- - Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Prominent liberal Fareed Zakaria insists that Donald Trump “has been profoundly unconservative” because he’s abandoned what “Republicans used to call the core of their agenda — limited government.” But it’s hard to take the charge seriously, even though some conservatives have sent his piece around for comment to see if he’s onto something. Yet no politician in recent memory has restricted the reach of government at both the federal and state level more than the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Mr. Trump’s drastic shrinking of federal economic regulations, opening vast expanses of federal lands for energy exploration, drawing overseas businesses home with tax breaks and passing major tax cuts for corporations and individuals have generated an explosion of well-paying jobs, personal wealth and soaring wages, as well as the lowest level of unemployment for minorities on record. Some 7 million new jobs have been created during Mr. Trump’s presidency and more than 100 million American shareholders have watched the market jump 55 percent since his election.

You’d think Mr. Zakaria would be celebrating Mr. Trump’s low-tax, pro-growth economic agenda as not only core Republicanism but virtually Reaganesque. Increasing prosperity by stimulating market forces without enacting high taxes and big government programs is, of course, how conservatives try to keep government limited.

Mr. Zakaria concedes that Mr. Trump has delivered what conservatives have wanted in the realm of “social and cultural policy,” such as “appointing judges, tightening rules related to abortion and asylum, etc.” but suggests they have little to do with taming the Leviathan.

Really? Stacking the courts with judges steeped in the philosophy of federalism is, of course, precisely the way to limit government on both the economic and cultural fronts. Mr. Zakaria may ignore the threat, but Democratic Party presidential candidates, along with their media support groups, are panicked over the president’s court selections.

The Washington Post is so alarmed that it headlined its recent lead story “Trump’s judiciary impact expands Young appointees ensure rightward tilt for decades.” Sen. Amy Klobachar, Minnesota Democrat, a top-tier presidential candidate, pronounced that should Mr. Trump be ousted in 2020, the new Democratic president would “have to immediately” fill existing vacancies “to reverse the horrific nature of these Trump judges.”

States in Republican hands are passing laws to protect freedoms that Democratic politicians, judges and justices are eager to eliminate. On the stump, the party’s presidential hopefuls are pledging that if they win the White House, laws limiting the killing of babies leaving the womb alive will be a thing of the past while seizing guns from law abiding citizens may be a thing of the future.

They also threaten to confiscate a family’s life-time of savings (the wealth tax), place severe curbs on our religious liberties (by removing tax exemptions from churches) and punish those who may tolerate but refuse to celebrate exotic sexual lifestyles.

University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, a staunch supporter of gay marriage, points out in an interview in National Review that House Democrats have just approved the Equality Act, which, if passed into law, means that religious schools “would be heavily regulated with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Under this bill, a religious doctor may be required to perform gender-reassignment surgery and give hormonal treatments to those desiring to transition to a different sex. “It goes very far to stamp out religious exemptions” that currently exist, Mr. Laycock tells National Review, and religious schools would probably be viewed as “public accommodations,” even if they refuse all federal funding.

“Would the Equality Act require almost all religious and public schools,” Mr. Laycock was asked, “to give transgender students the right to compete on the sports teams of their preference and full access to bathrooms, showers, locker-rooms of their preference?” “Probably,” he responded.

Reviewing several cases that the U.S. Supreme Court has narrowly decided in favor of religious believers, columnist Hugh Hewitt thanked the President for choosing justices siding with those “protecting religious liberty.” The stakes are immense, as Mr. Hewitt notes, since the high court will make rulings this session that “will affect tens of thousands of faith-based schools.”

Without conservatives on the courts, the Democrats are also likely to open the gates to a new flood of illegal immigrants, seeing as how they favor what can only be described as “open border” policies, which Mr. Zakaria regards as just some “immigration and asylum” or “cultural” issue. No, it is clearly an economic, law and order and limited government issue. Many states are being overwhelmed financially by illegals who are findng their way onto their welfare rolls and into jail cells and malignant gangs.

President Trump has been filling the courts — including the U.S. Supreme Court and the crucial appellate courts — at such a clip that even if he loses next year, the courts will be in a strong position to block Democrats at all levels of government from emasculating the states as defenders of our freedoms. Which is why the limited-government crowd will likely vote Republican in 2020, despite Fareed Zakaria’s energetic effort to convince them otherwise.

Allan H. Ryskind, a former editor and owner of Human Events, is the author of “Hollywood Traitors” (Regnery, 2015).

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