Author: Eric

The Trump Campaign Is Not About Policy

The Trump Campaign Is Not About Policy

Op-Ed: After a bad showing in the midterms, what story are Republicans telling themselves now?

This past November, Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton was the greatest political upset in U.S. history. Clinton, in her concession speech before a packed house in Philadelphia, declared: “We have given the American people a president who promises action: not only on the issues that matter to you, but on the issues that matter to all the people.”

But the Trump campaign is not about policy. It is about how the economy will be restored. Trump’s base is the forgotten and working-class voters that the Democrats have failed to win for two decades. This year, more than at any time in the past, the candidates have been talking to these voters. Most importantly, they have been talking about the economy, jobs, and the middle class.

Yet this election still seems to me like a test of how much Trump trusts his base.

There have been a couple of troubling signs in recent months.

The first is the Republican Party’s apparent inability to stop Trump from making his populist and racist appeals. When Trump does something racist, he says it out loud. For example, after the mass shooting in Orlando this weekend, Trump tweeted: “Our prayers go out to the victims of the terrible Orlando terror stabbing and to the people of the United States.”

The second is the Republican Party’s seeming failure to acknowledge the deep problems in the American economy. The party has been making excuses for Trump. After the Orlando shooting, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Trump’s rhetoric has been “a source of strength.” When the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Kevin Brady, admitted he did not know if the House could get back to debating the tax plan, Ryan said it was a shame that the tax plan was going to be taken up while such an incident was unfolding.

And what about the economy? The jobs numbers are not good. The trade deficit has increased steadily. The unemployment rate has been at near historic lows. But after the Orlando shooting, Ryan said, “I am not going to get into hypotheticals or theorize about hypothetical situations. I am going to act right now on actions

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