Trump is using the GOP to promote himself
By Joshua Hoynes and Matt ZapotoskyAssociated PressThe Republican presidential nominee’s campaign has begun pushing its message of economic nationalism and restoring American manufacturing, but Donald Trump’s recent use of the Republican Party to promote his agenda has raised concerns about how he is positioning himself as the party’s nominee.
Trump’s campaign says he has already begun promoting his economic nationalism agenda, with a series of tweets praising Republicans who are supporting it.
And his new plan to revive the country’s manufacturing industry, including a proposal to double the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, is also expected to boost his support among the party base.
But it is the use of Republicans to promote Trump’s economic nationalism message that has prompted concern from some Republican experts.
John C. Nichols, a former senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, said the use by Trump to promote the idea of an American manufacturing revival “is very dangerous.”
“It would mean that manufacturing jobs would be sent overseas,” Nichols told The Associated Press.
“The idea of a $10-an-hour minimum wage is an economic disaster.
The idea that this is the party of Lincoln is a complete and total lie.”
Nichols said the economic nationalism campaign has also been used to further Trump’s efforts to divide the GOP, which he has described as a party of “elites” that is too small to win a general election.
The Republican National Committee is pushing back on that narrative, noting that while Trump has promoted an economic nationalism that is opposed by a significant portion of the GOP establishment, the RNC does not advocate for a massive redistribution of wealth from the wealthy to the rest of the population.
The RNC is also urging its members not to get ahead of the Trump campaign’s agenda and to not buy into the “false narratives” about its policies and the GOP’s role in creating them.
The party’s national executive committee met in Washington on Wednesday to discuss how to handle Trump’s message of reviving the American manufacturing industry and reviving American manufacturing jobs.
The RNC has not released any specifics about how it plans to address the economic populism that has gained steam over the past few weeks, but RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said he expects the party to take steps to protect American manufacturing.
Nichols, who served as Romney’s national finance chairman, said he is worried that the GOP is trying to “overwhelm” Trump with its economic nationalism platform.
“It’s not a message that’s going to win him any votes, it’s a message about getting rid of an economic system that’s been hijacked by the rich and powerful,” Nichols said.
The GOP has struggled to rally its base following the election of Trump, and Nichols said Trump is doing a good job of “wringing” the base.
Nicholls said the GOP should focus more on its messaging, not on its politics.
“I think the Republican party needs to focus on what is good for the country, not what’s good for Donald Trump,” Nichols added.
“That’s the bottom line.
What’s good about the Republican platform is it is not going to make Donald Trump look bad.”
Nicholls noted that Trump has been very active on social media, using it to reach out to the public.
“Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that he has his own political agenda,” Nichols explained.
“He has made a big show of trying to convince his base that he’s not interested in any of the other issues they care about.
They are just going to vote for him because he’s going back to the basics of who they voted for in the past.”
Nicholas said Trump has not been a strong voice for his own economic message.
“He has not said what he believes in,” Nichols continued.
“That is one of the big challenges for the Republican candidate and the party.
If you have someone who says you are not going into the manufacturing business, they are going to be seen as being soft on the economy.”