AMAC Exclusive – By B.C. Brutus
While most political campaigns in recent history have been heavy on pointing out problems and light on specific plans for how to solve them, former President Donald Trump’s bid to retake the White House in 2024 has been defined by a wide-ranging set of unusually specific policy proposals – a fact that may give him an underrated advantage in both the primary and general election.
A new video on the Impoundment Power released by the Trump campaign on Tuesday provides a perfect example of just how detailed and specific Trump’s plans are for his second term.
As Trump explained, “for 200 years under our system of government, it was undisputed that the President had the Constitutional power to stop unnecessary spending through what is known as Impoundment.”
“Very simply, this meant that if Congress provided more funding than was needed to run the government, the President could refuse to waste the extra funds, and instead return the money to the general treasury.”
But in 1974, Congress passed the Impoundment Control Act, which required the executive branch to spend every dollar Congress allocated, effectively stripping the president of this important check on legislative power. Since then, the national debt has skyrocketed, while the president has been legally limited in what he can do to rein in spending.
To address this concern, President Trump pledged on Tuesday to “do everything I can to challenge the Impoundment Control Act in court, and if necessary, get Congress to overturn it.” In preparation for this, Trump said he will “on Day One… order every federal agency to begin identifying large chunks of their budgets that can be saved through efficiencies and waste reduction using Impoundment.”
While Trump’s announcement didn’t dominate the evening cable news headlines, it nonetheless represented a remarkable thing in modern American politics – a leader outlining specific, actionable steps to address an issue. In this case, Trump identified a specific law that he wants to overturn, and then outlined a proactive step he will take to ensure that, when that law is overturned, he will be prepared to use the Impoundment Power to reduce wasteful and unnecessary spending.
Trump has employed the same approach across his entire policy platform.
On free speech, for instance, Trump has outlined five specific steps to curb the power of Big Tech and prevent collusion between government bureaucrats and social media companies. On education, Trump has pledged to use Department of Education funding incentives to pressure schools into cutting the bloated number of administrative positions, adopting a Parental Bill of Rights that includes curriculum transparency, and implementing the direct election of principals by parents.
In all of his policy rollouts, Trump has demonstrated an understanding of how to wield the powers of the presidency to achieve a certain result – first-hand knowledge that, of all the Republican 2024 candidates, only he has. This fact may in part explain Trump’s big early lead over the rest of the GOP field, with Republican primary voters determined to reverse the far-left lurch in public policy under President Joe Biden.
But even before he became president, Trump distinguished himself through a unique ability to articulate a clear and specific set of plans to better the country. Perhaps the most obvious example of this was his rallying cry to “Build the Wall” in 2016 – a political meme that became synonymous with the MAGA agenda. In just three words, Trump outlined an effective, common-sense strategy for border security that appealed to large swaths of the electorate.
On trade, another key 2016 campaign theme, Trump didn’t just make vague promises to get a better deal for the United States. Instead, he promised to renegotiate specific deals, like NAFTA, to get better provisions for American workers – something which went a long way toward Trump winning traditionally blue areas in the rust belt.
It was undoubtedly this approach that in large part allowed Trump to have such a successful first term. Instead of scrambling to figure out how to deliver on vague promises, Trump already had the blueprint. In four years, he built hundreds of miles of border wall and renegotiated a number of important trade deals, including repealing NAFTA and replacing it with his signature USMCA framework.
By identifying specific solutions and not just problems, Trump’s message for voters is a fundamentally hopeful one. While politicians on both sides of the aisle are quick to declare that the country is on the verge of collapse and only a vote for them will solve it, few ever offer any concrete examples of what they will do if they are given power and why that will make things better.
Trump has identified big problems, and then followed them up with big enough solutions to take them on.
B.C. Brutus is the pen name of a writer with previous experience in the legislative and executive branches.