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How Trump Is Winning Over Conservatives Without the Bona Fides

No one plays the music of conservatism better than Trump, which allows him to make crowds go wild without mentioning issues like taxes, the deficit, profligate spending, or abortion.

“Keep dropping the truth bomb!” someone in the crowd yelled as Donald Trump arrived at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, New Hampshire, this weekend. For nearly an hour, the crowd cheered him on, applauding with particular gusto when he went after political correctness, politicians who use teleprompters, and his shorter rival Rand Paul: “I’ve had him up to here,” he said, holding his hand up as high as his chest.

Yet very little of what the conservatives in the hall were going wild over could be characterized as conservative, and most of it wasn’t political at all: The 54-minute address included zero mentions of taxes, the deficit, profligate spending, abortion, or any social issue, unless you count his inscrutable promise to “help on women’s health issues more than anybody, including on the Democratic side, you watch.” Or his put-down of the University of New Hampshire’s unofficial new “bias-free language guide.” “They don’t want you to differentiate between a man and a woman! If that ever passed,” Trump said, “I’m gone.”