Is Donald Trump A Federalist Or A Republican?
If you are a student or Revolutionary War history or have read Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, it is reasonable to wonder whether Donald Trump is a “Federalist” or a “Republican”. Consider the possibilities.
Alexander Hamilton was a Federalist along with George Washington (Washington dislike partisan politics but supported Federalist policies) and John Adams. Federalists believed that a strong central government (at least compared to the “confederation” period) was key to America’s security and growth.
Republicans such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe worried that Federalists would seek to return the United States to a monarchy like in Britain. Republicans wanted to preserve States Rights by keeping the Federal Government relatively weak.
Republican leaders were concentrated in southern and agrarian States where an agrarian economy (which relied upon slave labor) existed. Republicans opposed any Federal measures to eliminate slaves or tax imported goods (import duties aided northern manufacturers allowing them to make and sell goods while it did nothing for southern farmers except raising the cost of many things they bought) In many regards, historians have said this difference of opinion amongst our founding fathers sowed the seeds of the Civil War. There seems to a similarity also with “States Rights” arguments we hear today.
Favoring a strong Federal government or demanding States Rights seems to be just which position benefits one the most.
Federalists tended to share a concern, if not disdain, for the common man. Hamilton and Adams understood how clever rhetoric could sway the common person to follow directions which would be in their self interest and not consider the good of the whole country.
Federalists, however, did not advocate a return to a monarchy as Republicans alleged. Rather, Federalists gave that impression because they were so convinced that their approach to governance was correct. Federalist became insensitive to the consequence to the southern landowner as a consequence of northern economic growth.
Donald Trump has shown a lot of old time “republicanism”. He has jumped in the gun owners corner decrying the Federal Governments encroachment. Trump thinks States are the best judge of what healthcare Americans should receive. And if his support will translate into votes, Trump is all for “religious freedom” where the faithful can discriminate at will.
On the other hand, Trump advocates for Federalist programs. His “wall” along the Mexican boarder and his immigration policies are based upon executive actions of a strong Federal Government. And, who can overlook Trump’s intentions to unilaterally withdraw from trade agreements and maybe even NATO based upon his chief executive judgements.
IMO, today’s States Rights advocates are basically Federalists who do not think they can get their way on specific issues. On those subjects (such as gay rights, religious freedom, taxation, healthcare, voting rights, women’s rights, and so on), these pseudo States Rights advocates have no problem cheering for Conservative majority Supreme Court decisions that are binding for the entire Country, but if the Court leans progressive, then its back to the States to figure out how to side step Court opinions.
So I would guess Trump is a Republican like Jefferson.
The incomprehensible part of this observation is that Donald Trump does not remind me in the least of Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison or Monroe.