Donald Trump’s loyal supporters – the folks behind his stubborn 35-39 percent of support in public opinion polls – are always eager to brush off any discussion of their candidate’s grade school temperament or inappropriate past conduct.
“Let’s talk about the issues instead of the candidates’ private lives or personalities,” they say.
Sure, prior to the surfacing of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape – in which Trump explicitly said he was proud of his ability to sexually assault women – they were happy to talk about sexual conduct in the context of Bill Clinton’s past (and very well-known) behavior, but now they’re suddenly huge proponents of sticking to the issues. This despite supporting a candidate who has shown a complete lack of knowledge on questions of policy.
But, still, I’ll take their bait. At the end of the day, elections should be about what each candidate plans to do for the country. And, in just about every campaign, that discussion revolves around the economy.
We’ve heard proposals from each candidate on this subject – though, I would argue that the Republican nominee’s repeated promise that “things will be so great when I’m president” hardly constitutes an economic policy – but it’s better to get answers from a more objective, non-partisan source.
How many jobs will be created by candidate A’s policy proposals? How much economic growth will result in candidate B’s agenda? Will wages rise under either candidate? How will they pay for their plans?
One independent analysis has answers to these questions and more, and it’s important we think about them before we elect a reality star who has done nothing – besides evoke an emotional response in a lot of angry white voters – to prove his competency for the presidency.
According to Moody’s Analytics, Hillary Clinton’s economic policy agenda – if implemented as proposed – would boost GDP growth, drive down unemployment, and “result in a stronger U.S. economy under almost any scenario.”
“Real GDP expands by 2.7% per annum during her presidency, and by the end of her presidential term in 2020, real GDP is $170 billion larger than under current law,” the analysis found. “This supports 1.6 million additional jobs, which pushes the unemployment rate down to 4% by the time she leaves office.”
Before you shoot the left-leaning messenger, you should know that the lead author of the report, Mark Zandi, was an economic adviser to John McCain during his 2008 presidential run. Leave your complaints about those liberal academic elites at the door.
In the same analysis conducted by the same group using Donald Trump’s economic policies, the results couldn’t have been more different.
Not only would Trump’s agenda – if implemented as proposed – weaken the economy, but it would also result in a pretty damaging recession.
“The U.S. economy will weaken significantly if Mr. Trump’s economic policies are fully implemented as he has proposed,” the report found. “The economy will suffer a recession that begins in early 2018 and extends into 2020.”
The analysis found that the unemployment rate would jump back up to 7 percent under a Trump presidency, and 3 million Americans would lose their jobs.
Make America great again? Nope, not really.
A separate study from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget – again, not a liberal outfit – says that while Clinton’s tax and budget plan would add $250 billion to the national debt, Trump’s would pile on an unprecedented $10 trillion. That’s trillion with a ‘T’.
This could lead to a spike in interest rates, which would hamper growth and investment – again, hurting the economy.
Now, none of this should be all that surprising when it comes to Trump. Remember, this is a guy who lost a billion dollars in a single year running a casino business. He’s a guy who calls himself the king of debt, and he prides himself on ripping off small businesses and their employees after they complete a job for him.
Donald Trump is so bad in the business arena, in fact, that he would be wealthier today if he just parked the money he was given by his dad in an unmanaged stock index fund.
So Trump supporters can desperately try to divert attention away from his personal traits and pretty disgraceful private conduct, but they forget that it’s not just those things that would make him a disastrous president. When it comes to actual, substantive policy, particularly on economic issues, the Republican nominee is just as terrible.
Ultimately, Donald Trump isn’t just an average presidential nominee, like Hillary Clinton, with the expected flaws and baggage that can turn off some voters. From personal traits to public policy, there is almost no redeeming quality to his campaign or his potential presidency – and I haven’t even gotten to his constant efforts to degrade and demonize certain swaths of voters based on race or religion or disability.
Yes, the recent revelations about his private conduct deserve the scrutiny they are getting, and I hope they continue to get attention. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton rightfully paid a price for his, too.
But Trump supporters wanting to talk about the issues as a way to dodge an avalanche of bad press and falling poll numbers for their candidate shouldn’t forget that their candidate is a disaster in that area, too.
When we all go to vote on Nov. 8, we should remember that his policy proposals – to the extent that they can be called proposals – are just as bad as his character traits and personal conduct.