Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaking at a Dec. 12 town hall meeting in the Convocation Center on the University of South Carolina. (Richard Shiro/AP)
Donald Trump is one of the most extreme presidential candidates to gain widespread support in contemporary American politics. Despite championing policies like the end of birthright citizenship, mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, and a registry of Muslims living in the United States, Trump has consistently polled atop the Republican field since July. A popular perspective thus attributes Trump’s success to a “right wing fringe” of GOP voters.
But this conventional wisdom misses something important: Trump meets the textbook definition of an ideological moderate.