Real estate developer Donald Trump entered the Presidential race on June 16.
Right now, Trump is leading the Republican field. He’s playing the role of an outsider, and he’s certainly not your typical Presidential candidate. So what do we know about ‘The Donald’?
On the plus side, he’d work to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, the Department of Education. He’s a supporter of school choice, charter schools, and vouchers. He potentially sees a federal role in coordination of education, a strike in my opinion.
He’s got a mixed view on immigration issues. He wants to build a wall, paid for by Mexico, to cut illegal immigration (good luck on that!). While he’s recently said he wants to end birthright citizenship, a 2013 NBCLatino story reports that he was ‘convinced’ by meeting with illegal immigrants who want immigration reform (often a code word for ‘amnesty’). He’d also accept some Syrian refugees on a ‘humanitarian’ basis, regardless of potential security risks.
Trump opposes the Iran nuclear deal, believes President Obama is bad for Israel, and believes arming the Syrian rebels was a bad idea. At the same time, though, he’s said he wouldn’t necessarily trash the Iran deal right away, and would renegotiate it.
His record on the 2nd Amendment is mixed. While he thinks banning guns would be a bad idea, he also thinks Republicans need to be more flexible.
On the free market, Trump is pretty weak. He’s a backer of the infamous Kelo decision (near bottom of linked article), which allowed government to seize private property not for things like roads or police stations, but for private development which would increase tax revenue to the government. Recently he said that Eminent Domain allows people to get more for their property than it’s worth, but fails to accept that people have their roots there. It’s their home, their property being taken for private, not public use. Trump also supported Obama’s 2009 stimulus (about half way down page), and backed the 2008 auto bailouts.
He opposes Obamacare, but still wants some kind of universal health care (about half way down). In 2000, he said “I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on health. It is an unacceptable but accurate fact that the number of uninsured Americans has risen to 42 million. Working out detailed plans will take time. But the goal should be clear: Our people are our greatest asset. We must take care of our own. We must have universal healthcare.
Our objective [should be] to make reforms for the moment and, longer term, to find an equivalent of the single-payer plan that is affordable, well-administered, and provides freedom of choice. Possible? The good news is, yes. There is already a system in place-the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program-that can act as a guide for all healthcare reform. It operates through a centralized agency that offers considerable range of choice. While this is a government program, it is also very much market-based. It allows 620 private insurance companies to compete for this market. Once a year participants can choose from plans which vary in benefits and costs. Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.206-208 & 218 , Jul 2, 2000
On the other hand, he’s willing to reform our Social Security system, saying “Allow every American to dedicate some portion of their payroll taxes to a personal Social Security account that they could own and invest in stocks and bonds… Directing Social Security funds into personal accounts invested in real assets would swell national savings, pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into jobs and the economy. These investments would boost national investment, productivity, wages, and future economic growth.” (The America We Deserve)
So what’s my take on Donald Trump? In many ways, he certainly talks a good game. He’s creating a huge amount of buzz, and is getting plenty of attention, both positive & negative. While I think he’s often right on some issues such as education, immigration, the environment and spending, I strongly disagree with his stance on Kelo, universal health care (although his plan may not be as bad as what we’d get with a Bernie Sanders or a Hillary Clinton) and taxes. And while I like his honesty, he often comes across as bombastic. Some of what he says can be portrayed as anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic, despite the fact that he’s against illegal immigration.
Would I vote for him? He certainly isn’t my first choice. Or even my 2nd. But I’d be at least a bit more willing to vote for him in the general election than some of his opponents.