Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has spent the last few months of the campaign arguing for conservative alternatives to big government “solutions” on tax policy, healthcare, criminal justice reform and more. However, the Senator hasn’t been able to gain much traction in his battle to win the GOP nomination, and much of that has to do with Donald Trump’s meteoric rise in the polls. Over the last couple of weeks this reality has forced Paul to shift his focus and aim some of his focus on Donald Trump himself in an effort to stay relevant in the race. Several of Senator Paul’s attacks have landed, while Trump has brushed others aside with ease (even landing a few of his own counter-punches in the process). Perhaps the one attack that Senator Paul seems to be using the most adeptly is the argument that Trump has proven not to be a conservative because he is willing to misuse government power whenever he can… like that time he used the government to steal Vera Coking’s private property.
In America, we still have various forms of favoritism and cronyism. Big business routinely takes the property of small landowners.
Just ask Vera Coking who lived in the same house for thirty years.
Ask Vera how she felt when Donald Trump enlisted the government to try and take her house.
What was so pressing that Trump needed to use government power to try to force an elderly widow from her own home? He desperately wanted Vera’s land to build a parking lot for limos adjacent to his casino.
In an article at National Review on the case, Robert Verbruggen said of Trump, “This man has a track record of using the government as a hired thug to take other people’s property.”
When Vera refused to sell, Trump used his puppets in the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to force her out.
She fought back in court and won.
Fortunately for Vera, this was before the Kelo vs. New London property rights case, which conservatives condemn — but of course Trump celebrates.
In the Kelo case, the government seized 87-year-old widow Wilhelmina Derry’s house, which had been in her family for over 100 years. She was born in that house in 1918.
Wilhelmina and several of her neighbors objected when a bully corporation used the government to take her land and her house.
Ultimately the Supreme Court allowed the local government to take her home and give it to a big corporation on the pretext that property rights should be distributed to whatever entity promises to pay the most taxes.
A decade and half after they took Wilhelmina’s house, the lot where her home once stood still lies vacant. The big corporation never ended up building what they had promised.
Conservatives across the country roundly and justly condemned the Kelo Decision. Justice O’Connor, in her dissent quoted Calder v. Bull in arguing that “an act of the legislature contrary to the great first principles of the social compact cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority.”
O’Connor went on to argue that the Court was abandoning this long held principle:
“Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded–i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public–in the process. To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property render economic development takings ‘for public use’ is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property–and thereby effectively to delete the words “for public use” from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.”
O’Connor lamented “the beneficiaries [of these transfers of ownership] are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process.”
Justice O’Connor didn’t name him, but she was referring to people like Donald Trump – a man who contributes large sums to both parties to curry favor, so when it comes time for government to take property he wants, they will do it.
Or in the exact words of Donald Trump: “Exactly, whatever the hell I tell them to do.”
O’Connor anticipated this crony capitalism when she wrote, “As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more.” “The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result,” O’Connor added.
Trump said of the Kelo decision, “I happen to agree with it 100%”–emphasizing that he completely agreed with the government taking property by eminent domain.
I know of no real conservative in America who agrees with the Kelo decision.
Kelo, though, fits perfectly with Donald Trump’s philosophy: Roll into town. Over-promise great job creation. Convince the local government to use eminent domain to force property owners to give up their land. Build massive hotels and casinos. Go belly up. Flee bankruptcy in the middle of the night leaving creditors high and dry. Simply ignore the property owners you evicted from their homes and their land.
Real conservatives oppose crony capitalism. Real conservatives loathe eminent domain abuse.
Donald Trump is a fake conservative who abuses property rights for his own personal financial gain and then leaves others to clean up the mess.
America, don’t be fooled. Republicans learn the truth. We need a true conservative.