Harden the penalties for adolescents who break the law. Order the direct election of school principals. Build 10 new cities on federal land and tent cities for the homeless.
Former President Donald Trump is firing off a barrage of policy proposals in the Republican Party’s presidential primaries. The effort to outmaneuver rivals in the early stages of the race may help Trump shift focus from his mounting legal troubles and the failures of high-profile candidates he endorsed in key midterm races.
But the main purpose, some close Trump advisers say, is to offer primary voters a forward-looking view that emphasizes what he plans to do: a notable shift from his 2020 campaign, which focused on «promises made, promises fulfilled» and a response to conservatives who fear he is too focused on the past. Dubbed «Agenda47,» Trump’s development platform combines new, recast and recycled boards, some of which just didn’t get much attention in the last election, to give his campaign a fresher look.
An outside adviser who regularly speaks with Trump said the former president’s agenda on education is remarkably new and different, along with «some other issues that are at a boiling point.» The person also noted that the first campaign is modeled after Trump.
«It’s similar to 2016,» the adviser said. “He doesn’t really revisit 2020 [campaign strategy]. I can tell you that.
Trump’s proposed agenda also serves to counter Ron DeSantis’ as yet unannounced but widely anticipated presidential campaign. As Florida’s governor with a large majority in the state legislature, DeSantis, who center As Trump’s most competitive rival for the GOP presidential nomination, he has been able to gain attention and curry favor with conservative circles in part by advancing a series of proposals centered on the culture war, including legislation to restrict teaching about race and gender.
“President Trump has a lot of unfinished business,” said Jason Miller, a senior campaign adviser. «He has a very clear vision of what he wants to do for a second term.»
Two outside organizations that are influential in Trump campaign policymaking are the America First Policy Institute, seen as a recruiting hub in a future Trump administration, and the Heritage Foundation, a longstanding conservative think tank. data that he has adopted a more Trumpian stance. in recent years.
A top Trump adviser said the release of the agenda has worked to counter the dwindling megaphone at his disposal. As a result of his removal from office, fixation with his defeat and role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, which led to the suspension of his social media accounts and a decline in his coverage, including on Fox News, Trump has had problems. to generate the kind of attention he has received during his past campaigns, even as the vast majority of polls show him as the Republican Party’s leading presidential candidate.
“The problem is that his megaphone is not as big as before. And that’s an ongoing challenge,» this person said, adding that through a combination of email blasts to supporters and media coverage, they’ve noticed that primary voters have become more familiar with their plans. for the future. «It’s definitely having an impact.»
Many of the proposals seek to plant a flag in culture war battles that irritate social conservatives or speak to voters focused on education and crime who are dismayed by the post-Covid landscape. Trump has asked federal standards review for disciplining minors, punishing physicians who provide gender-affirming care, and prohibiting any federal agency from promoting “the concept of sexual and gender transition at any age” or wearing “disinformation” and “disinformation” when describing domestic speech.
While he was also pressured to institute universal benchmark tariffs and phase out all imports of essential goods from China, perhaps the most curious proposals were contained in his «quantum leap» agenda, in which Trump says that, as president, he would a contest to charter as many as 10 new cities on federal land, invest in vertical takeoff and landing vehicles, and send cash to new parents.
«I don’t think they have polls on how this plays out politically, but it sounds like a Trump thing,» the outside adviser said of his «Quantum Leap» platform. «That’s a good idea. If I were DeSantis, I’d just say, ‘Hey, Florida is freedom city, great freedom city Florida.'»
One of the reasons he lost in 2020 was that he didn’t get people excited about what a second term could look like.
Republican strategist Alex Conant
While some of Trump’s proposals would simply require the stroke of a pen, many would need more buy-in and are likely to face strong opposition from Democrats and some Republicans. Other policies, including part of his educational platform, traditionally fall within the purview of state and local governments.
Much of Trump’s appeal has always been how he sells his ideas. After all, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had plenty of detailed policy proposals that failed to catch on. Trump didn’t just talk about immigration, he created a «build the wall» brand. Rather than go into detail about how he wanted to reform the government, Trump vowed to «drain the swamp.» And much of his success with this progressive agenda may, again, be able to make his ideas marketable.
Terry Sullivan, who was the manager of Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign, said that more than the implementation of the policy, he sees the biggest difference between Trump’s current campaign and his previous efforts is a greater emphasis on making smaller events and doing more traditional retail politicking in early states.
«Because what you are implementing now is really a policy?» Sullivan said. “I mean, there are some crazy random ideas, but that’s what he did before. You know, ‘I’m going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.’ That was a political idea. So I don’t know if that’s that different.»
As was the case in past campaigns, Trump has not stayed focused on his plans. During a speech billed as the launch of his educational platform to more than 2,000 supporters in Davenport, Iowa, on Monday, Trump spoke for more than 70 minutes before even getting to his educational proposals. Those included «disbanding» the federal Department of Education, pushing for the direct election of school principals, and pledging to «immediately sign a new executive order to cut federal funding for any school that is advancing critical race theory.» , transgender and any other inappropriate racial discrimination». sexual or political content in our children”.
His personal grievances have not been left out either. Trump has continued to promote the false notion that the 2020 election was decided the wrong way, last week calling for those jailed for the January 6 attack to be “released” and insisting that members of Congress be tried for “ treason». At this month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump vowed to seek «retribution» for «those who have been wronged and betrayed» if he wins in 2024.
Still, Republicans say they see Trump’s launch benefiting them at a time when his biggest rival has yet to actually run, and only a handful of candidates, most of whom are generating little traction in the polls, have announced. bells.
“One of the reasons he lost in 2020 was that he didn’t get people excited about what a second term could look like,” said Alex Conant, communications director for Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. “He probably learned from that experience and is trying to get back to what worked so well for him in 2016, where you had a pretty well defined agenda for what he would do. More tariffs, tax reform, conservative judges, immigration restrictions.
«If he’s going to win this time,» Conant added, «it has to be more than just relitigating in 2020.»
A Republican Senate aide said he personally enjoyed Trump’s «Quantum Leap» proposals, but said he wasn’t sure what the impact of the broader agenda would be on candidates on the ballot, should they Trump wins the nomination.
“I think it’s working,” this person said of the agenda that buttresses Trump’s position with conservatives. “Is it useful for our candidates? I don’t know. Is it useful for him? I think so.»
One area where the agenda is proving useful is in defusing simmering tensions between Trump and Fox News, where top executives and anchors have harshly criticized the former president internally and called for the network to move away from him after the 2020 election, documents Published as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox.
One such host was Tucker Carlson, the highest-rated host of the network’s primetime opinion lineup. In text messages just days before a pro-Trump mob ransacked the Capitol, Carlson said of Trump: «I passionately hate him,» adding: «We’re all pretending we have a lot to show for it, because admitting what a mess that’s been is too hard to swallow. But come on. There really isn’t an advantage for Trump.»
A day after those revelations were made public, Carlson went on his show to praise Trump: for his political agenda.
«You wouldn’t know it by looking at the media, but Donald Trump is running for president,» Carlson said. “And he’s saying things that are really interesting. No refries 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.»