By Hunter Wallace
After months of listening to Donald Trump’s stump speech, his many media interviews, campaign events and reading the handful of policy papers that have been released on his website, I bought his new book “Crippled America” in the hope that it would shed greater light on his plan to “Make America Great Again.”
Needless to say, I was disappointed. There isn’t a single new policy proposal, idea, or rhetorical zinger in this book which I haven’t already heard from Trump half a dozen times now on television. Truly, if you have been following the campaign, you are not missing out by taking a pass on the book. My impression is that Trump is running a far more conventional campaign than most people realize.
Here’s a brief summary of the Trump plan to “Make America Great Again”:
Drill, baby, drill. Build the Keystone pipeline. Make it easier to build nuclear power plants. Climate Change is a liberal myth that weakens the American economy. We don’t need any hippie wind farms or solar panels to generate electricity in the USA.
Abolish the Department of Education. Teachers unions suck. Get rid of No Child Left Behind and Common Core. Restore local control in education. The feds shouldn’t make a profit on student loans.
Massive across the board supply-side tax cuts including a 25 percent top rate for the wealthy. This will unleash so much economic growth by wealthy job creators that it will be revenue neutral and won’t lead to large budget deficits. Jack Kemp would be proud.
China, Japan, and Mexico are killing us in trade. This is not because free trade doesn’t work. Rather, it is because we have terrible trade negotiators and everything will be fine once we have a “level playing field.” China steals our intellectual property and should be labeled a currency manipulator. Ultimately, we will take all our complaints over unfair trade practices to the WTO’s independent tribunal system.
Repeal and replace Obamacare with healthcare savings accounts.
Cut wasteful government spending.
Leave Medicare and Social Security alone. In this area, Trump distinguishes himself from the rest of the field.
Nationwide concealed carry. Keep guns away from mentally ill mass shooters. Support the Second Amendment.
Trump funds his own presidential campaign, but otherwise the only reform he proposes to curtail the power of the donor class is greater transparency in campaign contributions.
Invest in rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure.
Increase military spending. Spend whatever is necessary to take care of the vets.
Israel is our greatest friend and ally. The Iran nuclear deal is a disaster. The threat posed by Russia is exaggerated. Bomb ISIS. Basically, Trump wants America to remain the world’s policeman, but wants countries like Germany, Japan, and South Korea to shoulder more of the burden of paying for their own defense. He’s not an isolationist.
Trump is a Christian who will appoint constitutional conservatives like Scalia to the federal bench.
Trump has a mutually profitable relationship with the media and says outrageous things to have fun and generate controversy. That generates ratings which produces lots of free publicity for his campaign. It also helps him distinguish his brand from his rivals.
Support law enforcement, sweep violent criminals off the street, and stand up to black radicals.
Secure the border by building the Great Wall of Trump which will have plenty of big, beautiful doors for legal immigrants. Deport illegal immigrants, but allow the terrific ones to come back. Get rid of birthright citizenship and cut legal immigration.
Trump’s plan to “Make America Great Again” is essentially the standard Republican platform combined with better marketing and a few nods to nativism, isolationism, and protectionism. He stands out mostly on immigration and entitlements, but that is likely an electoral strategy to position himself to win the nomination. I think Trump is being intentionally vague on the details of his policies in order to raise hopes among the maximum number of his potential supporters.
It is a very “cunning” strategy. It is great politics, but there is so much ambiguity left here by the lack of specifics that we likely won’t know for sure what Trump – who is running as a businessman and outsider, a posture we have seen many times before – really intends to do to “Make America Great Again” until he reaches the Oval Office.