Donald Trump is performing conservatism. He is doing it very, very poorly.
In an interview today with Chris Matthews for an MSNBC town hall, after attempting to explain away his campaign manager being charged with assault, Trump told Matthews that “there has to be some sort of punishment” for women who have an abortion.
He followed that up by saying that men should not be held responsible for abortions, and that, if Roe v. Wade were reversed — banning abortion — "you'll go back to a position like they had where people will, perhaps, go to illegal places” (i.e., A VERY BAD TIME FOR WOMEN/PEOPLE), but "you have to ban it” anyway.
This is not standard anti-abortion parlance, except by misogynists, among them Donald Trump. But this is also Trump attempting to interpret what he, a non-conservative New Yorker, believes conservatives in red states believe.
If conservatives in red states hate abortion, Trump will hate it the absolute most, and Trump will punish women who have abortions because they are bad.
If conservatives in red states love Jesus Christ, Trump will love Jesus more than anyone has ever loved Jesus, and Trump will blow up the White House and put in a giant statue of Jesus holding a lamb while waving at passersby.
Trump believes that conservatives in red states hate minorities and atheists and love torture and strongmen and walls. If Trump believed that conservatives in red states loved Saved by the Bell, he would probably announce a plan to force the cast to reunite and assume their prior roles for the rest of eternity. Imagine if Donald Trump had run as a Democrat — he’d be promising to personally get every single child in America through Yale.
Donald Trump is not a conservative. Donald Trump is casting himself in the role of “conservative,” likely based on what he has seen on television of those people over there in the cities and states in which he does not and would never live. Most important, Donald Trump believes that conservatives are very, very stupid.
Donald Trump does not believe in “conservatism” as a concept or as an idea. He believes in conservatism because so far it has gotten him the closest to holding power over the American people. Donald Trump believes that if he just acts the part, like how one might try to bullshit their way through English class by reading the first five pages of the book and constantly referring back to those five pages, he’ll fool the entire Republican Party.
And, apparently, he’s correct.