Republicans have rallied to President Trump’s defense with a vigor and ferocity that might even have surprised the president. It was only a few years ago that many of them suggested he was not really a Republican and certainly not a conservative. But now Republicans love Trump, and purist conservative groups such as the Tea Party Patriots, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth are mobilizing their millions of supporters to fight for the president.

Why? The answer given most often is that Trump has delivered on the Republican agenda — that when you look past the circus and the histrionics, the president has been a reliable and staunch conservative. And while this is undeniably true in some areas, it’s mostly in the realm of social and cultural policy — appointing judges, tightening rules related to abortion, immigration and asylum, etc. In what Republicans used to call the core of their agenda — limited government — Trump has been profoundly unconservative.

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