Beleaguered GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump needed to bring the proverbial rabbit out of the hat in his major economic speech at the Detroit Economic Club Monday. He did more than that, he gave the equivalent of Richard Nixon’s infamous “Checkers Speech” in 1952 when GOP presidential nominee Dwight Eisenhower was about to dump him from the ticket.
The new Trump, fiery, yet contained and on-point, clearly pressed forth his vision for the nation’s economy to a standing-room-only crowd. It was clearly designed to reassure Republicans after a difficult stretch for the GOP presidential nominee, and that is an understatement.
It was in Trump’s interest to change the topics of the last two weeks and hone in on his plan to make the economy stronger and more vibrant than the economy under Hillary Clinton. His own polling has strongly suggested this may be the soft underbelly of Hillary’s campaign following less-than stellar years under Barack Obama who she has attached herself to like super glue.
The New Trump Presents An Olive Branch
The speech was Trump’s olive branch to his dubious party that fears disaster in November that could trickle down to their majority hold on both Houses of Congress. Trump has been an unconventional GOP presidential nominee, and even less a calming influence since the convention.
He spoke on ideas including trimming regulations, killing the estate tax and drastically simplifying the tax code. That certainly boosted his score with House Speaker Paul Ryan who has preached those issues for years. Trump is now of the same vision as House Republicans in the overall scheme of things they feel strongly about, from moderates to the far-right.
He added remarks about administration regulations and resurrecting the coal industry that has been almost been regulated into near bankruptcy by the Environmental Protection Agency. Along with the industry, the EPA is also wiping out thousands of coal miner jobs.
The New Trump vs The Old Demon
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump spent an inordinate amount of his speech on a subject he has broached hundreds of times since announcing his run for the presidency in June, 2015. He was bashing trade deals, especially the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership that is backed by Ryan, whom Trump endorsed for re-election just this week. He also panned the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.
Trump isn’t the only Republican to oppose trade deals or the carried interest tax break, but it still represents a notable shift from where previous Republican presidential nominees stood.
At his influential daughter Ivanka’s insistence, he called for an expansion of federal support for child care costs. It would expand tax benefits available to Americans paying for child care and falls outside of traditional Republican Party thinking. It also counters Hillary Clinton’s “only women know” rhetoric. It is now apparent that Ivanka has a prime seat at the table.
The New Trump Is Presidential
Trump’s well-delivered speech, with stops for applause, was decisive in projecting him as presidential after the petty squabbles he has engaged in lately, including with the Gold Star Muslim parents at the Democrats’ convention. This time, he calmed his harshest critics, who are numerous, and reined in his freewheeling style.
The real estate billionaire was quick to caution that the details of his policy plans were coming in the next few days. That should be plans for tax reform, how he will repeal and replace Obamacare and growing child care costs.
Lastly, and most important of all, he glossed over details of how his policy ideas would be paid for. But then, so has has Hillary Clinton. If she really meant her first term would be in essence the sequel to Obama’s eight-years in office, Trump needs to seize that image for millions of American voters who wake up screaming at the thought.