At a press conference Wednesday, Republican nominee Donald Trump said he was in favor of raising the federal minimum wage to at least $10 an hour.
“The minimum wage has to go up,” Trump said. “At least $10, but it has to go up. But I think that states should really call the shots.”
When asked specifically if he was referring to the federal wage, Trump affirmed that he was.
This proposal was mostly lost in the bigger news of the day (which came from the same press conference): Trump’s overtures to Russia and his joke about having their hackers cough up Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. But to conservatives who have concerns about Trump’s ideological beliefs, his minimum wage endorsement was a much more worrisome issue.
Trump’s not unaware of this, by the way. In an interview with Bill O’Reilly the previous night, he conceded: “I know it’s not very Republican to say.”
In the grand scheme of things, there’s no reason for conservative voters to start hitting the panic button. As it’s been said a million times, this election comes down to a binary choice: Trump or Hillary. The latter has come out in favor of a $12 federal minimum wage and her party has officially added a $15 an hour wage to the DNC platform. So even if you’re not thrilled to hear the Republican nominee advocate such a position, it’s not like we’re choosing between Trump and William F. Buckley, here.
And frankly, it’s time we got comfortable with the guy we chose. Trump isn’t a conservative, and he’s made that clear from the first day of his campaign. Yes, many of his positions are conservative, but he’s not a guy like Ted Cruz where you can go down the checklist and tick off all the boxes. He’s an individual, and some of his positions are as liberal as any you’ll see in the other party. Not many, but they’re there. Go read Weekly Standard or National Review or RedState; they’ll be more than happy to point them out for you.
But in the end, these things are trivial. Conservatives don’t have to automatically embrace everything Trump proposes, and neither does the Republican Party. The important thing is winning this election, keeping a crook out of the White House, and ending the long nightmare that has been the Democrat-controlled presidency. If it takes a couple of liberal-populist ideas to get us there, we’ll be all right. Just look at the alternative and breathe a sigh of relief.