Saturday, July 25, 2015

Is Donald Trump a serious candidate?

Some might say he isn't serious because he doesn't have any experience working in government. But I doubt many conservative Republicans would subscribe to that view. And I'm not hearing anyone say that Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina aren't serious candidates.

Corie W. Stephens seems to think she's found the smoking gun that shows Trump isn't serious. She says:

Perfectly showcasing the depth of his candidacy is, his official campaign website. It contains no issues page, but helpfully informs you that “Mr. Trump has over 7 million followers on social media.”

One can read about how much expensive property he owns and learn all about his foray into reality TV. You’re out of luck however, if you’re curious about how he would handle diplomatic relations with Iran or reform our nation’s healthcare system.
But wait a second . . .

As far as I can tell, Jeb Bush's website "contains no issues page."

And Scott Walker's website also "contains no issues page."

After looking around those websites, I'm not seeing any clue as to how those candidates "would handle diplomatic relations with Iran or reform our nation’s healthcare system."

[ADDED: The same is true of John Kasich's website.]

The websites of Trump and Bush and Walker all look like they could have been designed by the same person. They all have a bio of the candidate with vague references to their political ideologies but no concrete plans. Those websites all feature "news" stories and social-media links instead of "issue" statements. So are the three Republican candidates who've been doing the best in the polls all unserious about vying for the presidency?

I can think of two better explanations. Either (a) they plan to add an "issues" section later in the campaign, after their positions have had more time to jell, or (b) they've decided that a continually updated "news" format is a more dynamic, effective way to engage potential supporters than a static list of policy statements.

Personally, I don't think that's the best approach. I prefer Marco Rubio's website, with its clear "issues" section.

But should we really write off a whole campaign for taking the Bush/Walker/Trump approach, in the very early stages of the race? I don't think so.

UPDATE: Walker doesn't even know his website is missing policy proposals.

UPDATE: Trump now has a "positions" section on his website. It only has 1 issue. But that's more than Bush, Walker, or Kasich have on their websites.

UPDATE (September 18, 2015): Now Trump has 2 issues under "positions." This seems like a smart tactic to get more media attention every time he unveils a new issue.


anti-de Sitter space said...

Maybe I picked an unrepresentative "issue", but I wasn't too impressed with what I saw.

The Europe issue was interesting to me because it seemed like the one where I couldn't guess/know Rubio's POV.

It turns out the Europe Issue would be better labeled as the Russia Issue.

Anywho, Rubio says we shouldn't seek to antagonize Russia at the same time we should send resources to the anti-Russian Ukrainians such that the Russians are expelled, and if that doesn't get it done we should have a more robust response to Russia such as the one that worked in WWII when the Nazi regime was defeated.

Presumably the other "issues" have more impressive details. Or, maybe some folks are impressed by the details associated with Rubio's Europe Issue. I dunno.