of Trump’s extreme positions are not that different from what conservatives have been saying for decades.
Trump was not the first Republican to propose building a wall on the border with Mexico. With major Republican backing, Congress passed the Secure the Fence Act of 2006 which authorized the construction of hundreds of miles of additional fencing along the nation’s southern border.
In a press conference in March, President Barack Obama was right to note that Republican rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are not that different from Trump when it comes to immigration and other issues.
“It’s not as if there’s a massive difference between Mr. Trump’s position on immigration,” Obama told reporters. “Mr. Trump just may be more provocative in how he says it, but the actual positions aren’t that different. For that matter, they’re not that different from Mr. Rubio’s positions on immigration. Despite the fact that their families are the products of immigration and the openness of our society.”
Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States is the logical outcome of some conservative’s views. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has long advocated for heavy surveillance of Muslim communities and more ethnic and religious profiling of Muslims.
Cruz advocated for increased surveillance of Muslim communities during the campaign.
Trump has labeled China a currency manipulator and has proposed polices that many economists say could spark a trade war. But former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney advocated for something similar when he ran in 2012.
During the 2012 campaign, Romney said: “On day one, I will label China a currency manipulator, which will allow me as president to be able to put in place, if necessary, tariffs where I believe that they are taking unfair advantage of our manufacturers.”
Trump position may be more populist sounding than most mainstream establishment Republican conservatives but on many key issues the positions are not that far apart. Trump’s positions are not outside the mainstream of today’s Republican Party.