Harsh punishment for juveniles who break the law. Order direct election of school headmasters. Build 10 new cities on federal land—and tent cities for the homeless.
Former President Donald Trump is making a barrage of policy proposals in the GOP presidential primary. The effort to one-up rivals in the early stages of the race could help Trump deflect attention from his mounting legal woes and the failures of high-profile candidates he supported in key midterm races.
But the main objective, some advisers close to Trump say, is to offer primary voters a forward-looking approach that emphasizes what he plans to do — a marked change from his 2020 campaign, which ” Promises made, promises made,” and was focused on. response from conservatives who worry he is focusing too much on the past. Dubbed “Agenda 47,” Trump’s developing platform mixes new, repurposed and recycled planks — some of which didn’t receive much attention in the last election — to give his campaign a fresh look.
An outside adviser who speaks regularly with Trump said the former president’s agenda on education is brand new and different, along with “some other issues that are at a boiling point.” The person also emphasized that the first campaign is the model of Trump.
“It’s very similar to 2016,” the consultant said. “He doesn’t really revisit 2020 [campaign strategy], I can tell you that.”
Trump’s proposed agenda serves to counter the still-unannounced but widely expected presidential campaign of Ron DeSantis. As Florida’s governor with a supreme majority in the state legislature, DeSantis, who polls as Trump’s most competitive opponent for the GOP presidential nomination, has sought to garner attention in conservative circles by pushing several culture war-focused proposals. And have been able to take sides. , including legislation to prohibit teaching on race and gender.
“President Trump has a lot of unfinished business,” said Jason Miller, a senior campaign adviser. He has a very clear vision for what he wants to do for a second term.
Two outside organizations that have been influential with the Trump campaign’s policymaking are the America First Policy Institute – seen as a recruiting center for staff in a future Trump administration – and the Heritage Foundation, a long-standing conservative think tank that has Has adopted a more Trumpian posture. In recent years.
A top Trump adviser said the agenda rollout has served to counter the fewer megaphones at his disposal. As a result of his removal from office, his fixation on defeat and role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol – which led to the suspension of his social media accounts and the reduction of his coverage, including by Fox News – Trump has struggled to generate the kind of attention he received during his previous campaigns, even though most polls show him the frontrunner in the GOP presidential race.
“The problem is that his megaphone isn’t as big as it once was. And that’s an ongoing challenge,” this person said, adding that through a combination of email blasts from supporters and media coverage, he’s seen primary voters turn to future voters. have become more familiar with their plans for “It’s definitely making an impact.”
Many of the proposals seek to plant a flag in the battle of the cultural wars that inflame social conservatives or speak to education and crime-focused voters disenchanted with the post-Covid landscape. Trump also called for overhauling federal standards for disciplining minors, punishing doctors who provide gender-affirming care, and banning any federal agency promoting or domesticating “the concept of sex and gender transition at any age.” Time has called to stop using “misinformation” and “disinformation”. speech.
While he has also pushed to establish universal baseline tariffs and to phase out all imports of essential goods from China, perhaps the most curious proposals included his “quantum leap” agenda, which Trump as president says he would charter Will organize a competition for As 10 new cities pop up on federal land, invest in vertical takeoff and landing vehicles and send cash to new parents.
The outside consultant said of his “Quantum Leap” platform, “I don’t think he’s got a poll on how this plays out politically, but it sounds like Trump.” “That’s a good idea. If I were DeSantis, I’d just say, ‘Hey, Florida is Freedom City, a big Freedom City in Florida.'”
One reason he lost in 2020 was because he didn’t get people excited about what a second term might look like.
GOP strategist Alex Conant
While some of Trump’s proposals would require only the stroke of a pen, many would require greater buy-in and face staunch opposition from Democrats and some Republicans. Other policies, including a portion of his education platform, have traditionally been the purview of state and local governments.
Much of Trump’s appeal has always been how he sells his ideas. After all, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had plenty of detailed policy proposals that failed to catch fire. Trump didn’t just talk about immigration, he branded “build the wall.” Instead of getting into the weeds of how he wants to reform government, Trump vows to “drain the swamp.” And much of his success with this forward-looking agenda may, again, be whether he’s been able to make his ideas marketable.
Terry Sullivan, who was Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign manager, said far beyond the policy rollout, he sees the biggest difference between Trump’s current campaign and his prior efforts, in holding smaller events and more traditional retail politics. The emphasis is on doing. initial stages.
“Because is he really making policy now?” Sullivan said. “I mean, there are some random crazy ideas, but that’s kind of what he’s done before. You know, ‘I’m going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.’ It was a policy consideration, so I don’t know that it is different.
As was the case during previous runs, Trump did not stay laser-focused on his plans. During a speech Monday in front of more than 2,000 supporters in Davenport, Iowa, as a release for his education platform, Trump spoke for more than 70 minutes before arriving at his education proposals. These included “breaking up” the federal Department of Education, insisting on the direct election of school principals, and pledging to “immediately sign a new executive order” to cut federal funding for any school that is significant. Pushing race theory, transgender and any other inappropriate racial, sexual or political material onto our children.
His personal grievances have also not been put aside. Trump continues to promote the false belief that the 2020 election was unfairly decided, and just last week he called for the “freeing” of those imprisoned because of the January 6 attack, while Congressional Members urged to be prosecuted for “treason”. At this month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump pledged to seek “retribution” for “those who have been wronged and betrayed” if he wins in 2024.
Still, Republicans say they see Trump’s rollout as beneficial at a time when his biggest rival is still not actually running, and only a handful of candidates, most of whom are generating little traction in the polls. are doing, have announced campaigns.
Alex Conant, communications director for Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign, said, “One of the reasons he lost in 2020 was that he didn’t get people excited about what a second term might look like.” “He probably learned from that experience and is trying to go back to what worked great for him in 2016, where you had a well-defined agenda of what he would do. More tariffs, tax reform, conservative judges. Immigration restrictions.
“If he’s going to win this time,” Conant said, “it has to be more than a respite to 2020.”
A Senate Republican aide said he personally enjoyed Trump’s “quantum leap” proposals, but said he was unsure how the broader agenda would affect down-ballot candidates should Trump win the nomination.
“I think it’s working,” this person said of Trump’s agenda of standing up to conservatives. “Is it helpful to our candidates? I don’t know Is it helpful to him? I think so too.”
One area where the agenda is proving helpful is in de-escalating tensions between Trump and Fox News, with top executives and hosts criticizing the former president internally and asking the network to leave him after the 2020 election. Asked to turn away, documents released as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox showed.
One such host was Tucker Carlson, the highest-rated anchor of the network’s prime-time opinion lineup. In text messages just days before a pro-Trump mob ransacked the Capitol, Carlson said of Trump, “I absolutely hate him,” adding, “We’re all pretending we have There’s a lot to show for, because admitting what’s wrong.” This disaster is very difficult to digest. But come on. There really is no upside to Trump.
A day after those revelations were made public, Carlson took to his show to praise Trump — for his policy agenda.
Carlson said, “You wouldn’t know it from watching the news media, but Donald Trump is running for president.” “And he’s saying things that are really interesting. Not repeating at all. In fact, he came up with a bunch of proposals that were so interesting that we thought we’d bring them to you.”