Republican candidate Donald Trump focused this weekend on his economic platform: Cut taxes and regulations across the board while also saving Social Security, Medicare, and other government safety-net programs.
Trump’s platform is nearly invincible in the general election if he stresses it enough, polling shows. Trump’s plan will also have a transformational effect on how people view his party. But he still needs to make the accounting work to ensure that his Third Way platform is feasible.
“We’re going to save your Social Security without killing it like so many people want to do. And your Medicare,” Trump said this weekend at a rally in Phoenix, which followed a rally in Las Vegas where he also highlighted Social Security. Trump is only starting to focus on the issue, but he’s been aware of its political potential at least since the Wisconsin primary, when he taunted conservative-movement candidate Ted Cruz and establishment rival John Kasich: “If we don’t make the country rich again, you’re going to have your Social Security cut by Cruz and Kasich.”
This is a major opportunity for Trump. Both parties have attacked Social Security and Medicare in recent years, causing panic among middle-aged Americans. 51 percent of people who have not yet retired — including 64 percent of people under 30 — doubt that they will ever get any Social Security benefits at all, even though they’re paying into the system. 66 percent of all Americans think Social Security is plagued by either “crisis” or “major problems.” 79 percent of Americans during the 2014 midterm elections wanted Social Security to be increased. 79 percent!