Though he may appear at first glance to be a caricature wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a racist, Donald Trump’s politics are a little more complicated that one might immediately assume.

Trump was once a Democrat, and some of his policy positions today signal towards his prior party loyalty.

  • He supports the rich paying more in tax (but everyone paying less)

Unlike Ben Carson, who calls for a flat rate income tax (everyone pays x% of their income) Donald Trump accepts the rationality of graduated income tax.

He himself has publicly stated that he is comfortable paying a higher rate of tax, and believes that the richer should pay more taxes compared to the lower and middle classes. Trump is even getting more moderate on the issue: in his 2011 book Time to Get Tough he called for a 15% top rate income tax, now he argues for 25%.

Unfortunately, the feel-good populism of Trump’s tax outlook goes little further. His proposed tax plan cuts rates across the board, but would result in massive government deficits unless coupled with Herculean cuts to public spending that would likely have to target social security or defence.

However, the realism of his plan aside, Trump’s ideology towards taxes puts him in a far more centrist position than that of some of his Republican rivals.

  • He supports universal healthcare

Donald Trump wants to repeal Obamacare. It’s a ‘disaster’. But, unlike many within his party, he supports universal health insurance coverage. How? He’s not quite sure.

Trump suggests he would implement a system where Americans could go out and select private health insurance policies in an environment of competition.

On the face of it, this sounds very similar to Obamacare. Trump has not explained how he would regulate the market or ensure hospitals comply with his new plan, but that hardly seems to matter.

The importance is that Trump’s position, leaving aside implementation, puts him at odds with much of the Republican Party. Governor Bobby Jindal, who is running a very low key campaign for the Republican ticket at the moment, has lambasted Trump for giving in on this hot-button issue.

Jindal fumes that accepting Obamacare or any equivalent will open the doors to a nanny state, where the government controls what you eat, where you go, and which movies you watch.

To his credit, Donald Trump believes all Americans should have healthcare and would hypothetically seek to fulfil this in office. He just isn’t very clear on how to do it, without simply renaming Obamacare ‘Trumpcare’.

  • He’s pro-union, kind of

Unlike some of his Republican rivals, particularly the union-busting Scott Walker who has now dropped out of the primaries, Donald Trump has a soft spot for unionised labour.

Trump has said in interviews that he believes unions are an important component of a successful and strong American economy. Trumpeting his ability to negotiate with organised labour in the past, Donald Trump claims he his able to form strong relationships  with unions. There are even reports that some unions may be considering endorsing his candidacy.

At the same time, part of his campaign to ‘Make America Great Again’ is founded on the idea of cracking down on Chinese competition in order to elevate the American worker and return production jobs to the United States.


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