On Tuesday night, Texas senator and constitutional conservative Ted Cruz suspended his presidential campaign after placing second in the Indiana Primary. Ohio Governor John Kasich, the son of a mailman who was in fourth place in a three-man race, surprised everyone when he announced on Wednesday he was suspending his campaign. This despite the fact that Kasich said after the Indiana Primary that he would remain in the race until someone reached 1,237 or until the GOP convention in July, whichever came first.
As the final candidate remaining from the previously crowded 17-person Republican presidential field, New York billionaire Donald Trump is now the presumptive GOP nominee. The number of candidates remaining in the field isn’t the only change to happen today. Now that he is the final candidate with the way paved for him to be the GOP nominee, Donald Trump has flip-flopped on two huge issues, including one that has been the bedrock of his claim that he was different and could not be “bought and paid for.”
In a stunning flip-flop on campaign finance, Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he will not be self-funding his campaign for the general election.
After spending months stating over and over again that he was self-funding his campaign, adding that all of his opponents were puppets of special interest groups and big money donors, bought and paid for with the money being infused into super PACs supporting their campaigns as part of a “corrupt system,” Trump announced that he will be opening his Rolodex, calling his wealthy friends, and creating a “world-class finance organization.”
Trump bragged during the primary that he had rich friends who wanted to donate money to his campaign, but he refused to accept as he continued to push the notion that taking big money from individuals and special interests makes you a puppet and “bought and paid for.” It looks like Cruz leaving the race completely changed his stance against not only accepting money from large donors but also accepting money from a super PAC.
In addition to calling on his wealthy buddies for money to fund his general election campaign, which is expected to cost $1 billion, Trump will also be supported by a super PAC, the very type of group that he demonized for the last 10 months.
The self-described outsider will also begin joint fundraising with the Republican National Committee.
The second major flip-flop by Trump is one that perhaps he has done in order to appeal to Bernie Sanders’ supporters, who he believes he can win over to his side. When asked by CNN whether he would support an increase in the federal minimum wage, Trump replied, “I’m looking at that, I’m very different from most Republicans.” He added, “You have to have something you can live on.”
This is a major shift from his statement during a debate in November when he made it clear, at least for that time and audience, that he did not support the federal government forcing an increase in the minimum wage. At the time, Trump claimed, “I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is.”
Also in November, Trump reiterated his opposition to the government increasing the minimum wage, during an appearance on MSNBC.
“We have to become competitive with the world. Our taxes are too high, our wages are too high, everything is too high,” he said. “What’s going to happen is now people are going to start firing people.”
Again, it looks like all it took for Trump to flip-flop was being left unchallenged as the last man standing on the Republican side of the aisle in the presidential race. These major changes, again, were revealed less than 24 hours after Ted Cruz left the race.
Many will be asking if this is a case of flip-flopping or of Trump finally revealing positions that he knew would be unpopular for him as he tried to sell supporters on his “conservatism.”
In the end, will these two huge flip-flops make any difference to Trump supporters?
Will he be able to convince them that, suddenly, accepting large donations and being supported by a super PAC doesn’t make you a bought and paid for puppet? Will he be able to convince them to now support the “Fight for $15” progressive protesters?
Since Trump himself said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose support, these major flip-flops likely won’t mean a thing to Trump’s supporters. They’ll find a way to explain it away. After all, “Mr. Trump” knows best…or something.