Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

On More Than One Issue, GOP's Trump Sounds like a Democrat

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

On More Than One Issue, GOP's Trump Sounds like a Democrat

Article excerpt

NEW YORK * As Donald Trump tries to charm Republicans still skeptical of his presidential candidacy, he has a challenge: On several key issues, he sounds an awful lot like a Democrat.

And on some points of policy, such as trade and national defense, the billionaire businessman could even find himself running to the left of Hillary Clinton, his likely Democratic rival in the general election.

Trump is a classic Republican in many ways. He rails against environmental and corporate regulations, proposes dramatically lower tax rates and holds firm on opposing abortion rights. But the presumptive GOP nominee doesn't fit neatly into a traditional ideological box.

Perhaps Trump's clearest break with Republican orthodoxy is on trade, which the party's 2012 platform said was "crucial for our economy" and a path to "more American jobs, higher wages, and a better standard of living."

Trump says his views on trade are "not really different" from the rest of his party's, yet he pledges to rip up current deals negotiated by "stupid leaders" who failed to put American workers first. He regularly slams the North American Free Trade Agreement involving the U.S., Mexico and Canada, and opposes a pending Asia- Pacific pact, positions shared by Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

Trump has long maintained that he has no plans to scale back Social Security benefits or raise its qualifying retirement age. The position puts him in line with Clinton. She has said she would "defend and expand" Social Security, has ruled out a higher retirement age and opposes reductions in cost-of-living adjustments or other benefits.

"There is tremendous waste, fraud and abuse, but I'm leaving it the way it is," Trump recently told Fox Business Network. It's a stance at odds with the country's top-ranked elected Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who has advocated fundamental changes to Social Security and other entitlement programs. …

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