When voters investigate a candidate, they traditionally want to know what policies that candidate proposes to pursue. What will that person try to achieve in office? What will our lives be like if we elect that person? Most importantly, how do they plan to achieve their goals?
Often candidates provide voters short, crisp summaries of their proposals. But experts and media want to look deeper into the details, so they can tell the public if they should trust the impression given by the brief statements. So, candidates issue policy position papers containing data to back up their claims and arguments.
Trump On Actual Policy
Republican presidential assumed-nominee Donald Trump is a different kind of candidate from previous major-party candidates, for almost any level of office. The "major-party" designation here is to differentiate "serious" political parties from parties like "The Rent Is Too Damn High Party" and its candidate, Jimmy McMillan:
Well, to be fair, there was this, from an actual "major party" candidate for the Senate:
Trump's political rise was propelled almost entirely by media coverage of Republican debates, his rallies and his phone calls to TV and radio shows. Trump was able to gain sufficient exposure to dominate the Republican primaries. There was no real "campaign," very little "ground game," just media coverage of rambling "speeches," tweets and bluster.
On actual policy positions, Trump's campaign appears to be similarly oriented. There is very little there there, just extensive media coverage. If you go to his website, all you can find are videos of him saying things like "trust me," because "it will be beautiful."
Visit Trump's issues section of his website. You will find several short videos here he says very little of substance.
Jobs, for example: "I create jobs. ... I'll do that for you ... I will be the greatest jobs-producing president that God ever created. ..."
Here's what he says about the military: "I'm going to make our military so big, so powerful, so strong, that nobody, absolutely nobody is going to mess with us."
His website also contains a "Positions" section, containing some position papers that offer a few more details.
For example, the phrasing of the introduction to the Tax Reform section uses standard conservative manipulative framing. It promises "tax relief," standard conservative framing that makes people think of taxes as an affliction from which people need "relief."
Another phrase used is "simplify the tax code." But the description of "simplification" is really just removing several top-end tax brackets and the alternative minimum tax, which will benefit the wealthy.
He proposes to cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from the current 35 percent, and the top income tax rate to 25 percent, unless the income comes from owning a business, in which case it would be only 15 percent.
He proposes no estate taxes (framed as a "death tax" in his position section) at all. Of course, it makes sense that a billionaire would come up with a scheme enabling his kids to pay no income taxes on income coming from inheritance. And eliminating estate taxes enables billionaires to build family dynasties with concentrated wealth that can influence governments.
He also wants to let tax-dodging, multinational corporations off the hook for hundreds of billions of taxes they currently owe. From the position paper: "A one-time deemed repatriation of corporate cash held overseas at a significantly discounted 10 percent tax rate, followed by an end to the deferral of taxes on corporate income earned abroad." In other words, instead of paying the 35 percent they currently owe but are dodging, instead let them only pay 10 percent.
So the position paper does not spell out much actual policy, just promises to hand hundreds of billions to the wealthy and corporations.
The Only Consistency: Bigotry
Propelled to prominence by an irresponsible corporate media concerned only with capturing "eyeballs" so they can sell advertising, the country now has a charlatan as the assumed Republican nominee for president. He offers no real positions on important issues, no facts to back up his promises and proposals, only slogans like "people will love it" and "it will be beautiful."
The only consistency in Trump's campaign has been statements of religious and racial bigotry. Keep Muslims out of the country. Mexicans are rapists and criminals. Black Lives Matter protesters are causing violence to police officers – and on it goes.
Donald Trump has a big mouth. But looking into his actual positions on issues reveals him to be nothing more than an empty suit. Promising that "it will be beautiful," he really offers only terrible oppression of people of color and non-Christians, here and around the world. Trump's election could lead to international economic sanctions against our country for humanitarian violations. Never mind hostility with neighboring Mexico, it could even lead to war with the almost 2 billion Muslims around the world.
Big mouth, empty suit. There is great danger there.