Never elected to any political office, Donald Trump has been the frontrunner in national polling for the Republican Presidential Nomination since soon after he officially entered the race, confounding and surprising pundits, critics and political observers. Trump, a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance, best selling author, and a reality TV personality, has is a master manipulator of the media, explaining that he has spent virtually nothing through the end of 2015 on advertising due to the free coverage he has received. He plans to spend a minimum of $2 million a week starting in 2016.
Trump’s brash, politically incorrect style has at times offended minorities, women, veterans, and the disabled, but nothing seems to be able to shake him from his perch high above other candidates.
Trump is the definition of an American success story, and throughout his professional career has continually set standards of excellence while expanding his interests in real estate, sports and entertainment. He is a billionaire with net worth that ranges anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion, depending upon which estimates you prefer. Indeed, it is extraordinary that the silver spoon, out of touch image that so hamstrung Mitt Romney in 2012 does not seem to be causing Trump the same issues despite a net worth that is at least 10 times greater than Romney’s net worth.
In fact, it is the fact that Trump has been so successful and that he is a billionaire that seems to be attracting many to his side. On the campaign trail his frequent call is to “make America great again.” He does not hide from his personal success, telling supporters he wants to do for the country what he has done for himself. That he is an outsider, never having been a politician, is helping his cause. It seems his supporters believe that he cannot be bought and he does not have an agenda other than to make America great. If the polls are to be believed his support is runs deep and will remain loyal long into the campaign.
While Trump’s uncle was an inventor, little is known about his personal views of the patent system, innovation or technology, and his campaign website seems to say nothing about innovation or technology. Indeed, no economic issues other than tax reform (i.e., eliminate the death tax, simplify the tax code, grow the economy by discouraging corporate inversions) are discussed.
Like virtually all of the other Republicans, Trump supports tax reform. Trump’s first and major issue in this election is immigration reform, highlighted by a call to build a wall on the US-Mexican border. He also supports second amendment rights, reforms to the Veterans Administration, and has promised to do a better job negotiating trade deals, particularly with China. Little substance to flush out the big picture policies has surfaced, although that is not terribly surprising at this point in the election cycle.