He’s using teleprompters and sticking to the written script, something he once promised he would never do, but now Donald Trump is inching closer to officially being the Republican presidential nominee, and his focus is on convincing enough Americans that his candidacy is serious.
In a speech Wednesday Trump offered his supporters enough red meat against his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. He called her “a world class liar” who “may be the most corrupt politician ever to seek the presidency.”
He also accused Clinton of running the State Department as a personal hedge fund, blamed her for the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya, and accepting a $58,000 necklace from the anti-gay leaders of Brunei. Clinton has answered questions about all of these, but Trump has every right to raise them.
What Trump didn’t do, however, is go back to the 1990’s and make Bill Clinton’s behavior an issue. There was no mention of Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones. No dredging up FBI files, Travelgate, Vince Foster or Whitewater. Sure, Trump could still rehash these ancient issues if he gets desperate enough, but instead today he offered a remarkably focused set of goals for his first 100 days in office:
- Appoint judges who will uphold the Constitution. He says Hillary Clinton’s “radical” judges will virtually abolish the 2nd amendment.
- Change immigration rules to give unemployed Americans an opportunity to fill good-paying jobs.
- Stand up to countries that cheat on trade.
- Cancel rules and regulations that send jobs overseas.
- Lift restrictions on energy production.
- Repeal and replace “job-killing” Obamacare.
- Pass massive tax reform to create millions of new jobs.
- Impose tough new ethics rules to restore dignity to the Office of Secretary of State.
Trump says all of his plans put “America first” but some of his fellow Republicans disagree with him on issues involving trade. Still, this blueprint of Trump’s goals help establish the point of his candidacy.
If Trump can establish he is a credible issue-based candidate, instead of just an attack dog, he could begin to offer independent minded voters in battleground states a reason to give him a serious look. Otherwise his recent drop in national polls will likely continue.