Trying to regain momentum, the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Monday returned to the populist economic themes that have done so well for him throughout the campaign.
At a speech at the Detroit Economic Club, the New York real estate scion unveiled a host of proposals to reduce government regulations and federal taxes, including one, on household childcare costs.
“We now begin a great national conversation about economic renewal for America. It’s a conversation about how to make America great again for everyone … especially for those who have the very least,” he said.
Trump’s wide-ranging speech addressed his plans to repeal the estate tax, revive the shuttered Keystone XL oil pipeline, roll back regulations on businessess and revisit trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the pending Trans Pacific Partnership, which a top aide to Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has said she would ultimately endorse, despite her campaign pledge to scrap the legislation.
Most of Trump’s economic plans announced Monday are standard for Republicans seeking statewide or national office, and date back to Ronald Reagan’s trickle down economics. But in his proposal to make childcare tax exempt, and to scale back trade bills that U.S. workers widely see as ruinous, Trump is sounding themes that have so far separated from the pack in the GOP primary campaign, and are the most difficult for Clinton to counter.
After the first Bush Administration failed to pass NAFTA, it was Bill Clinton who famously opposed his trade union supporters by aggressively lobbying Congress to approve the legislation, which became a template for offshoring decent-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs. In fact, no politicians in the U.S. are more associated with neoliberal trade policies than are the Clintons.
Trump’s plan to make childcare tax exempt could resonate particularly well among white, working class Democrats who are struggling to keep apace with a rising costs of living while their wages have failed to recover from the 2008 Great Recession.
Trump’s populist address followed a bad week that saw the billionaire mired in an ugly, public spat with the parents of a slain Muslim soldier, and a post Democratic National Convention-bump which saw Clinton widen her lead in the polls to as much as eight points.
Polls showed the two were neck-and-neck only two weeks ago.
Trump followed prepared remarks rather than using the free-wheeling style at rallies that has often produced controversial comments. He also kept his cool as some 14 protesters jumped to their feet and shouted at him at intervals as he spoke at the Detroit Economic Club.
Most of the interruptions were at one- or two-minute intervals, giving the appearance of a coordinated effort to rattle him. He was also cheered repeatedly by the crowd.