Vowing to recapture some of the enthusiasm his campaign has lost over the past few weeks, Sen. Rand Paul said he will focus on property issues and eminent domain abuse in order to make the case that Donald Trump is out of step with conservative Republican primary voters.
Earlier today, Paul took questions during a teleconference with reporters while campaigning in the state of Alaska. He noted that people in the western United States are particularly concerned about the government's lack of respect for the sanctity of private property.
"Kelo v. City of New London is probably one of the most egregious Supreme Court cases in the last decade or so," said Paul, referring to the infamous 2005 ruling in favor of eminent domain.
Paul noted that conservatives across the country agree "you can't take private property from one property owner" and give it to another.
But the current Republican frontrunner is a serial abuser of the practice, according to Paul.
"Donald Trump has been a big fan of these and has really shown no consideration for private property owners," said Paul. "I think they are going to begin to wonder whether he is a fake conservative."
Paul elaborated on his criticisms in a recent op-ed for Breitbart News:
Where was Donald Trump during [the Kelo controversy]? He was busy using eminent domain to take a little old lady's home and flatten it for a parking lot to park limos at his casino.
When asked about the justice of using this bully force against property owners, Trump replied that he had no problem with it and that he supported the Kelo decision.
Of course Trump did—the Kelo decision allows more crony capitalism. It puts big business and big government more and more in bed together, with ordinary Americans left out.
I ran for office in 2010 after spending my life outside of both big business and politics. I ran as a member of the Tea Party who was sick and tired of it all. Of the politicians. Of the people who sought to buy the politicians. Of the entire Washington machine.
Donald Trump cannot fix our problems because he is an integral part of the problem. From using government to seize property to enrich himself, to hiring lobbyists to get what he wanted, Donald Trump has bought access to government at all levels and exploited that access for personal gain.
Paul's criticism of Trump is certainly deserved—if anyone needs a refresher on the Donald's sordid history of using government power to confiscate private property, read this excellent National Review piece from 2011.
Does any of it matter to Trump fans? Perhaps not. But the current leader of the GOP field is not a limited-government conservative by any stretch of the imagination, and that ought to matter to Republican primary voters. Attacking Trump's abysmal record and policy positions still has to be the best gamble for the Paul campaign, even if it doesn't ultimately work.