It looks like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are going to be the Republican front-runners, unless Marco Rubio gets lucky or all that money buys Jeb! more supporters. They don’t want to admit it yet, but the rest of the clown car is pretty much done. Sorry, Carly.
Since Trump and Cruz will be lying their way through the rest of the primary season, it’s time to examine where both men stand on the issues that are important to American voters, with a side-helping of snark. First up, Donald Trump:
Immigration: We know very well where Trump stands on this issue: send ‘em all back. According to Trump, “…people are pouring across our borders unabated. Public reports routinely state great amounts of crime are being committed by illegal immigrants.” He would not allow any Muslims to enter the country and wants to send back ones that already have. So, get those lettuce-picking clothes ready; we’re going to have to pick our own arugula.
Guns: Trump is a supporter of the Second Amendment. In Iowa last month, he reiterated his belief that “We need to protect our Second Amendment right.” I’m guessing this means he will bow to the NRA like every other Republican. Nothing new here.
Civil Liberties: Trump is a mixed bag on this issue. When it comes to surveillance of mosques, he’s all for it. But he supports “strong domestic partnership laws.” Trump believes that fighting against same-sex marriage is futile, saying that an amendment to nullify the Supreme Court’s ruling is “not going to happen.” We’ll see how that works out for him. His stance on women’s issues, including abortion rights, is up in the air. He has said recently that he is now pro-life. He is definitely a misogynist but has voiced a pro-choice position. Again, we shall see as the primary season wears on.
Foreign Policy: Bomb, bomb and bomb some more. Especially when it comes to ISIL, whom he wants to “bomb the hell out of.” Trump, of all people, is the only candidate who understands how ISIL came about. He supports Israel, of course. But he has his sights set on Saudi Arabia as “the world’s biggest funder of terrorism.” His stance on foreign aid to “countries that can afford to defend themselves” is popular with voters of all persuasions. As for how he would treat foreign leaders… Well, we know that he’s not going to stand for anyone disagreeing with him so relations might be strained with all of our friends and foes.
Taxes: Here is another issue where Trump resonates with both right and left. He has spoken about people he knows making “a tremendous amount of money and paying virtually no taxes…” which, he calls “unfair.” He has vowed to make taxes “fairer” by lowering them for everyone else. His tax plan can be read by all but it remains to be seen whether it stands up to scrutiny. Particularly, how he intends to make up the funds from those tax cuts. But, since Trump is a multi-millionaire, we can bet that he won’t allow any new tax laws to affect him.
Healthcare: Like all the GOP candidates, Trump knows the “repeal and replace Obamacare” chant. What will he replace it with? “Something terrific.”His prediction that Obamacare would be a “disaster” didn’t quite come true, though, and this is not really an issue where Trump has any expertise.
Jobs & the Economy: Trump blames much of our economic woes on China, whom he says is “killing us. China is taking our jobs, our businesses, our manufacturing,” he says. What will he do about it? Bring those jobs back from China. Oh, and Mexico. And “so many other countries.” He will “create jobs like you’ve never seen.” Gee, thanks for being specific, Don.
Environment: It would appear that Trump is, at least, repeating the Republican denial on climate change. Whether he actually believes it is unclear. He has voiced disapproval of the EPA, saying that it is “an impediment to growth and jobs.” He has stated, however, that he is a “huge believer in clean air.” Well, that’s reassuring, isn’t it?
Education: Trump seems to be reasonable on this issue (I know, weird, huh?). He has said that “nothing is more important than higher education” and that the government needs to stop “making money on college students.” He seems to understand that inner city schools need special attention, explaining in his book (Crippled America) that places where high property taxes have allowed great schools “are doing fine.” He has also called charter schools a “legitimate debate.”
National Security: Here, Trump is a chest-thumper, like the rest of the GOP slate. His claims that he will build a military “so strong that we’ll never have to use it,” is typically vague. Also, unnecessary, as we already have the largest military on the planet.
Energy: Again, like the rest of the Republicans, Trump thinks that clean energy will cost jobs and “imperil the middle and lower classes,” which seems to be the only time he has expressed any concern for us. He has called green energy an “expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves.” Trump completely discounts the idea that coal, natural gas and oil have any negative impact on the environment.
Veterans: Trump talks a lot about how everyone else has “abandoned our veterans,” especially John McCain, whom he brushed off as no war hero. He claims that he has a record of support for vets because he was a co-chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission. He says this means he was responsible for getting it built. What he appears to have done is just open his wallet. Which is nice, but hardly counts as “being responsible” for the Memorial. He says that veterans love him because they know he will “fix the Veteran’s Administration.”
So that’s Donald Trump on the issues. Are you ready to dive into the unctuous being that is Ted Cruz? Hold your nose…
Immigration: Believe it or not, Cruz is more centrist on this issue. He says that he “supports legal immigration” and “common sense immigration reform.” However, he has promised to “build a wall that works and triple border security” as well as put in place verification to stem illegal immigration. Unlike Trump, Cruz pays lip service to legal immigrants. So we wouldn’t have to pick our own lettuce.
Guns: Cruz supports Second Amendment rights but thinks that only felons and fugitives buy guns illegally. He strongly supports prosecuting these. However, Cruz also believes the lies about mass shootings, including the disproved idea that all of them have taken place in “gun-free zones” and that places with strict gun laws “consistently have among the highest crime rates.” He famously (infamously?) cooked bacon on the barrel of a machine gun, saying that he’d “take the votes of everyone who likes machine guns and bacon.” It’s safe to say that there will be no reform of gun laws with him in charge.
Civil Liberties: If you’re like Cruz — a white, Christian male — then you’re set. While he says that he fights for the Constitutional rights of everyone, his record says differently. Same-sex marriage? Nope. Black Lives Matter? They embrace and celebrate “the murder of police officers,” so that’s a no. Women’s rights? Cruz opposes abortion in every case. He also opposes contraceptives which he thinks are abortifacients. Wrong. So, no contraceptives, no abortion. Got it; barefoot and pregnant. But, to Cruz, liberty means religious liberty… for Christians. He, like most evangelicals who have been called out for their bigotry and misogyny, claims that religious liberty (read: Evangelicals) is being threatened. Poor picked-on majority religion.
Foreign Policy: Carpet bomb ISIL was one of Cruz’s suggestions, indicating that he has no idea what that is. Another chest-thumper, Cruz, says he believes in an “America first foreign policy,” because “what is best for America is best for the world.” Man, that’s some serious exceptionalism, there. Cruz vehemently defends Israel and thinks that America should “should stand unshakably alongside the nation of Israel.” He is quick to blame President Obama and former SoS Hillary Clinton for everything wrong in the world. Would you feel safe with Cruz having those launch codes? Yeah, me neither.
Taxes: Cruz has presented a Flat 10% Tax Plan, which he says will make taxes fairer. He also supports a Value Added Tax but wants to abolish pretty much any other tax: death tax, alternative minimum tax, Obamacare taxes and payroll taxes. The IRS will be axed. By the way, he believes that IRS scandal was a thing. Where does he think he will get revenue to run the country?
Healthcare: Same old, same old: repeal Obamacare and replace it. As with every other GOP hopeful, nothing has been proposed as a viable replacement.
Jobs & Economy: Cruz says that, under his tax plan “all income groups will see a double-digit increase in after-tax income.” This, he says, will create jobs and fix the economy. He would dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as he says that it stunts economic growth. He talks about small business, single moms, Hispanics and African-Americans but hasn’t presented anything that would benefit them specifically. Income inequality is just a talking point for him.
Environment: A climate change denier, Cruz wants to roll back regulations on the industries that contribute to it. His statement on the environment on Google spells out his environmental plan:
The federal government has imposed far too many regulations that stifle growth, and often protect special interests more than the environment. As president, I will end regulations such as the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule and foster economic growth by restoring authority to the states. I will end the backlog of maintenance of our national parks.
Apparently, the Flint water crisis hasn’t filtered down to Cruz, yet. Restoring authority to the states is right-wing for “free-for-all with state lands.” The backlog on our national parks includes drilling and mining regulations. It’s safe to say that we will lose much of our natural treasure to those who seek other forms of treasure. Not good.
Education: Cruz supports charter schools, of course, because a great many of them are religious in nature. “School choice” is GOP-speak for charter schools and a school industry. Cruz has called it “the civil rights issue of the 21st century,” which tells you how he feels about actual civil rights.
National Security: Blah, blah, blah terrorism, blah blah, be afraid. That pretty much sums it up. Cruz, like Trump, seems to be under the mistaken impression that our military is tiny. He supports the USA Freedom Act, which he says “strikes the right balance between privacy rights and national security.” Oh, and forget that Iranian deal. He’d “shred it.” It is also very important to him that the words “radical Islamic terrorism” be uttered exactly like that by everyone, because it’s the religion we’re fighting, not the individual terrorists; and not saying that, just that way, means that Obama doesn’t want to protect America. That pretzel logic is rampant among the GOP crowd.
Veterans: Though his statement for Google indicates his support for veterans, his comments in Iowa belie that stance. He did say that “selling cookies, would generate billions of dollars for veterans.” Other than that, Cruz offers nothing concrete to help vets. Words like “innovative” and “practical and pragmatic” translate to “I have no idea.”
Medicare and Social Security: In his Google statement, Cruz says we need to “preserve and strengthen Social Security.” For seniors, he claims to want both Medicare and SS to remain unchanged. But for those under 65, look out! Lowering the retirement age and instituting “personal accounts” (read: privatizing it), Cruz claims that the growth rate of retirees will match inflation. He is not very good at math.
There you have it, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the issues. Bookmark this so you can keep an eye on the flip-flopping. At least until after the Republican Convention. After that… uncharted territory.