Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trump's Play-Doh Platform: How Details of His Plans Are Ever-Changing

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trump's Play-Doh Platform: How Details of His Plans Are Ever-Changing

Article excerpt

Shifting shape of Trump's Play-Doh platform


WASHINGTON - American politics is now witnessing the spectacle of a presidential platform made out of Play-Doh: perpetually malleable, offering different things to different people, and difficult to attack because its shape keeps shifting.

Donald Trump's a tough guy to pin down.

Few candidates for high office describe key platform planks as adjustable. But that's what he's done these last few days, when media have pressed the presumptive Republican nominee for details.

He says his tax policy could change. His position is flexible on the minimum wage. He's never actually provided details for how he'd ban Muslims from the U.S. And his central campaign promise to deport millions of illegal migrants -- that's also in flux.

"I have no illusions," Trump told a weekend show on NBC.

"I don't think that's going to be (my) final (tax) plan, because they are going to come to me, including the Democrats and everybody else, they're going to come to me, they're going to want to negotiate.

"That's a floor. That's where we're starting."

The host was trying to ask Trump about his tax-cut plan, which appears to disproportionately favour the wealthy. Isn't that a contradiction for a campaign aimed at a disgruntled working class?

The details are negotiable, Trump replied.

It's true that tax rates are set in Congress -- so Trump is correct that anything he proposes would get hashed out in complex negotiations involving different constituencies of two parties in two legislative chambers. But it's rare for a presidential candidate to be so blunt in declaring that his plan isn't really, well, his plan.

He had a similarly amorphous message on minimum wage.

He'd opposed an increase during the Republican primaries. But now that he's apparently won the nomination, he said the current rate of $7.25 should go up because it's impossible to live on.

Yet he's not calling for a national increase. He says it should be left to the states.

The stage is set for a nasty, smear-driven campaign about personality. As one political analyst observed Monday, it will be difficult to have a detailed debate about policy.

"I think (Hillary) Clinton's attacks on Trump are going to be more about his social issues controversies and his general preparedness -- or lack thereof -- to be president," said Kyle Kondik, an analyst at a politics publication at the University of Virginia. …

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