The shape of a second-term agenda for President Trump is becoming more and more clear, and it is still 18 months before the 2020 election.
Immigration and the economy will be at its core, just as they were during his 2016 run. But this election will also include issues of trade and deregulation too.
It’s a very early stage at which to begin laying out a second-term platform. But supporters of the president argue the move is justified. The Democratic nomination process is already consuming a lot of media oxygen.
“You have to air these things now,” said Brad Blakeman, a senior staffer in former President George W. Bush’s White House and a strong Trump supporter. “Democrats are taking up all this space because you have so many of them. We have to offer all our plans earlier, because the Democrats are otherwise going to be given free rein.”
Trump revealed his new immigration plan at the White House on Thursday. It focuses on a pledge to move from a green card system primarily based around family relationships to one primarily based around education and job skills.
The president basically admitted his proposal faced little chance of being signed into law in the current Congress, with Democrats in control of the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called it “dead on arrival.”
But Trump held out the possibility that his supporters could see the plan come to fruition if only they would reelect him — and put Republicans back in control of a unified government.
“If for some reason — possibly political — we can’t get the Democrats to approve this merit-based, high-security plan, then we will get it approved immediately after the election, when we take back the House, keep the Senate, and, of course, hold the presidency,” he told the audience in the Rose Garden.
An emphasis on the strength of the economy will be central. The current unemployment rate of 3.6 percent is the lowest since 1969. GDP grew by 3.2 percent on an annualized basis during the first quarter of this year.
“Our country, from an economic standpoint, is doing the best probably it’s ever done,” Trump boasted at the White House last month.